Articles Posted in South Dakota Supreme Court

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Defendant-Appellant James Brown owned interests in several businesses. In late 2004, he acquired and redesigned two convenience stores on opposite sides of Exit 2 on Interstate 29 in North Sioux City, South Dakota. Plaintiff-Appellee Stern Oil, a fuel distributor for Exxon Mobil Corporation, contacted Brown while he was remodeling the properties. Although Brown was negotiating with another fuel distributor, he ultimately elected to do business with Stern Oil. When Brown notified Stern Oil that he would no longer purchase its fuel, Stern Oil initiated this breach of contract action. Brown filed a counterclaim, alleging fraudulent inducement. Stern Oil argued that Brown contracted to purchase a minimum amount of fuel for a ten-year period. The circuit court granted Stern Oil's motion for summary judgment on both the breach of contract claim and on Brown's counterclaim, but the issue of damages proceeded to trial. After trial, the circuit court awarded Stern Oil eight years of lost profits. Brown appealed. Upon review, the Supreme Court reversed the circuit court's grant of summary judgment. Both Brown's fraudulent inducement counterclaim and Stern Oil's breach of contract claim involved disputed material facts. Therefore, the Court concluded the circuit court erred in granting Stern Oil summary judgment. The case was remanded for further proceedings. View "Stern Oil Co. v. Brown" on Justia Law

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Clarkson and Company owned and leased land on which Continental Resources conducted oil and gas exploration activities. Continental agreed to pay Clarkson for use of and damage to Clarkson's property. Clarkson sued Continental, seeking declaratory relief to clarify the terms of the payment agreement Continental and Clarkson made. The trial court granted judgment to Clarkson for $164,102. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding, inter alia, that (1) Clarkson's claim was not barred by laches; (2) the agreement called for annual escalation of road use payments; (3) roads on land that Clarkson leased in 1981 and subsequently purchased were subject to the road use payment provision of the agreement; and (4) Clarkson was not entitled to a road use payment for a portion of existing road that Continental used to construct a new road. View "Clarkson & Co. v. Continental Res., Inc." on Justia Law