Surat Farms v. Brule Cnty. Bd. of Comm’rs, 2017 SD 52.  Albert Delaney filed a drainage complaint with Brule County, alleging that Surat Farms was partially blocking drainage of an intermittent watercourse.  Delaney contended that the blockage caused water to back up onto his adjacent property.  The Brule County Board of Commissioners held a hearing and found that Surat impermissibly altered the watercourse.  Surat appealed the Board’s decision, and the circuit court, after de novo review, affirmed.  Per Justice Zinter, the Supreme Court also affirmed, finding that the evidence supported the circuit court’s finding that Surat’s drain system improperly interfered with Delaney’s drainage rights, and that the circuit court did not err in awarding injunctive relief.

Lowery Construction & Concrete v. Owners Ins. Co., 2017 SD 53.  Lowery Construction appealed the circuit court’s determination that Owners Insurance did not have a duty to defend Lowery in an action filed by homeowners Tony and Stephanie Hague.  The circuit court concluded that coverage was excluded because the damage to the Hagues’ home was caused by Lowery’s defective work.  Lowery argues that the policy only excludes the defective work itself, not damage to other nondefective work.  Per Justice Severson, the Supreme Court reversed, noting that the allegations were that Lowery’s failures damaged the concrete, walls, ceilings, and windows, not that the concrete, walls, ceilings, and windows were defective themselves or that Lowery was working on those areas when the damage occurred.  The Court thus concluded that Owners Insurance did not meet its burden of establishing that the damage to the Hague’s home clearly fell outside policy coverage, and that Owners Insurance therefore had a duty to defend Lowery against the Hague’s action.