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North Star Mutual Insurance v. Ackerman, et al. 2020 ND 73
Docket No.: 20190135
Filing Date: 3/25/2020
Case Type: TORTS (NEGLIGENCE, LIAB., NUIS.)
Author: Crothers, Daniel John

Highlight: Under the concurrent cause doctrine, an insurance policy provides coverage for liability when both a covered risk and an excluded risk contribute to the accident.

Interest of A.P.D.S.P.-G. 2020 ND 72
Docket No.: 20200015
Filing Date: 3/19/2020
Case Type: TERMINATION/PARENTAL RIGHTS
Author: McEvers, Lisa K. Fair

Highlight: A juvenile court does not have an obligation to ensure a party’s presence. Under N.D.R.Juv.P. 10(a)(3), a parent of a child must be present unless excused by the court.

Matter of Hogen Trust B 2020 ND 71
Docket No.: 20190240
Filing Date: 3/19/2020
Case Type: PROBATE - WILLS - TRUSTS
Author: McEvers, Lisa K. Fair

Highlight: A district court may clarify its own previous order. Due process is an opportunity to be heard at a meaningful time and meaningful manner and is complied with if the party has an opportunity, but argues other issues. A party that does not raise an issue in the district court cannot argue the issue for the first time on appeal.

Martodam v. Martodam 2020 ND 70
Docket No.: 20180432
Filing Date: 3/19/2020
Case Type: CHILD CUST & SUPPORT (Div.\Other)
Author: Tufte, Jerod E.

Highlight: Interlocutory orders in an action are merged into the final judgment and may be reviewed on appeal of that judgment. A final judgment supersedes an interim order’s parenting provisions, which are by nature temporary.

A district court must award primary residential responsibility in light of the child’s best interests, considering all the relevant statutory best-interest factors. A court’s decisions on residential responsibility and parenting time present findings of fact, which will not be reversed unless clearly erroneous.

A district court clearly errs in granting parenting time subject to a minor child’s right to decide whether to allow that parenting time.

A decision whether to admit or exclude evidence will not be reversed unless the district court abused its discretion.

The district court has broad discretion in making contempt decisions.

State v. Cook 2020 ND 69
Docket No.: 20190305
Filing Date: 3/19/2020
Case Type: DRUGS/CONTRABAND
Author: Tufte, Jerod E.

Highlight: In determining whether the moving party has established a prima facie case of an illegal seizure, a district court may consider evidence already in the record.

A stop may be prolonged only if the officer has reasonable suspicion to justify detaining the individual for inquiries unrelated to the stop.

State v. Eggleston 2020 ND 68
Docket No.: 20190214
Filing Date: 3/19/2020
Case Type: HOMICIDE
Author: Jensen, Jon J.

Highlight: The district court did not err in dismissing the defendant’s motion for an acquittal because there was sufficient evidence for the jury to convict defendant and for the jury to conclude he was not acting in self-defense.

The district court imposed an illegal sentence when it referenced an incorrect life table to compute the defendant’s remaining life expectancy.

Lakeview Excavating, Inc. v. Dickey County, et al. 2020 ND 67
Docket No.: 20190195
Filing Date: 3/19/2020
Case Type: CONTRACTS
Author: Tufte, Jerod E.

Highlight: Determining when a cause of action accrues is usually a question of fact, but it becomes a question of law when the material facts are undisputed. Under the discovery rule the accrual of a claim is postponed until the plaintiff knew, or with the exercise of reasonable diligence should have known, of the wrongful act and its resulting injury.

A contract’s language will govern its interpretation if the language is clear and explicit.

State v. Awad 2020 ND 66
Docket No.: 20190273
Filing Date: 3/19/2020
Case Type: MISC. STATUTORY OFFENSE (FELONY)
Author: Tufte, Jerod E.

Highlight: An advisory about possible immigration consequences, like the other advisories in N.D.R.Crim.P. 11(b)(1), need not be repeated immediately prior to entry of a guilty plea if the advisory was given at an earlier hearing and the record reflects the defendant’s knowledge of his rights.

Haas, et al. v. Hudson & Wylie LLP, et al. 2020 ND 65
Docket No.: 20190198
Filing Date: 3/19/2020
Case Type: REAL PROPERTY
Author: Tufte, Jerod E.

Highlight: Hearsay is a statement, other than one made by the declarant while testifying at the trial or hearing, offered in evidence to prove the truth of the matter asserted.

Under N.D.R.Ev. 408, evidence of compromise or offers to compromise a disputed claim is not admissible to prove liability for, invalidity of, or the amount of a claim.

The concept of “opening the door” allows the admission of otherwise inadmissible testimony to qualify, explain, or limit testimony or evidence previously admitted.

Big Pines v. Baker, et al. 2020 ND 64
Docket No.: 20190249
Filing Date: 3/19/2020
Case Type: REAL PROPERTY
Author: VandeWalle, Gerald W.

Highlight: The primary purpose in interpreting contracts is to ascertain the parties’ intent.
The parties’ intent is ascertained from the writing alone when a contract is unambiguous.
When a term in a contract has only one logical meaning, the term is unambiguous.
A personal guaranty agreement that does not acknowledge or promise to pay an existing debt is not evidence of debt under N.D.C.C. § 28-26-04.

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