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Healy v. Osborne

Supreme Court of South Dakota

March 14, 2018

BRET HEALY, Plaintiff and Appellant,
v.
MARY ANN OSBORNE, BRYCE HEALY, BARRY HEALY, HEALY RANCH PARTNERSHIP, HEALY RANCH, INC., and ALBERT STEVEN FOX, Defendants and Appellees.

          Motion Considered On February 8, 2018

         APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE FIRST JUDICIAL CIRCUIT BRULE COUNTY, SOUTH DAKOTA THE HONORABLE CHRIS GILES Judge

          CYNTHIA SRSTKA Sioux Falls, South Dakota Attorney for plaintiff and appellant.

          JACK H. HIEB ZACHARY W. PETERSON of Richardson, Wyly, Wise Sauck & Hieb, LLP Aberdeen, South Dakota Attorneys for defendants and appellees Mary Ann Osborne and Healy Ranch Partnership.

          LEE SCHOENBECK Watertown, South Dakota Attorney for defendants and appellees Healy Ranch, Inc., Barry Healy and Bryce Healy.

          KARA SEMMLER of May, Adam, Gerdes & Thompson Pierre, South Dakota Attorneys for defendant and appellee Albert Steven Fox.

          ZINTER, Justice.

         [¶1.] On February 9, 2018, this Court issued an order granting Bret Healy's (Healy) motion for a stay of a circuit court's final judgment pending appeal. Additionally, we dismissed his first appeal from a non-final judgment. We now issue this opinion setting forth the reasons for our order.

         Facts and Procedural History

         [¶2.] Healy sued Mary Ann Osborne and others (collectively Osborne) for alleged fraud in transferring ownership of a ranch and acreage in which Healy claimed an interest. As part of the suit, Healy filed a lis pendens as to the subject property. Osborne answered, counterclaimed, and later moved for summary judgment based upon the statute of limitations. The summary judgment motion was granted and the complaint dismissed, but neither the counterclaims nor the pending motions for attorney's fees were addressed. The issues pending before this Court developed as a result of a series of subsequent filings relating to Healy's appeal and his request for a stay of execution of the circuit court's judgment.

         [¶3.] Although the summary judgment did not dispose of all pending claims, and although the circuit court did not enter an SDCL 15-6-54(b) certification, Healy filed an appeal of the summary judgment. Shortly thereafter, the circuit court filed a final judgment disposing of all pending claims. That judgment dismissed the counterclaims, awarded Osborne attorney's fees, and ordered an immediate release of the lis pendens. On the same date, Osborne filed a motion with this Court to dismiss Healy's appeal of the earlier summary judgment because it was not a final judgment.

         [¶4.] Healy also filed a motion in the circuit court to stay execution of that part of its final judgment ordering immediate release of the lis pendens. Following email exchanges among the parties and the circuit court, the court denied the stay. It ruled that the lis pendens was "inappropriate" and that the court lost jurisdiction to grant a stay as a result of Healy's appeal. Healy then moved this Court for special relief pursuant to SDCL 15-26A-39[1] to grant the stay. Healy also filed a second notice of appeal pertaining to the circuit court's final judgment adjudicating all claims.

         [¶5.] Following consideration of Osborne's and Healy's motions, this Court granted Osborne's motion to dismiss Healy's first appeal of the summary judgment because it was not final. See Brasel v. City of Pierre, 87 S.D. 561, 565, 211 N.W.2d 846, 848 (1973) (dismissing appeals of partial summary judgments because, absent a Rule 54(b) certification, "a judgment adjudicating fewer than all the claims, rights and liabilities of fewer than all the parties [including cross-claims] . . . is not a final judgment" that may be appealed as a matter of right). We also granted Healy's motion for special relief ...


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