Justia Injury Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in South Dakota Supreme Court
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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the circuit court granting summary judgment for Landlord in this action brought by Tenant for damages arising from a bite from a dog owned by another tenant, holding that the circuit court did not err when it granted summary judgment to Landlord as to Tenant's general negligence and negligence per se claims.Tenant commenced this civicl action alleging that Landlord was negligent for failing to exercise ordinary care in the control, management, warning, and care of its property and was negligent per se for owning or keeping a "vicious dog" a public nuisance. See S.D. Codified Laws 40-34-13. The circuit court granted summary judgment for Landlord, noting that Landlord did not have actual knowledge of the animal's dangerous propensities. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the circuit court properly granted summary judgment to Landlord on Tenant's claims, nor did it abuse its discretion in denying Tenant's motion under S.D. R. Civ. P. 56(f). View "Davies v. GPHC, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the circuit court granting summary judgment in favor of a general contractor based on the general contractor's statutory immunity under S.D. Codified Laws 62-3-10, holding that the circuit court properly concluded that workers' compensation was the sole remedy available to Appellant.Plaintiff received a work-related injury at a construction site where his employer was a subcontractor. Plaintiff received workers' compensation benefits from his employer and then filed a negligence claim against the construction project's general contractor. The general contract subsequently amended its answer to assert statutory immunity under section 62-3-10. The circuit court granted summary judgment for the general contractor, concluding that the general contractor remained potentially liable for workers' compensation under S.D. Codified Laws 62-3-10 and, because of the exclusivity provisions of section 62-3-2, workers' compensation was Plaintiff's sole remedy. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the circuit court did not err in granting summary judgment for JM. View "Ries v. JM Custom Homes, LLC" on Justia Law

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In this tort suit brought against an employer by an employee the Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the judgment of the circuit court denying both parties' motions for summary judgment, holding that the court erred in denying the employer's motion for summary judgment.The employee in this case died after falling off the roof of a building he was working on for a subcontractor. After the employee's estate brought this tort action the employer moved for summary judgment, asserting that under S.D. Codified Laws 62-3-2, workers' compensation was the estate's exclusive remedy. In response, the estate argued that the exception to S.D. Codified Laws 52.-3-2 for intentional torts applied. The circuit court denied summary judgment for either party. The Supreme Court reversed in part, holding that there was no issue of material of fact in dispute on the question of whether the employer committed an intentional tort in this case. View "Althoff v. Pro-Tec Roofing, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the circuit court affirming the determination of the Department of Labor and Regulation that Appellant was not permanently totally disabled, holding that Appellant failed to sustain his claim for permanent total disability.While he was employed by Rapid City Regional Hospital (RCRH) Appellant claimed he sustained two work-related head injuries that caused ongoing mental impairments. Appellant sought workers' compensation benefits from RCRH and its insurer, but the Department denied the claim, finding (1) Appellant failed to prove his work injuries were a major contributing cause of his mental impairments, and (2) Appellant failed to establish that he was permanently disabled. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the Department and circuit court properly concluded that Appellant was not permanently totally disabled. View "Baker v. Rapid City Regional Hospital" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the decision of the circuit court granting summary judgment dismissing claims brought by Luke McAllister, McAllister TD, LLC (MTD), and B-Y Internet, LLC (B-Y) (collectively, McAllisters) against Yankton County, holding that the circuit court erred in part.Yankton County brought an action seeking an injunction against the McAllisters to cease a business that the County alleged was operating in violation of a zoning ordinance. The McAllisters asserted counterclaims for barratry and abuse of process, filed a third-party complaint asserting an abuse of process claim against Yankton County entities, and added a claim against the County's attorney and zoning administrator. The circuit court dismissed all of the McAllisters' claims. The Supreme Court reversed in part, holding that the circuit court erred in granting summary judgment for Yankton County as to barratry counterclaims