Articles Posted in Government & Administrative Law

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A Department of Transportation decision suspending or revoking driving privileges may be appealed to the district court by serving the director and filing a notice of appeal with specifications of error in the district court within seven days after the date of the hearing as shown by the date of the hearing officer's decision. Fritz Opp appealed and the Department of Transportation cross-appealed judgments affirming the Department's decisions revoking Opp's driving privileges for 180 days and reciprocally disqualifying him from operating a commercial motor vehicle for one year. The North Dakota Supreme Court concluded the district court lacked jurisdiction to hear Opp's untimely appeals of the Department's decisions, and reversed and remanded for the district court to enter judgments dismissing Opp's appeals to the district court. View "Opp v. N.D. Dep't of Transportation" on Justia Law

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Ulises Barrios-Flores appeals from a judgment affirming a Department of Transportation decision revoking his driving privileges for two years for refusing to submit to an onsite screening test of his breath. Under N.D.C.C. 39-20-05(3), the limited scope of an administrative hearing for refusing to submit to an onsite screening test requires a determination of: (1) whether the law enforcement officer had reason to believe the person committed a moving traffic violation or was involved in an accident as a driver; (2) whether in conjunction with the violation or accident, the officer has, through the officer’s observations, formulated an opinion that the person’s body contains alcohol; and (3) whether the person refused to submit to the onsite screening test. Here, the hearing officer found the law enforcement officer observed a vehicle driven by Barrios-Flores was speeding and initiated a traffic stop, Barrios-Flores had bloodshot watery eyes, and he admitted he had a couple of beers. Evidence in the record supported the hearing officer’s findings, and a reasoning person could conclude the hearing officer’s findings were supported by a preponderance of the evidence. Those findings provided the law enforcement officer with a reasonable suspicion Barrios-Flores was driving while impaired to request an onsite screening test of Barrios-Flores’ breath and he refused the test. The North Dakota Supreme Court concluded the Department’s decision revoking Barrios-Flores’ driving privilege was in accordance with the law and did not violate his constitutional rights. View "Barrios-Flores v. Levi" on Justia Law

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Section 25-03.1-18.1(1)(a), N.D.C.C., does not require both treating and non-treating physicians to testify at a medication hearing addressing a request to involuntarily treat with medication. M.G. appealed a district court's order authorizing involuntary treatment with prescribed medication. F.M.G. argued the district court erred in granting the request to treat her with prescribed medications, because the proper medical providers did not testify at the hearing under N.D.C.C. 25-03.1-18.1(1)(a), and the mandatory certification requirements under N.D.C.C. 25-03.1-18.1(1)(a)(2) were not met. After review, the North Dakota Supreme Court concluded N.D.C.C. 25-03.1-18.1(1)(a) did not require both treating and non-treating physicians to testify at the hearing, and F.M.G. did not adequately raise the issue of whether the form used to request involuntary treatment with medication met the certification requirements under N.D.C.C. 25-03.1-18.1(1)(a)(2) before the district court. Therefore, the Supreme Court affirmed the district court's order. View "Interest of F.M.G." on Justia Law

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A party petitioning for termination of a guardianship must make a prima facie showing that the ward is no longer incapacitated, and if a prima facie case is established, the guardian has the burden to prove by clear and convincing evidence that the ward remains an incapacitated person. M.E. appealed a trial court order denying her petition to be restored to capacity, arguing the district court erred by denying her petition because no evidence showed she lacked the ability to care for herself and the court failed to order the least restrictive form of intervention. After review, the North Dakota Supreme Court affirmed, concluding M.E. failed to establish a prima facie case for termination of the guardianship or for a less restrictive form of intervention. View "Guardianship & Conservatorship of M.E." on Justia Law

