Justia Agriculture Law Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in South Dakota Supreme Court
Weber V. Weber
In this case heard by the Supreme Court of the State of South Dakota, Ivan and Donita Weber, who were married for less than four years, sought a divorce. Prior to their marriage, Donita owned significant assets, including a valuable farmland. During their marriage, the couple co-mingled and jointly titled most of their assets, including the farmland. They worked on and made improvements to the farm before selling it and most of the accompanying assets for approximately $2.5 million. Upon divorce, the circuit court treated most of the parties’ property as marital but awarded Donita a much larger share. Ivan appealed, arguing that the circuit court abused its discretion in dividing the marital assets and in failing to award him spousal support.The Supreme Court of the State of South Dakota affirmed the lower court's decision. The court found that the circuit court appropriately considered the relevant factors, including the duration of the marriage, the value of the property owned by the parties, their ages, health, ability to earn a living, the contribution of each party to the accumulation of the property, and the income-producing capacity of the parties’ assets. The court found that the circuit court did not abuse its discretion in dividing the marital property, given the short length of their marriage and the fact that Donita brought in significantly more assets into the marriage than Ivan.Regarding Ivan's argument for spousal support, the court found that Ivan had waived his right to appeal this issue because he failed to present any issue concerning spousal support to the circuit court. Therefore, the court declined to award Ivan any attorney fees and awarded $5,000 in appellate attorney fees to Donita. View "Weber V. Weber" on Justia Law
State Farm v. Grunewaldt
The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the circuit court granting summary judgment in favor of State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company in this lawsuit it brought seeking a declaration that it had no duty to defend or indemnify its insureds under the circumstances, holding that the circuit court did not err.Agtegra Cooperative brought the underlying lawsuit alleging that Mike Grunewaldt and Nancy Grunewaldt were liable to Agtegra for damages related to its delivery of wheat contaminated with fertilizer to Agtegra's elevator. State Farm, the Grunewaldts' insurance company, then commenced a separate lawsuit arguing that it had no duty to defend or indemnify the Grunewaldts to pay any judgment arising from the allegations in Agtegra's action. The circuit court granted summary judgment for State Farm. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the circuit court properly held that State Farm had no duty to defend or indemnify the Grunewaldts in the lawsuit initiated by Agtegra. View "State Farm v. Grunewaldt" on Justia Law
Schott v. So. Dakota Wheat Growers Assn.
Dallas Schott, owner of Corson County Feeders, Inc., sued South Dakota Wheat Growers Association (SDWG), alleging its agronomist incorrectly prescribed a herbicide that Schott sprayed on his 2014 sunflower crop. The herbicide was not labeled for use on all of Schott’s sunflowers, and 1,200 acres were destroyed. The circuit court granted SDWG summary judgment, ruling that Schott assumed the risk. After review, the South Dakota Supreme Court reversed and remanded after finding there were disputed issues of fact concerning Schott’s knowledge and appreciation of the risk. View "Schott v. So. Dakota Wheat Growers Assn." on Justia Law