Articles Posted in Government Law

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Scott's Electric, Inc. was an electrical contracting business providing commercial, residential, industrial and farm services. Scott's employed Patrick Anderson, Adam Barton, Greg Boumont, Jason Richter, Michael Rick, Rick Schake, and Zach Scheeley as journeymen or apprentice electricians. In 2008, they filed claims with the North Dakota Department of Labor seeking unpaid wages from Scott's for travel time while driving company-owned vehicles. Their claims for unpaid wages spanned from April 1991 to March 2008. After investigating the claims, the Department notified Scott's of the wage claim determinations and requested payment of wages the Department determined to be valid and enforceable. After unsuccessful efforts to collect the unpaid wages, the Department took assignments in trust for wages from the claimants and brought this action to collect the unpaid wages, penalties and interest. After a bench trial, the district court ruled in favor of the Department and awarded a judgment for unpaid wages, penalties and interest against Scott's for $149,551.03. Scott's appealed. Concluding the district court's findings of fact were not clearly erroneous and the court did not missapply those facts to the controlling law, the Supreme Court affirmed. View "North Dakota ex rel. Storbakken v. Scott's Electric" on Justia Law

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Roger Frith appealed a district court judgment affirming an order of Workforce Safety and Insurance ("WSI") denying him medical benefits. In September 2010, Frith filed a claim for a work injury, alleging that on August 18th or 19th he hurt his back at work while lifting and moving a large desk backwards up some stairs. Frith was working for DMI Industries. In June 2011, WSI denied Frith's claim for benefits, concluding he had not proven that his condition was causally related to a work injury or that his work activities substantially accelerated the progression or substantially worsened the severity of his preexisting spine condition. WSI found the medical records reflected a pre-existing condition which exhibited symptoms well before Frith alleged he injured his back at work. The Supreme Court affirmed, concluding a reasoning mind could have reasonably concluded Frith failed to show his work activities substantially accelerated the progression or substantially worsened the severity of a preexisting condition. View "Frith v. WSI" on Justia Law

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Workforce Safety and Insurance appealed a district court judgment affirming an administrative law judge's order finding William Snook and other similarly situated welders were independent contractors. The Supreme Court affirmed, concluding the ALJ's findings of fact were supported by a preponderance of the evidence and the conclusions of law were supported by those facts.View "WSI v. Larry's On Site Welding" on Justia Law

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Dennis Whedbee appealed a district court judgment affirming Workforce Safety and Insurance's ("WSI") binding dispute resolution denying Whedbee's request for a myoelectric prosthesis and approving a body-powered prosthesis. Whedbee argued the binding dispute resolution was an abuse of discretion and violated his due process rights. He argued that WSI should have selected an independent medical examiner located closer to his residence and that his treating physician's opinion should have been given controlling weight. Finding no reversible error, the Supreme Court affirmed. View "Whedbee v. WSI" on Justia Law

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Respondent-appellant Maurice Thill appealed a district court order denying his petition for discharge from civil commitment as a sexually dangerous individual. The Supreme Court affirmed, concluding the district court did not err in finding Thill remained a sexually dangerous individual.View "Interest of Thill" on Justia Law

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Ray Corman appealed a district court memorandum decision and order concluding he was a sexually dangerous individual and committed him to the care, custody and control of the executive director of the North Dakota Department of Human Services. Corman argued the district court order was not supported by clear and convincing evidence that Corman had a congenital or acquired condition that is manifested by a sexual disorder. Finding that the district court's finding that Corman was a sexually dangerous individual was supported by clear and convincing evidence and was not clearly erroneous, the Supreme Court affirmed. View "Interest of Corman" on Justia Law

Posted in: Government Law

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Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, on behalf of the State, appealed, and the National Audubon Society cross-appealed from a district court judgment dismissing the Attorney General's corporate farming enforcement action against Audubon and upholding the constitutionality of North Dakota's Corporate Farming Law, N.D.C.C. ch. 10-06.1. Upon review of the dispute, the Supreme Court affirmed the judgment, concluding the equitable defense of laches barred the State's divestiture claim. The Court declined to address the constitutionality of the Corporate Farming Law because the affirmative defense of laches provided an alternative basis upon which the case may be disposed.View "Stenehjem, ex rel. v. National Audubon Society, Inc." on Justia Law

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A Job Service claims deputy issued an initial determination that Kenneth Risovi misrepresented facts in order to obtain unemployment benefits, which he was not eligible to receive. Job Service disqualified Risovi from receiving unemployment benefits from November 4, 2012, to October 26, 2013. Risovi appealed the determination. Finding no reversible error, the Supreme Court affirmed. View "Risovi v. Job Service" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff-appellant Fred Hector appealed the grant of summary judgment that dismissed his action against the City of Fargo for claims involving special assessments against his land. He argued the district court erred in granting Fargo summary judgment, because N.D.C.C. 40-26-07 authorized his action to judicially establish Fargo's special assessments as void to the extent the assessments exceeded Fargo's actual costs of improvements, and his claims were not barred by administrative res judicata. Upon review of the matter, the Supreme Court concluded N.D.C.C. sections 40-26-01 and 40-26-07 authorized a court to review issues about a municipality's special assessments in the context of the adequate legal remedy of an appeal. Furthermore, the issues Hector raised in this action were res judicata. View "Hector v. City of Fargo" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff-appellant Erling "Curly" Haugland appealed the grant of summary judgment that dismissed his action against the City of Bismarck for declaratory relief involving Bismarck's implementation of an urban renewal plan and use of tax increment financing to fund renewal projects in its renewal area. Haugland argued Bismarck failed to establish as a matter of law that it complied with the procedural requirements of N.D.C.C. 40-58-06 for substantially modifying its urban renewal plan in 1994. On remand, the district court decided an appropriate 1994 resolution existed to add six city blocks to the renewal area and authorized renewal projects in the renewal area were pending in January 2011. The Supreme Court affirmed in part, and reversed in part. The Court affirmed that portion of the summary judgment concerning Bismarck's urban renewal plan including pending authorized projects for the existing renewal area when the district court decided the case in January 2011. However, the Court reversed and remanded summary judgment with respect to approval of the 1994 plan, finding no disputed issues of material fact existed regarding approval.View "Haugland v. City of Bismarck" on Justia Law