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Muscha v. Krolik, et al. 2022 ND 4
Docket No.: 20210179
Filing Date: 1/6/2022
Case Type: CHILD CUST & SUPPORT (Div.\Other)
Author: Tufte, Jerod E.

Highlight: Evidence that is suppressed in a criminal case may be admissible in a subsequent civil proceeding.

A district court’s award of primary residential responsibility is summarily affirmed under N.D.R.App.P. 35.1(a)(2).

State v. Dargbeh 2022 ND 3
Docket No.: 20210175
Filing Date: 1/6/2022
Case Type: MISC. STATUTORY OFF. (MISDEMEANOR)
Author: Tufte, Jerod E.

Highlight: Evidence of other acts or crimes the defendant committed are excluded under N.D.R.Ev. 404(b) only when the acts or crimes are independent of the charged crime and do not fit into the rule's exceptions.

Gerving v. Gerving, et al. 2022 ND 2
Docket No.: 20210074
Filing Date: 1/6/2022
Case Type: CHILD CUST & SUPPORT (Div.\Other)
Author: VandeWalle, Gerald W.

Highlight: The district court must comply with the child support guidelines in calculating a parent’s child support obligation.

The district court must properly calculate a child support obligor’s net income to determine the correct amount of support.

The district court has discretion to grant a parent’s request for a deviation in the amount of the child support obligation for expenses related to the child’s private school tuition.

Tergesen, et al. v. Nelson Homes 2022 ND 1
Docket No.: 20210113
Filing Date: 1/6/2022
Case Type: CONTRACTS
Author: VandeWalle, Gerald W.

Highlight: Whether a party has breached a contract is a finding of fact, which will not be reversed on appeal unless it is clearly erroneous.

The court has discretion in deciding to grant rescission of a contract, and the power should not be exercised lightly.

Matter of Knoke 2021 ND 240
Docket No.: 20210081
Filing Date: 12/23/2021
Case Type: CIVIL COMMIT OF SEXUAL PREDATOR
Author: VandeWalle, Gerald W.

Highlight: The district court’s probable cause determination in a civil commitment case becomes moot once the commitment hearing is held.

In proceedings for the civil commitment of a sexually dangerous individual, the district court errs when it fails to make a finding on whether the respondent has serious difficulty controlling his behavior.

State v. Carrillo 2021 ND 239
Docket No.: 20210223
Filing Date: 12/23/2021
Case Type: DRUGS/CONTRABAND
Author: McEvers, Lisa K. Fair

Highlight: A preliminary hearing is not a trial on the merits, and the State must only produce sufficient evidence to satisfy the court that a crime has been committed and that the accused is probably guilty.

The district court’s role in a preliminary hearing is not a trier of fact, but its function is solely to determine the existence or absence of probable cause.

The State is not required to introduce results of a field test or the state lab at a preliminary hearing, and probable cause can be established through circumstantial evidence and officer testimony. The State need only produce sufficient evidence to warrant a person of reasonable caution to believe a crime has been committed and the accused probably committed the crime.

Estate of Smith 2021 ND 238
Docket No.: 20210114
Filing Date: 12/23/2021
Case Type: PROBATE - WILLS - TRUSTS
Author: Jensen, Jon J.

Highlight: In a proceeding initiated as informal probate, extensive litigation can convert the proceedings into formal probate.

In a formal probate proceeding, once a final judgment is entered approving a final distribution and accounting, a party may not file a petition to approve an amended final accounting.

While this Court disapproves of a district court’s wholesale adoption of a party’s proposed findings of fact, those findings of fact will not be overturned on appeal unless they are clearly erroneous.

A district court did not abuse its discretion in awarding attorney's fees to be paid by the personal representatives personally when it found the personal representatives’ motions were frivolous and for an improper purpose.

Taszarek, et al. v. Lakeview Excavating, et al. 2021 ND 237
Docket No.: 20210046
Filing Date: 12/23/2021
Case Type: OTHER (Civil)
Author: Tufte, Jerod E.

Highlight: When the Court remands for redetermination of an issue without specifying the procedure to be followed, the district court may decide the issue based on the evidence already before it or may take additional evidence.

Under the “alter ego” approach to piercing the corporate veil, there must be such a unity of interest and ownership between the corporation and its equitable owner that the separate personalities of the corporation and the shareholder do not in reality exist, and there must be an inequitable result if the acts in question are treated as those of the corporation alone. This approach analyzes whether a corporation is merely an instrumentality or alter ego of its owner, and requires examination of the Hilzendager-Jablonsky factors, including the “injustice, inequity or fundamental unfairness” element.

Cavare v. Kjelgren 2021 ND 236
Docket No.: 20200128
Filing Date: 12/23/2021
Case Type: OTHER (Civil)
Author: Jensen, Jon J.

Highlight: In an appeal from a bench trial, the district court’s findings of fact are reviewed under the clearly erroneous standard and its conclusions of law are fully reviewable.

A district court’s choice between two permissible views of the weight of the evidence is not clearly erroneous.

A district court’s decision to deny a motion for relief from a judgment will not be reversed on appeal unless the court abused its discretion in ruling there were not sufficient grounds for relief from the judgment.

Relief from a judgment on grounds of fraud, misrepresentation, or other misconduct is extraordinary relief that should only be granted in exceptional circumstances.

State v. Roberts 2021 ND 235
Docket No.: 20210161
Filing Date: 12/23/2021
Case Type: DRUGS/CONTRABAND
Author: Jensen, Jon J.

Highlight: Corroboration of an accomplice’s testimony is required under N.D.C.C. § 29-21-14. The corroboration need not establish a prima facie case, but must tend to connect the defendant with the crime.

Any error based on the district court’s failure to give a jury instruction regarding the corroboration required for an accomplice’s testimony was harmless.

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