Surat v. America Township, Brule Cnty. Bd. Of Supervisors, 2017 S.D. 69. The board of supervisors downgraded a seven-mile stretch of road from full maintenance to minimum maintenance. A portion of the road provided the Surat family and Surat Farmers access to South Dakota Highway 50. Surat appealed the Board’s decision to the circuit court. The circuit court reversed the board’s decision, and the Township appealed.
On appeal, the Court, per Justice Kern, affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded. The Court concluded that Surat’s lawsuit was not barred by lack of standing or by sovereign immunity, and that the circuit court correctly concluded that the board acted arbitrarily because it did not find whether the portion of the road designated as minimum maintenance was used more than “occasionally or intermittently,” thereby failing to consider an important aspect of the issue under the applicable statute. However, the circuit court erred by mandating that minimum maintenance signs be taken down and should have remanded the matter back to the board for a re-hearing.
Richarz v. Richarz, 2017 S.D. 70. Adam and Dena Richarz were married in 2007 and obtained a divorce in 2016. In dividing their property, the circuit court awarded Adam his interest in a limited liability company, required Adam to pay 25% of Dena’s student-loan debt, and ordered him to make a cash-equalization payment. Adam appealed, the Court, per Justice Zinter, affirmed. The Court concluded that the circuit court did not err in valuing his interest in the LLC, which was primarily based on the value of real estate, that the circuit court did not abuse its discretion in awarding Dena one-half the value of the marital assets, which was primarily composed of Adam’s interest in the LLC, and that the circuit court did not abuse its discretion in making Adam responsible for 25% of Dena’s student-loan debt.
Iannarelli v. Young, 2017 S.D. 71. A habeas petitioner asserted that his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and Sixth Amendment right to counsel had been violated. Iannarelli murdered his wife and raped his fourteen-year-old stepdaughter. Afterwards, he made a pot of coffee and called 911. Iannarelli told law enforcement that he had killed his wife. The State charged Iannarelli with first-degree murder and second-degree rape. The State indicated that it intended to seek the death penalty. Iannarelli’s court-appointed attorney explored the possibility of an insanity defense by seeking an expert witnesses to conduct a psychiatric examination. Based on the results of that examination, the attorney did not believe that an insanity defense was plausible, but that did believe that a plea of guilty but mentally ill may be advisable. He advised Iannarelli of his opinion, and, ultimately, Iannarelli agreed to plead guilty but mentally ill to first-degree manslaughter and second-degree rape in exchange for the State amended the charge and not seeking the death penalty. Based on the factual basis and the psychiatrist’s report, the court accepted the plea of guilty and ordered Iannarelli to participate in a pre-sentence investigation. As part of that investigation, Iannarelli underwent another psychological examination, and, based on the results of that examination, the circuit court imposed a 130-year sentence for the first-degree manslaughter conviction and a 45-year sentence for second-degree rape. In this habeas, Iannarelli argued that his attorney deprived him of his Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights by failing to challenge the use of his unwarned and compelled statements during the second psychological examination and by failing to seek provisional institutionalization. The habeas court denied his petition, and the Court, per Justice Wilbur, affirmed, concluding that the sentencing court’s use of the psychological examination did not violate Iannarelli’s Fifth Amendment right, and that the court did not abuse its discretion by choosing to sentence Iannarelli to the penitentiary.
Western Nat’l Mut’l Ins. Co. v. TPS, Inc., 2017 S.D. 72. Western National insured BHI, Inc. under a CGL policy. In 2005, Regency Plymouth Ventures hired BHI to serve as a general contractor to build four condominiums near Alexandria, Minnesota. TSP was the project architect. BHI hired LandTeam Surveying Co to do the project’s land surveying. LandTeam made a surveying error, and two of the condos were located too close to the property line and did not comply with county setback requirements. In order to compensate for the error, BHI and TSP agreed to provide the funds for Regency to purchase a buffer strip of land to complete the project. Although TSP and BHI agreed to share the expense, TSP paid Regency the entire amount. Accordingly, TSP sued BHI for damages arising from LandTeam’s error. BHI forwarded the suit to Western National for defense, which it refused to provide. After several years, BHI and TSP settled the case, agreeing that TSP Could pursue any potential remedy against Western National that BHI might have under the CGL policy. Western National brought a declaratory judgment against TSP, seeking a judgment that its CGL policy did not provide coverage for TSP’s claims. The parties filed motions for summary judgment, the circuit court granted TSP summary judgment. On appeal, the Court, per Justice Kern, reversed. Western National argued that the circuit court erred by holding the Designated Professional Services endorsement to the CGL policy did not exclude coverage for the alleged property damage caused by LandTeam’s land-surveying error. The circuit court had stated that the endorsement did not bar coverage because “the professional services were performed by a non-employee subcontractor. The policy does not include coverage for work performed on behalf of the insured by a professional subcontractor.” Interpreting the meanings of “professional service” in the endorsement, the Court concluded that the endorsement excludes all potential coverage for any property damage caused by the land-surveying error. As a result, the circuit court erred by granting TSP’s motion for summary judgment.
Moulton v. Moulton, 2017 S.D. 73. Jack and Melissa Moulton divorced. By stipulation, the parties agreed to share legal custody of their two children, with Jack having primary physical custody of Adam and Melissa having primary physical custody of Marissa. Melissa moved for a change of custody, seeking primary physical custody of Adam. The circuit court denied the motion, and Melissa appealed. The Court, per Chief Justice Gilbertson, affirmed.