McDowell v. Sapienza, 2018 S.D. 1. Property owners constructed a new home on property located within a historic district. The adjacent owners alleged that the new home violated state regulations on new construction in historic districts as well as a local ordinance governing chimneys. The adjacent owners sought a mandatory injunction requiring modification or reconstruction of the new home. The adjacent owners also sued the City of Sioux Falls, alleging negligence in issuing a building permit and failing to enforce the regulations. The circuit court granted the injunction, and it concluded that the City owed the adjacent owners a duty to properly enforce building codes. On appeal, the Court, per Justice Zinter, affirmed the issuance of an injunction, concluding that the new construction standards found in ARSD 24:52:07:04 apply to the new home, and that the circuit court therefore did not abuse its discretion in granting an injunction with respect to historic-district regulations. The circuit court did, however, err in concluding that the new home violated the chimney ordinance, and that the City owed a duty to the adjacent property owners, and, as to that issue, the Court therefore reversed and remanded for further proceedings.
State v. Phillips, 2018 S.D. 2. Travis Phillips was convicted of aggravated assault (domestic) and simple assault (domestic). Before trial, the State gave notice of intent to introduce evidence of four prior incidents, arguing that the prior acts were relevant to show the nature of their domestic relationship and Phillips’s motive and intent to control his wife through threats and physical violence. The circuit court ruled that the prior acts were relevant and admissible to show Phillips’s motive, plan, or intention, and that the probative value of the acts was not substantially outweighed by the risk of unfair prejudice. Phillips appealed, arguing that the prior acts were inadmissible because they were introduced only to show that he had a propensity to be violence. On appeal, the Court, per Justice Zinter, affirmed, holding that the evidence was relevant to provide context and to show the nature of the parties’ relationship.
Harvey v. Regional Health Network, 2018 S.D. 3. The director of a senior care facility terminated an employee after two coworkers reported that the employee had slapped and secluded a resident in the facility. The employee maintained that the accusations were false and invoked the employer’s grievance procedure. The employer sustained its decision to terminate the employee. Thereafter, the employee brought suit against the employer and management staff for slander, malicious prosecution, intentional infliction of emotional distress, punitive damages, wrongful discharge, negligence infliction of emotional distress, loss of consortium, and breach of contract. The employer and management staff moved for summary judgment, and their motion was granted. On appeal, the Court, per Justice Severson, affirmed.