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Under the abandoned mineral statutes, the surface owner must mail a copy of the notice of lapse to the mineral interest owner's address if the mineral interest owner's address is shown of record. Ronald and Sherry Huebner appealed a district court's findings of fact, conclusions of law and order for judgment and judgment denying their request to quiet title in certain Burke County mineral interests. The Huebners argued the district court erred in ruling they did not comply with the notice requirements in the abandoned mineral statutes, N.D.C.C. ch. 38-18.1. Finding no reversible error, the North Dakota Supreme Court affirmed. View "Huebner v. Furlinger" on Justia Law

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Police officers outside of their jurisdiction generally act without official capacity and authority to arrest. A University of North Dakota (UND) police officer has the authority to initiate a traffic stop of a driver operating a motor vehicle on university property. Todd Wilkie appealed a criminal judgment after conditionally pleading guilty to reckless endangerment, fleeing or attempting to elude a peace officer and driving under suspension, reserving the right to appeal the denial of his motion to suppress evidence and dismiss the case. UND police officer Anthony Thiry was traveling east on Gateway Drive when he saw a vehicle traveling east on the 3000 block of Gateway Drive at a fast rate of speed and exhibiting erratic driving behavior. Officer Thiry checked the vehicle's license plate and discovered the owner, Wilkie, had a suspended drivers license. The vehicle driver matched Wilkie's description. According to Officer Thiry, he activated his overhead lights attempting to stop Wilkie, but the vehicle sped past, ultimately becoming disabled from hitting a median. Wilkie fled by foot and was apprehended.  Wilkie filed a motion to suppress evidence and dismiss the case, arguing Officer Thiry lacked jurisdiction to stop him. After a hearing the district court entered an order finding Officer Thiry was within the UND police department's jurisdiction and had official capacity and power to arrest Wilkie because UND owns the property encompassing the eastbound lane of Gateway Drive. The district court further determined Officer Thiry was in hot pursuit of Wilkie when Wilkie did not stop his vehicle within UND police department's jurisdiction. Finding no reversible error in the district court’s judgment, the North Dakota Supreme Court affirmed. View "North Dakota v. Wilkie" on Justia Law

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The Federal Arbitration Act does not preempt all state arbitration law. A party alleging an arbitration agreement is unconscionable must demonstrate some quantum of both procedural and substantive unconscionability. A party's failure to clearly object to a defect in arbitration proceedings prior to or during arbitration may constitute a waiver of the objection. Lynne Thompson appealed a district court order compelling arbitration, a judgment confirming the arbitration award, and an order denying her motion to vacate the judgment or for a new trial. Thompson sued Lithia ND Acquisition Corp. #1, seeking to rescind a contract to purchase a vehicle and for damages for unjust enrichment and unlawful sales practices. Lithia moved to dismiss Thompson's complaint and to compel arbitration, arguing there was an enforceable agreement to arbitrate. Thompson responded to the motion, arguing the arbitration agreement was unenforceable and unconscionable and claiming she was entitled to a jury trial on the issue of the enforceability. The North Dakota Supreme Court affirmed, concluding the district court did not err in compelling arbitration or confirming the arbitrator's award. View "Thompson v. Lithia ND Acquisition Corp. #1" on Justia Law

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The preliminary hearing is a tool to ferret out groundless and improvident prosecutions; the State is not required to prove with absolute certainty or beyond a reasonable doubt that a crime occurred, but need only produce sufficient evidence to establish probable cause that a crime occurred and that the defendant committed it. The State appealed a district court order dismissing with prejudice a class B felony charge of possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver against Kensley Turbeville for lack of probable cause. Turbeville was charged with possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver and two counts of possession of drug paraphernalia following the execution of a search warrant at Turbeville's residence. Turbeville's counsel questioned the officer about the amount of marijuana found. The officer testified he did not feel he could get an accurate weight and that it was being analyzed at the state crime lab. The officer testified the individual "nuggets" of marijuana were not packaged separately. Turbeville argued there was nothing presented at the hearing to indicate she had intent to deliver. The State argued there was sufficient evidence presented for probable cause Turbeville possessed marijuana with intent to deliver. Because the North Dakota Supreme Court concluded the State produced sufficient evidence to establish probable cause for a charge of class B felony possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver, it reversed and remanded. View "North Dakota v. Turbeville" on Justia Law

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When a party objects to the State's admission of evidence with a pretrial motion in limine, the party must renew their objection at trial in order to give the district court an opportunity to rule on the issue at trial. A party's failure to renew their objection at trial acts as a waiver of the claim of error. Harold Shick appealed a district court's judgment entered after a jury convicted him of terrorizing, reckless endangerment, felonious restraint, possession of a controlled substance, and possession of drug paraphernalia. The North Dakota Supreme Court concluded the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying Shick's motion for a mistrial, and there was sufficient evidence to sustain the jury's verdict. View "North Dakota v. Shick" on Justia Law

