North Dakota Supreme Court Decisions

The North Dakota Supreme Court began its history as the Supreme Court of the Dakota Territory in 1861. The size of the court varied between three and eight justices until the adoption of the North Dakota Constitution in 1889. While the Constitution initially set the size of the Court at three justices, a constitutional amendment in 1908 increased it to five justices, which is the size that it remains today. Each justice serves a 10-year term, as provided by a constitutional amendment in 1930.

Under the North Dakota Constitution, the Supreme Court holds general appellate jurisdiction as well as the authority to issue any writs that are needed to exercise its jurisdiction. It also holds the authority to form a three-member panel, known as a Court of Appeals, to hear cases that the Supreme Court assigns to it when the need arises. The Supreme Court chooses the members of the Court of Appeals from retired Supreme Court justices, current or retired lower court judges, and lawyers. A study by Stanford University in 2012 found that the Court is the second-most conservative state supreme court in the U.S.

To serve on the North Dakota Supreme Court, a candidate must be a U.S. citizen and a resident of North Dakota. They also must be “learned in the law.” Candidates run for seats on the Court in non-partisan elections. This means that voters do not see the political affiliation of a candidate on the ballot. Elections are staggered so that one judge is elected every two years. However, if a vacancy arises, the Governor of North Dakota has the authority to appoint a replacement justice. This justice will serve for up to two years until the general election, in which they can run to retain their seat. The justices of the North Dakota Supreme Court and the District Court judges vote to elect the Chief Justice every five years, or when a vacancy arises.

Browse Opinions From the North Dakota Supreme Court

Recent Decisions From the North Dakota Supreme Court
Nodak Ins. Co. v. Farm Family Casualty Ins. Co., et al.  
Date: May 9, 2023
Citation: 2023 ND 84
Docket Number: 20220114

Justia Opinion Summary: Farm Family Casualty Insurance Company (“Farm Family”) appealed after the district court granted summary judgment to Nodak Insurance Company (“Nodak”) and denied, in part, summary judgment to Farm Family. This case arose…

E.R.J. v. T.L.B.  
Date: May 9, 2023
Citation: 2023 ND 85
Docket Number: 20220199

Justia Opinion Summary: T.L.B. appealed a district court judgment changing the surname of her child from T.L.B.’s surname to a hyphenated surname under N.D.C.C. § 14- 20-57(7). The child’s hyphenated name combined her father’s and mother’s…

Kutcka, et al. v. Gateway Building Systems, et al.  
Date: May 9, 2023
Citation: 2023 ND 91
Docket Number: 20220257

Justia Opinion Summary: David Kutcka, Tammy Dejno, as personal representative of Austin Dejno’s estate, and Tammy Dejno, as wrongful death plaintiff (collectively, “Plaintiffs”) appealed the dismissal of their negligence claims against Gateway…

Johnson v. City of Jamestown
Date: May 9, 2023
Citation: 2023 ND 87
Docket Number: 20220283
Anderson v. Anderson  
Date: May 9, 2023
Citation: 2023 ND 86
Docket Number: 20220287

Justia Opinion Summary: Wayne Anderson appealed, and Renee Anderson cross-appealed the parties' divorce judgment. The parties raised issues concerning the district court’s marital estate valuation and distribution. Wayne also argued the court…

Legacie-Lowe v. Lowe  
Date: May 9, 2023
Citation: 2023 ND 88
Docket Number: 20220314

Justia Opinion Summary: Jerome Lowe, Jr. appealed the grant of a domestic violence protection order, arguing the district court erred in granting the order and failed to make sufficient findings to enable the North Dakota Supreme Court to…

North Dakota v. Walsh  
Date: May 9, 2023
Citation: 2023 ND 89
Docket Number: 20220327

Justia Opinion Summary: Matthew Walsh appealed an amended criminal judgment entered against him. In 2021, Walsh was charged with theft of property. Walsh argued the district court did not follow N.D.R.Crim.P. 11(b)(1) and advise him of its…

Nelson v. NDDOT  
Date: May 9, 2023
Citation: 2023 ND 90
Docket Number: 20220355

Justia Opinion Summary: Alexander Nelson appealed a district court judgment affirming the Department of Transportation hearing officer’s decision revoking his driving privileges for two years. After review, the North Dakota Supreme Court…

Gartei v. Gartei
Date: May 9, 2023
Citation: 2023 ND 92
Docket Number: 20220358
Matter of Shane Lance Yates
Date: May 9, 2023
Citation: 2023 ND 93
Docket Number: 20220370
Matter of Amy Jo Yates
Date: May 9, 2023
Citation: 2023 ND 93
Docket Number: 20220371
Falcon v. Knudsen, et al.  
Date: May 9, 2023
Citation: 2023 ND 94
Docket Number: 20220380

Justia Opinion Summary: Michael Knudsen appealed a district court order determining Knudsen did not establish a prima facie case for modification of primary residential responsibility and denying his motion to modify primary residential…

North Dakota v. Frederick  
Date: April 26, 2023
Citation: 2023 ND 77
Docket Number: 20220070

Justia Opinion Summary: Demoris Frederick was convicted by jury of aggravated assault. Frederick argued the district court created a structural error by denying his constitutional right to a public trial, and created a reversible error by…

North Dakota v. Smith  
Date: April 26, 2023
Citation: 2023 ND 82
Docket Number: 20220162

Justia Opinion Summary: Travis Smith was convicted by jury of aggravated assault. Smith argued questions from the State during trial amounted to prosecutorial misconduct and burden shifting. Smith further argued the district court violated his…

Fietzek v. Fietzek  
Date: April 26, 2023
Citation: 2023 ND 78
Docket Number: 20220236

Justia Opinion Summary: Victoria Fietzek and Henry Fietzek cross-appealed a divorce judgment. Victoria argued the district court erred in: (1) its Ruff-Fischer analysis; (2) the distribution of the marital estate; (3) the valuation of the…

The opinions published on Justia State Caselaw are sourced from individual state court sites. These court opinions may not be the official published versions, and you should check your local court rules before citing to them. We make no warranties or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained on this site, or the information linked to on the state site.
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