Justia Commercial Law Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in South Dakota Supreme Court
Stern Oil Co. v. Brown
The Supreme Court reversed and remanded a jury award of $260,464 after the jury found in favor of Plaintiff on its breach of contract and fraud claims against Defendant.In Stern Oil I, Defendant appealed a judgment awarding Plaintiff over eight years of lost profits in excess of $900,000. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded the case, ruling that the circuit court erred in granting summary judgment in favor of Plaintiff on its breach of contract claims against Defendant and by denying Defendant’s fraud claims against Plaintiff.On remand, a jury found in favor of Plaintiff on both claims. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded, holding that the circuit court erred by (1) instructing the jury on consequential damages and the foreseeability of Plaintiff’s lost profits to Defendant at the time of contracting; and (2) excluding Plaintiff’s evidence on four damage scenarios. View "Stern Oil Co. v. Brown" on Justia Law
State v. Wayfair Inc.
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the circuit court granting summary judgment for certain Internet sellers (Sellers) and enjoining the State from enforcing 2016 legislation extending the obligation to collect and remit sales tax to sellers with no physical presence in the state. Pursuant to the legislation, the State brought this declaratory judgment action seeking a declaration that Sellers, who had no physical presence in the state, must comply with the requirements of the 2016 legislation. The circuit court enjoined the State from enforcing the obligation to collect and remit sales tax against Sellers, observing its obligation to adhere to Supreme Court precedent prohibiting the imposition of an obligation to collect and remit sales tax on sellers with no physical presence in the State. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the circuit court correctly applied the law when it granted Sellers’ motion for summary judgment. View "State v. Wayfair Inc." on Justia Law
Great Western Bank v. Branhan
Appellants Thomas and Robin Branhan borrowed money from Appellee Great Western Bank. As collateral for the loan, the Branhans gave Great Western a security interest in their shares of Glacial Lakes stock. The Branhans later defaulted on their loan. Great Western subsequently brought a foreclosure action against the Branhans. As part of a settlement agreement, the Branhans agreed to surrender and transfer to Great Western all their rights to Glacial Lakes stock they were unable to sell by a certain date. After Great Western issued a satisfaction of judgment, Glacial Lakes announced a capital call repayment. In response, the Branhans filed a motion to determine which party was entitled to the capital call repayments. The circuit court concluded that Great Western owned the stock and was therefore entitled to the repayments. The Supreme Court affirmed, concluding that Great Western was entitled to the capital call repayment because the benefit of capital call repayment transferred with the shares. View "Great Western Bank v. Branhan" on Justia Law
Lindskov v. Lindskov
When Dennis Lindskov purchased Les Lindskov's interest in an automotive company, Dennis and Les signed a dissolution agreement that contained a non-disparagement clause. Les opened a competing business within months of the sale of his interest in the company. Dennis initiated a breach of contract and fraud and deceit action, alleging that the non-disparagement clause contained a covenant not to compete. The trial court granted Les's motions for summary judgment on both causes of action and dismissed Dennis's complaint. On appeal, the Supreme Court affirmed, holding the trial court properly granted Les's motions for summary judgment where (1) because the clause did not create a covenant not to compete, Les did not breach the dissolution agreement by opening a competing business, and (2) because Les did not have a fiduciary duty to disclose his intent to compete, he did not commit fraud or deceit as a matter of law.
Orr v. Cook
Richard Orr and Sheldon Cook had a partnership agreement to conduct a cow-calf operation. The parties sold the cows and calves in the spring of 2007. Cook received $230,935 from the sale. Orr sued Cook, disputing the reimbursement amount Cook owed him from the sale and for the cost of feeding and caring for the cows during the winter of 2007. The trial court awarded Orr $41,614. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding (1) the trial court was not clearly erroneous in determining the value of the calves; (2) the trial court was not clearly erroneous in determining the amount of reimbursement Cook owed Orr for feed and veterinarian costs; and (3) the trial court did err in refusing to award Orr prejudgment interest because it was requested in a manner allowed by statute.