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A district court's analysis of whether "corroborating circumstances" indicate the trustworthiness of the statement is a preliminary determination regarding the admissibility of the evidence. Precious Bailey appeals a criminal judgment entered after a jury found her guilty of possessing a controlled substance with the intent to deliver. Bailey argued the district court erred by excluding hearsay testimony after analyzing the credibility of the witness she wanted to testify on her behalf. Finding no reversible error, the North Dakota Supreme court affirmed the district court. View "North Dakota v. Bailey" on Justia Law

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During an investigatory stop of a vehicle, a traffic violator can be temporarily detained until the legitimate investigative purposes of the traffic stop have been completed. Michael Phelps appealed a criminal judgment entered after he conditionally pleaded guilty to possession of methamphetamine with intent to deliver after the district court denied his motion to suppress evidence. Phelps argued the district court erred in denying his motion to suppress evidence because the traffic stop was not supported by reasonable suspicion and the dog sniff unreasonably extended the traffic stop. The North Dakota Supreme Court concluded: (1) the district court did not err in finding the officer had reasonable suspicion to initiate a traffic stop; and (2) the dog sniff conducted on Phelps' vehicle did not require independent reasonable suspicion because it occurred contemporaneously to the completion of duties related to the initial traffic stop. View "North Dakota v. Phelps" on Justia Law

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An indemnification agreement need not be in writing, and an agent's authority to enter into an indemnification agreement need not be in writing. Jim Leach (“Leach”) and Elizabeth Leach appealed a district court judgment awarding money damages to SNAPS Holding Company after ruling they breached a stock purchase agreement with SNAPS. SNAPS cross-appealed the dismissal of its breach of contract claims against Leach. Leach was the chief operating officer and majority shareholder of IDA of Moorhead Inc. Leach negotiated with Sanjay Patel, president and CEO of SNAPS, to sell IDA to SNAPS. During negotiations the parties discussed the effect of an employee lawsuit on the potential sale. The parties agreed SNAPS would be responsible for the first $100,000 of expenses associated with the lawsuit, and Jim Leach and IDA would be responsible for that portion exceeding $100,000. At a shareholders and board of directors meeting, the IDA shareholders and board of directors authorized the sale of IDA's stock to SNAPS for $1,180,000. A district court ruled IDA wrongfully terminated the employee and Leach breached a fiduciary duty. Leach and the selling shareholders of IDA refused to pay the employee lawsuit judgment. The employee filed the judgment against Leach in Arizona, and subsequently assigned the judgment to SNAPS and IDA. Leach objected to the filing of the judgment against him in Arizona. An Arizona court ruled SNAPS and IDA could not enforce the judgment against Leach in Arizona. The court concluded SNAPS exercised total control over the management and activities of IDA and was the alter ego of IDA. The Arizona court concluded both Arizona and North Dakota law prohibited contribution between intentional joint tortfeasors; therefore, allowing IDA to obtain contribution from Leach, its co-intentional joint tortfeasor, was prohibited in Arizona. SNAPS sued Leach and the other former IDA shareholders after they failed to pay the employee judgment. The North Dakota Supreme Court concluded the proceeding in Arizona relating to the filing of the employee judgment and SNAPS' lawsuit in North Dakota relating to the stock purchase agreement were based on different factual circumstances, and as such, not barred by res judicata. The Court reversed and remanded that part of the district court's order granting summary judgment in favor of Jim Leach that found otherwise. The Court also reversed and remanded that part of the judgment dismissing SNAPS' claims against Jim Leach. The Court affirmed in all other respects. View "SNAPS Holding Company v. Leach" on Justia Law

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The North Dakota Supreme Court determined it was proper for the district court to look at the social stigma associated with sex offenders in determining the best interest of a child in a name change petition. Shortly after L.Z.N.'s birth, Shawn Narvais plead guilty to four counts of possession of certain materials prohibited. The mother filed a petition on behalf of the child to change his surname, arguing: (1) she did not want L.Z.N. to carry around the stigma of Narvais's crimes because he shared a last name with his father; (2) she wanted L.Z.N. to have the same last name as his half-sibling, herself, and his maternal grandparents; (3) L.Z.N. wanted to change his last name; and (4) Narvais requested a paternity test to establish his relationship with L.Z.N. and has not been involved with or supported L.Z.N. in any significant way since his incarceration. Narvais appealed a district court's order granting a petition to change his child's surname. Narvais argued the district court used improper factors in determining the best interest of L.Z.N., he was not provided proper notice of the name change petition, and his due process rights were violated because he was not allowed to appear for the hearing. Finding no reversible error, the Supreme Court affirmed. View "Matter of L.Z.N." on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

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The odor of an alcoholic beverage, poor balance, and open containers of alcohol may permit an officer to reasonably formulate an opinion the body of a driver in a single-car crash contains alcohol. Matthew Marman appealed the district court's judgment affirming the Department of Transportation's suspension of his driving privileges for 180 days. Because Marman failed to rebut the prima facie evidence of the Report and Notice, the North Dakota Supreme Court affirmed. View "Marman v. Levi" on Justia Law