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An action for equitable relief generally cannot be combined with a statutory appeal seeking a review of a local governing body's decision. Donald Cossette and the Angela R. Cossette Revocable Living Trust appealed a district court order dismissing their complaint against the Cass County Joint Water Resource District. The District passed a resolution of necessity determining the Cossettes' property was necessary for the Diversion Project and the District intended "to acquire a Permanent Right of Way Easement over, across, and through the [Cossettes'] Property." The Cossettes sought a declaration that the District inappropriately passed the resolution, and appealed from the District's resolution of necessity relating to the District's intent to acquire an interest in the Cossettes' real property through eminent domain. The North Dakota Supreme Court affirmed that part of the district court order dismissing the Cossettes' request for declaratory relief. The Court reversed that part of the district court order concluding the Cossettes were not entitled to appeal the District's resolution of necessity, and remanded. View "Cossette v. Cass County Joint Water Resource District" on Justia Law

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Ryan Crawford appealed a district court judgment affirming a Department of Transportation decision suspending his driving privileges for two years. Crawford argued: (1) the arresting officer did not have grounds to initially stop his vehicle; and (2) the results of a warrantless blood test should not have been admitted into evidence in the license suspension proceeding. After review, the Supreme Court concluded the arresting officer had a reasonable and articulable suspicion to initially stop Crawford's vehicle. The Court also found that assuming Crawford's consent to the warrantless blood test was involuntary for purposes of this appeal, the exclusionary rule did not require suppression of the results of the blood test in this civil administrative license suspension proceeding. View "Crawford v. N.D. Dep't of Transportation" on Justia Law

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Casey Voigt appealed a judgment affirming the Public Service Commission's ("Commission") order that affirmed its conditional approval of a surface coal mining permit for Coyote Creek Mining Company, L.L.C. ("Company"). The Supreme Court concluded the Commission's order complied with applicable law requiring identification and protection of "alluvial valley floors" and sufficiently addressed Voigt's evidence. Furthermore, the Court concluded the Commission's conclusions of law regarding the lack of "alluvial valley floors" within or adjacent to the permit area was supported by the findings of fact and that reasonable minds could have determined the Commission's findings of fact were proved by the weight of the evidence from the entire record. View "Voigt v. N.D. Public Service Commission" on Justia Law

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Nandan, LLP appealed the grant of summary judgment and an order denying its N.D.R.Civ.P. 60(b) motion for relief from judgment, ruling that road and utility repairs were incidental to the repair of a water and sewer system damaged by a landslide in Fargo, and that the City of Fargo was therefore not required to pass a resolution of necessity to create an improvement district to fund the repairs. In 2012, a landslide occurred along 32nd Street North in Fargo near where Nandan and Border States Paving, Inc., owned property. The landslide damaged a water main and storm sewer; the street; and Drain No. 10, which was owned, operated, and maintained by the Southeast Cass Water Resource District. The road and adjacent water and sewer lines were owned by Fargo. Fargo created an improvement district to fund repairs to the drain, water main, and sanitary sewer systems on a portion of the drain without adopting a resolution of necessity. Fargo later entered into a joint powers agreement with the District which set forth the parties' obligations for the repairs. The district court granted Fargo's N.D.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief could be granted, concluding Nandan and Border States had no right to protest under N.D.C.C. 40-22-06 because the city let the bids for project construction, or under N.D.C.C. 40-22-15 because the project constituted a water or sewer improvement for which a resolution of necessity was not required. Finding that Nandan failed to raise a genuine issue of material fact precluding summary judgment, the North Dakota Supreme Court affirmed. View "Nandan, LLP v. City of Fargo" on Justia Law

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Dunn County appealed a judgment declaring the Industrial Commission had exclusive jurisdiction to determine the location of oil and gas waste treating plants. The Supreme Court affirmed, concluding the County lacked the power to veto the Commission's approval of the location for an oil and gas waste treating plant. View "Environmental Driven Solutions v. Dunn County" on Justia Law

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The State petitioned the Supreme Court for a supervisory writ requiring the district court to grant the State's motion to amend its criminal complaint against Ward County Sheriff Steven Kukowski to allege that criminal conduct occurred in 2014 rather than 2015. The Supreme Court concluded this was an appropriate case to exercise discretionary supervisory jurisdiction, and directed the district court to grant the State's motion to amend the criminal complaint. View "North Dakota v. Romanick" on Justia Law