State v. Wayfair, Inc., et al., 2017 SD 56. South Dakota has no state income tax and relies on retail sales and use taxes for much of its revenue. Under state statute, sales tax is generally collected by sellers selling merchandise in this state at the point of sale and is remitted to the state by those sellers. United States Supreme Court decisions prohibit South Dakota from imposing this collection obligation on sellers with no physical presence in the state. But, as internet sales by these sellers have risen, state revenues have decreased. Faced with declining revenues, the 2016 South Dakota Legislature passed legislation extending the obligation to collect and remit sales tax to sellers with no physical presence in the state. The Legislature specifically passed the legislation to challenge the United States Supreme Court’s Commerce Clause decisions. Under the legislation, South Dakota commenced a declaratory judgment action in circuit court, seeking a declaration that certain internet sellers with no physical presence in the state must comply with the requirements of the 2016 legislation. The sellers moved for summary judgment. Adhering to existing precedent, the circuit court granted the motion, entered judgment for the sellers, and enjoined the state from enforcing the legislation. South Dakota appealed, but the South Dakota Supreme Court, per Justice Severson, unanimously affirmed.
State v. Shelton, 2017 SD 55. Charles Shelton appealed his conviction of fourth-degree rape. He argued that his conviction should be reversed because the circuit court lacked jurisdiction to enter the judgment, and because he did not receive a preliminary hearing after the State filed an amended information. The Supreme Court, per Justice Kern, affirmed. While the Court found that the circuit court erred by continuing to preside over the case after he deemed himself disqualified, the error was deemed harmless. Further, the Court held that Shelton waived the issue relating to a preliminary hearing when he failed to object before trial.
Harlan v. Frawley Ranches PUD Homeowners’ Ass’n, Inc., 2017 SD 54. The Harlan’s land is subject to a “declaration of covenants, conditions, restrictions, and reservations for land.” The Frawley Ranches PUD Homeowners Association (“HOA”) filed a certificate of renewal and amendment to the covenant with the Lawrence County Register of Deeds. The Harlans brought this action, seeking a declaratory judgment that the certificate was invalid because it was filed in violation of the covenants’ requirements. The Harlans also brought a client to quiet title to their property. After a court trial, the circuit court denied the Harlans’ claims. The Harlans appealed, and the Supreme Court, per Justice Severson, affirmed in part and reversed in part. While the circuit court correctly concluded that an electronic vote was properly established, it erred in determining that ninety-percent of the HOA members voted to amend the terms of the covenant.