Recent Opinions

Wachter Development, Inc. v. Martin, et al. 2019 ND 202
Docket No.: 20180379
Filing Date: 7/30/2019
Case Type: REAL PROPERTY
Author: McEvers, Lisa K. Fair

Highlight: A landowner may sell land subject to restrictive covenants so long as they are not contrary to public policy.

Under the doctrine of equitable conversion, after parties execute a binding contract for the sale of land, equitable title vests in the purchaser and the seller holds legal title only as security for payment of the balance of the purchase price. The doctrine applies only where there is a valid contract for sale which could be specifically enforced.

A waiver occurs when a person voluntarily and intentionally relinquishes a known right or privilege. The right to enforce a restriction or reservation may be lost by waiver.

Under the doctrine of unconscionability, a court may deny enforcement of a contract because of procedural abuses arising out of the contract’s formation and substantive abuses relating to the contract’s terms.

Robinson v. WSI 2019 ND 201
Docket No.: 20180383
Filing Date: 7/30/2019
Case Type: WORKERS COMPENSATION
Author: McEvers, Lisa K. Fair

Highlight: Service of an administrative order under N.D.C.C. § 65-04-32(3) is not “service of process” requiring service under N.D.R.Civ.P. 4 because “process” is a term of art that applies differently to judicial proceedings and administrative proceedings.

Without a finding by the trier of fact on a dispositive factual dispute relating to jurisdiction, we are unable to decide whether the hearing officer made proper conclusions of law.

Great West Casualty Company v. Butler Machinery Company 2019 ND 200
Docket No.: 20180375
Filing Date: 7/30/2019
Case Type: TORTS (NEGLIGENCE, LIAB., NUIS.)
Author: Crothers, Daniel John

Highlight: A motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim is based on pleadings, and if matters outside the pleadings are presented to and not excluded by the district court, motion must be treated as a motion for summary judgment.
The district court erred in granting summary judgment when it made findings on the disputed fact of whether privity existed between parties.

Facio v. N.D. Dep't of Transportation 2019 ND 199
Docket No.: 20180405
Filing Date: 7/30/2019
Case Type: TRANSPORTATION DEPT.
Author: Crothers, Daniel John

Highlight: An officer conducting an investigatory traffic stop must have a reasonable and articulable suspicion the motorist has violated or is violating the law.
An officer may conduct a limited investigative stop near a recent crime scene to “freeze” a situation when corroboration of a tip by observing the illegality may not be practical.

WSI v. Sandberg, et al. 2019 ND 198
Docket No.: 20180442
Filing Date: 7/30/2019
Case Type: WORKERS COMPENSATION
Author: McEvers, Lisa K. Fair

Highlight: Pain is a symptom and may be considered in determining whether there is a substantial acceleration or substantial worsening of a preexisting injury, disease, or other condition, but pain alone is not a substantial acceleration or substantial worsening.

An administrative agency’s findings must be adequate to enable a reviewing court to understand the agency’s decision.

Munson v. Indigo Acquisition Holdings, LLC, et al. 2019 ND 197
Docket No.: 20190027
Filing Date: 7/30/2019
Case Type: OTHER (Civil)
Author: VandeWalle, Gerald W.

Highlight: A Stock Purchase Agreement submitted with the defendant’s answer qualifies as a “record” of a transaction under N.D.C.C. § 10-04-06(11).

The district court did not abuse its discretion in waiving issues with service related to an attorney’s failure to designate himself as a service contact in North Dakota’s electronic filing system, Odyssey.

The district court did not abuse its discretion in not allowing the appellant to amend his petition when the appellant did not make a motion to amend, did not indicate what amendments he would propose, nor what the amended complaint would state.

The district court did not err in determining it did not have subject matter jurisdiction over an issue not raised in the complaint.

Estate of Hall 2019 ND 196
Docket No.: 20190009
Filing Date: 7/18/2019
Case Type: PROBATE - WILLS - TRUSTS
Author: Tufte, Jerod E.

Highlight: The surviving spouse of a decedent may claim an elective share of the decedent’s testate or intestate estate.

The conveyance of homestead property must be executed and acknowledged by both husband and wife or it is void and ineffective.

Smithberg v. Smithberg, et al. 2019 ND 195
Docket No.: 20180420
Filing Date: 7/11/2019
Case Type: CONTRACTS
Author: Crothers, Daniel John

Highlight: Courts do not strive to find irreconcilable conflicts between statutory provisions.

A district court’s decision whether to exercise its equitable powers is reviewed under the abuse of discretion standard.

Valuation of corporate interests is a question of fact subject to the clearly erroneous standard of review.

Minority discounts are allowed for purposes of gift tax valuations.

State v. Thomas 2019 ND 194
Docket No.: 20180257
Filing Date: 7/11/2019
Case Type: MISC. STATUTORY OFFENSE (FELONY)
Author: VandeWalle, Gerald W.

Highlight: Granting a mistrial is an extreme remedy and should only be resorted to when a fundamental defect or occurrence in the trial proceedings exists that makes it evident that further proceedings would be productive of manifest injustice.
When a party discovers evidence of juror misconduct, the proper procedure is to cease investigation to reduce the possibility of juror taint from extraneous pressures and to notify the district court so it can conduct appropriate questioning.

Newfield Exploration Company, et al. v. State, et al. 2019 ND 193
Docket No.: 20190088
Filing Date: 7/11/2019
Case Type: OIL, GAS AND MINERALS
Author: Jensen, Jon J.

Highlight: District court erred in its interpretation of an oil and gas lease.

Gross proceeds from which royalty payments were calculated could not be reduced by an amount that either directly or indirectly accounted for post-production costs incurred to make the gas marketable.

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