Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

In the Matter of the Estate of

May 2, 2012

IN THE MATTER OF THE ESTATE OF BLAIR MARTIN HAMILTON, A/K/A BLAIR M. HAMILTON, DECEASED.


APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE FOURTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT HARDING COUNTY, SOUTH DAKOTA THE HONORABLE JOHN W. BASTIAN Judge

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Gilbertson, Chief Justice

ARGUED MARCH 21, 2012

[¶1.] Lyndon Hart appeals an order denying his petition to extend time to file a creditor's claim against the Estate of Blair Hamilton.

FACTS & PROCEDURAL HISTORY

[¶2.] On the night of October 10, 2009, Blair Hamilton was drinking in his home with his friend Lyndon Hart and another person. Hamilton put a gun to his head in a simulated game of Russian roulette and accidentally killed himself. Hart witnessed Hamilton's death. Hamilton owned a large ranch in Harding County, South Dakota. Hart lived on the ranch in separate housing and worked for Hamilton.

[¶3.] Hart alleges that he was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder in February 2011 from witnessing this event. Hart consulted with an attorney. On May 12, 2011, an intern in the attorney's office sent a letter to the attorney for Hamilton's estate ("the Estate"), requesting information about the Estate and the incident in order to assess a potential claim against the Estate.*fn1 The personal representative filed a verified statement for informal closing of the Estate on June 2, 2011. Counsel for the Estate responded to Hart's attorney on June 3, 2011, that all claims against the Estate were barred under SDCL 29A-3-803.*fn2

[¶4.] In August 2011, Hart filed a petition to extend time to file a creditor's claim against the Estate under SDCL 29A-3-804(c). Specifically, Hart wanted to file an "unliquidated claim against the Estate of Blair Hamilton for the negligent and intentional infliction of emotional distress caused by the actions of Blair Hamilton on the night of October [10], 2009." After a hearing, the circuit court denied the petition.*fn3 Hart appeals the denial.

[¶5.] After appellate briefing, the Estate submitted a motion to dismiss and a supplemental brief asserting that the Court lacks jurisdiction under Estate of Geier, 2012 S.D. 2, 809 N.W.2d 355. The Estate argues that Geier requires service of notice of appeal on all heirs and because not all heirs were served in this case, service was not completed. Hart served his notice of appeal only on the Estate's attorney. Hart argues Geier does not apply because he has not been permitted to file a claim against the Estate. Further, Hart argues that under SDCL 29A-3- 804(a)(1) and (2), he is not required to serve notice of appeal on all heirs.

[¶6.] On appeal, we address the following issues:

1. Whether all required parties were served with notice of appeal.

2. Whether the circuit court erred in denying Hart's motion to extend time to file a creditor's claim.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

[¶7.] In cases of statutory construction:

Questions of law such as statutory interpretation are reviewed by the Court de novo. . . . The purpose of statutory construction is to discover the true intention of the law which is to be ascertained primarily from the language expressed in the statute. The intent of a statute is determined from what the legislature said, rather than what the courts think it should have said, and the court must confine itself to the language used. Words and phrases in a statute must be given their plain meaning and effect. When the language in a statute is clear, certain and unambiguous, there is no reason for construction, and the Court's only function is to declare the meaning of the statute as clearly expressed. Since statutes must be construed according to their intent, the intent must be determined from the statute as a whole, as well as enactments relating to ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.