Wyman v. Bruckner, 2018 SD 17. This case involved a dispute between sisters related to the handling of the financial affairs of their now-deceased Mother. Plaintiff, as personal representative of the estate, brought this action against Defendant, her sister, premised upon alleged “self-dealing in her capacity as [Mother’s] attorney-in-fact,” and alleging that Defendant improperly wrote checks from an account owned jointly by Defendant and Mother for the benefit of herself and her family. These amounts included a $200,000.00 check to Defendant’s husband and two checks of $6,377.16 to herself.
Plaintiff brought several claims against the Defendant in a separate civil action “on several grounds,” but eventually narrowed her action solely to a claim of “breach of fiduciary duty.” Defendant responded that her status as a joint owner entitled her to withdraw funds from the account. Furthermore, Defendant argued that a power of attorney, which named Defendant as attorney-in-fact, permitted self-dealing and authorized her to transfer funds out of the joint account to herself and to her family members.
The trial court granted summary judgment for Defendant and ruled that the power of attorney permitted Defendant to self-deal and to gift Mother’s money to herself as well as to her immediate family. However, the Supreme Court of South Dakota reversed and remanded the case. The Court held that there was no “clear and unmistakable language” in the power of attorney that authorized self-dealing acts and, moreover, that the power of attorney did not clearly authorize transfers to Defendant’s family members as well. The Court also found that Defendant had breached her fiduciary duties, stemming from her role as attorney-in-fact, to her Mother when she spent funds from the joint account on herself and her family while Mother was still alive. To this extent, the trial court was reversed.
However, the Court remanded to the trial court to determine whether Defendant acted in her fiduciary capacity when she was added to the joint account. Since Defendant’s durable power of attorney expired after Mother’s death, along with Defendant’s fiduciary duties stemming from that role, the Court held that a determination was necessary as to whether Defendant’s role as being listed on the joint-account established fiduciary duties that would extend after Mother passed away.
State v. Lar, 2018 SD 18. This case involved a Defendant that was a passenger in a vehicle that was pulled over for an “inoperable headlight.” Due to the driver’s nervous appearance, law enforcement deployed a drug dog that indicated a controlled substance was present in the vehicle. Law enforcement searched the vehicle and found a metal pipe and marijuana. No controlled substances were found on Defendant, however, Defendant, the driver, and the two other passengers were arrested for possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. After being arrested, law enforcement required Defendant to provide a urine sample without his consent and without a warrant. The results of the urine test detected metabolites of meth, to which Defendant was charged with unauthorized ingestion of a controlled substance. Defendant filed a motion to suppress the results of the urine test, but said motion was denied.
On appeal, the Supreme Court of South Dakota held that the “privacy concerns surrounding the category of effects at issue in this case (i.e., an arrestee’s urine) outweigh the State’s interest in preserving evidence.” Given the significant invasion of privacy of collecting urine samples, the Supreme Court of South Dakota held that law enforcement may not require an arrestee to urinate into a specimen container as a search incident to arrest, but instead must secure a warrant prior to obtaining a urine sample from an arrestee. Thus, the search at issue violated the Fourth Amendment and the trial court erred by denying Defendant’s motion to suppress.