Considered On February 8, 2018
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.
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
SCHOENBECK Watertown, South Dakota Attorney for defendants
and appellees Healy Ranch, Inc., Barry Healy and Bryce Healy.
SEMMLER of May, Adam, Gerdes & Thompson Pierre, South
Dakota Attorneys for defendant and appellee Albert Steven
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.
and Procedural History
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.
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.
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 to grant the stay. Healy also filed a
second notice of appeal pertaining to the circuit court's
final judgment adjudicating all claims.
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 ...