filed by Luke and MTD. View "Yankton County v. McAllister" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the judgment of the circuit court affirming the decision of the Department of Labor of Regulation granting Employer/Insurer's motion for summary judgment regarding medical expenses Claimant incurred while being treated by Dr. Donald Corenman, holding that the circuit court erred in part.Employer and Insurer denied coverage for the medical expenses Claimant incurred by being treated for her back injury by Dr. Corenman. Claimant filed a petition for hearing with the Department, which granted summary judgment for Employer/Insurer as to these medical expenses. The circuit court affirmed. Claimant appealed, and Employer/Insurer filed a notice of review regarding an earlier Department ruling. The Supreme Court reversed in part, holding that the Department erred in granting summary judgment denying compensation for Dr. Corenman's medical services. View "Dittman v. Rapid City School District" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court held that the circuit court did not err when it granted Nationwide's motion for summary judgment on its complaint seeking a declaratory judgment regarding its duty to indemnify and defend Defendants against a personal injury lawsuit stemming from an accident on their farm.Nationwide issued a farm liability insurance policy for Defendants' farm and cattle ranch operation. After an accident resulted in permanent injuries to a relative, the relative filed a personal injury action against Defendants and their business entities. Nationwide then commenced this declaratory judgment action to determine the extent of its obligation to defend or indemnify Defendants. The circuit court granted summary judgment for Nationwide, concluding that a "Recreational Vehicle Liability Coverage Endorsement" in the policy operated to exclude coverage for the accident. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the circuit court properly granted summary judgment based on the language in the Recreational Vehicle Endorsement. View "Nationwide Agribusiness v. Fitch" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed in part the decision of the circuit court granting summary judgment in favor of David Straight on Doug Gantvoort's claims asserting intentional invasion of privacy, aiding and abetting others in the invasion of his privacy, and civil conspiracy, holding that the circuit court erred in granting summary judgment as to the aiding and abetting count.Doug sued his former wife, Mary Ranschau, and Strait, her attorney, alleging claims arising from the divorce proceedings between Doug and Mary. During their divorce, Mary placed a hidden recording device in Doug's office, and Strait accepted fifty-one of those records, attempting to introduce two of them into evidence during trial. The circuit court granted summary judgment in favor of Strait on all counts. The Supreme Court reversed in part, holding that the circuit court (1) erred in granting Strait summary judgment on Doug's claim for aiding and abetting Mary's invasion of privacy; but (2) correctly granted summary judgment on the remaining counts. View "Gantvoort v. Ranschau" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the circuit court determining that Julie Niemitalo released her right to bring this post-divorce civil suit against Richard Seidel for conduct that occurred while the parties were separated and in the process of obtaining a divorce, holding that the language of the agreement did not preclude Julie's civil suit against Richard.Julie asserted that while the divorce action was pending Richard attacked her, bound her, and raped her. A jury found Richard guilty of all offenses. In Julie's pending civil suit she brought claims for intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent infliction of emotional distress, false imprisonment, and civil battery. The circuit court granted summary judgment for Richard, determining that a divorce agreement between the parties was unambiguous and interpreted it to be a broad release and full and final settlement of all claims. The Supreme Court reversed, (1) the language in the agreement did not preclude Julie's lawsuit; and (2) res judicata did not apply. View "Niemitalo v. Seidel" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the circuit court denying Plaintiffs' declaratory judgment action against State Farm seeking payment of $2 million under Florida's uninsured motorist (UM) statute, holding that Florida law did not require State Farm to provide UM coverage.State Farm denied Plaintiffs UM coverage under their personal liability umbrella insurance policy after a motorcycle accident with an uninsured vehicle in South Dakota because the policy did not include UM coverage. Thereafter, Plaintiffs, who resided in Florida at the time of the accident, filed this declaratory action. The circuit court concluded that Florida law applied to the dispute, that State Farm did not violate Florida's UM statute, and that Plaintiffs were not entitled to UM coverage. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Florida law did not require State Farm to provide UM coverage. View "Payne v. State Farm Fire & Casualty Co." on Justia Law