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Winegeart v. Winegeart

Supreme Court of South Dakota

April 11, 2018

WESTON LEE WINEGEART, Plaintiff and Appellee,
v.
ERYN MARIE WINEGEART, Defendant and Appellant.

          CONSIDERED ON BRIEFS ON FEBRUARY 12, 2018

          APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE SIXTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT HUGHES COUNTY, SOUTH DAKOTA THE HONORABLE JOHN L. BROWN Judge

          KATIE J. THOMPSON of Olinger, Lovald, McCahren, Van Camp & Konrad, P.C. Pierre, South Dakota Attorneys for plaintiff and appellee.

          AL ARENDT Pierre, South Dakota Attorney for defendant and appellant.

          GILBERTSON, CHIEF JUSTICE

         [¶1.] Eryn Marie Winegeart appeals the circuit court's order to sell real estate she jointly owned with Weston Lee Winegeart, her former spouse. The order permits the payment of realtor fees, but Eryn asserts the parties orally agreed in mediation to sell the property without paying realtor fees. We affirm.

         Facts and Procedural History

         [¶2.] Weston and Eryn Winegeart first married in 2005, divorced, [1] then married for a second time in 2012. The parties owned a home in Pierre, where they resided with their three children: B.C., K.L., and J.C. On October 4, 2016, Weston filed for divorce. Eryn subsequently obtained a protection order against Weston, and both parties vacated the home. Weston moved to Texas.

         [¶3.] On January 9, 2017, the circuit court ordered the parties to undergo mediation. The parties attended one mediation session on March 9. After the session, Weston signed an agreement with a real-estate agent to list the jointly owned real estate. The listing agreement included a commission for the realtor. On March 10, a third party signed an agreement to purchase the property for $330, 000. Eryn refused to sign the purchase agreement, asserting that during mediation, Weston had orally agreed to sell the property without paying for a realtor.

         [¶4.] On March 22, 2017, Weston filed a motion asking the court to order Eryn to sign the purchase agreement. The parties deposed the mediator on March 30. Over the objection of Weston's attorney, the mediator testified that it was his "understanding . . . that there were no Realtor commissions to be paid, that this was going to be a private sale." The court held a hearing to consider the motion on March 31. The court found that the parties had not entered into an enforceable oral agreement in regard to realtor fees. The court granted Weston's request and ordered Eryn to sign the purchase agreement.

         [¶5.] On April 15, 2017, after the circuit court issued its order requiring Eryn to sign the purchase agreement, the parties entered into a property-settlement agreement. On April 18, the circuit court granted a divorce on the grounds of irreconcilable differences. The court determined custody, set child support, and incorporated the parties' April 15 property-settlement agreement.

         [¶6.] Eryn appeals the circuit court's March 31, 2017 order requiring her to sign the purchase agreement. She asks this Court to enter an order requiring Weston to pay her "the realtor fees incurred as a result of his violation of the oral mediated agreement." Thus, Eryn raises the following issue: Whether the court erred by ordering her to sign the purchase agreement.

         Standard of Review

         [¶7.] This appeal involves interpreting South Dakota's Uniform Mediation Act, SDCL chapter 19-13A. Statutory interpretation is a question of law reviewed de novo. Pitt-Hart v. Sanford USD Med. Ctr., 2016 S.D. 33, ΒΆ 7, 878 N.W.2d 406, 409. The circuit court's factual findings are reviewed under the ...


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