Recent Opinions

Bearce, et al. v. Yellowstone Energy Development, LLC 2019 ND 89
Docket No.: 20180256
Filing Date: 3/22/2019
Case Type: CONTRACTS
Author: Jensen, Jon J.

Highlight: The proper remedy for fraud is recision of the contract.

Parties agreed to continue with the sale of the real property after failure of condition precedent.

Finding that a contract for deed was ambiguous required remand for interpretation of that contract for deed using extrinsic evidence.

A contract is ambiguous when reasonable arguments can be made for different positions on its meaning.

Interest of D.M.H. 2019 ND 88
Docket No.: 20180313
Filing Date: 3/21/2019
Case Type: JUVENILE LAW
Author: Per Curiam

Highlight: When awarding a guardianship, the district court must determine whether the parents should be awarded visitation. The district court may not delegate determination of a visitation schedule.

Estate of Brandt 2019 ND 87
Docket No.: 20180160
Filing Date: 3/18/2019
Case Type: PROBATE - WILLS - TRUSTS
Author: Jensen, Jon J.

Highlight: A personal representative is not precluded from filing petitions as an interested person in the supervised administration of an estate while simultaneously performing fiduciary duties to distribute property according to a will and the best interests of an estate.

A probate court has jurisdiction to determine title to property alleged to belong to an estate and the value of that property.

Petitions and accompanying documents filed with the probate court are deemed to include an oath or affirmation of truthfulness.

An appellate court reviews a final report and accounting allocating estate assets under an abuse-of-discretion standard.

State v. Hamre 2019 ND 86
Docket No.: 20180055
Filing Date: 3/18/2019
Case Type: ASSAULT
Author: Tufte, Jerod E.

Highlight: In considering a speedy trial claim, a district court must balance the length of the delay, the reason for the delay, the accused’s assertion of the right to a speedy trial, and the prejudice to the accused.

State v. Guthmiller 2019 ND 85
Docket No.: 20180225
Filing Date: 3/18/2019
Case Type: SEXUAL OFFENSE
Author: Crothers, Daniel John

Highlight: A district court order denying a defendant’s motion to withdraw a guilty plea is affirmed if the defendant fails to show a “fair and just” reason for withdrawal.

Issues not adequately raised at the trial level will not be addressed for the first time on appeal.

State v. Morsette 2019 ND 84
Docket No.: 20180076
Filing Date: 3/15/2019
Case Type: DRUGS/CONTRABAND
Author: McEvers, Lisa K. Fair

Highlight: A district court’s finding that the facts support a reasonable and articulable suspicion is fully reviewable on appeal.

Merely observing a driver tapping the illuminated screen of his cell phone for two seconds does not create reasonable and articulable suspicion that a violation of N.D.C.C. 39-08-23 has occurred.

It is not reasonable to conclude an officer made a reasonable mistake of fact if he is unable to articulate why he thought an individual’s conduct violated the law.

Lies v. N.D. Dep't of Transportation 2019 ND 83
Docket No.: 20180393
Filing Date: 3/15/2019
Case Type: TRANSPORTATION DEPT.
Author: VandeWalle, Gerald W.

Highlight: Burden is on moving party to prove vehicle properly identified by evidence.
Reasonable suspicion not present where officers could not reasonably identify vehicle after tip.

Baker v. Autos, Inc., et al. 2019 ND 82
Docket No.: 20180238
Filing Date: 3/15/2019
Case Type: OTHER (Civil)
Author: VandeWalle, Gerald W.

Highlight: A retail installment contract must disclose charges and fees that are finance charges as finance charges to comply with the disclosure requirements of the Retail Installment Sales Act.

Lincoln Land Development, LLP v. City of Lincoln 2019 ND 81
Docket No.: 20180117
Filing Date: 3/15/2019
Case Type: REAL PROPERTY
Author: Crothers, Daniel John

Highlight: The extent of a prescriptive easement is fixed by the use through which it was created, and use beyond the easement’s originally created use may be a governmental taking.

A trial court may award reasonable attorney fees, expert witness fees, or litigation costs to the prevailing party in an eminent domain action.

A landowner’s reasonable attorney fees may include the cost of adjudicating an appeal.

Orwig v. Orwig 2019 ND 78
Docket No.: 20170454
Filing Date: 3/14/2019
Case Type: DIVORCE/PROPERTY DIV./ALIMONY
Author: McEvers, Lisa K. Fair

Highlight: A party appealing from a contempt order must file a notice of appeal with the clerk of the supreme court within 60 days after entry of the judgment or order being appealed.

A district court’s decision on contempt will not be reversed on appeal unless the court abused its discretion.

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