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
Wald v. Wald  
Date: July 30, 2020
Citation: 2020 ND 174
Docket Number: 20190159

Justia Opinion Summary: Donna Wald appealed an amended divorce judgment valuing and distributing hers and Gerard Wald’s marital property. She also appealed a postjudgment order denying her motion for contempt or redistribution of property. Afte...

Sorum, et al. v. North Dakota, et al.  
Date: July 30, 2020
Citation: 2020 ND 175
Docket Number: 20190203

Justia Opinion Summary: The Plaintiffs, in their individual capacities and on behalf of similarly situated taxpayers, sought declaratory relief regarding chapter 61-33.1, N.D.C.C., relating to the ownership of mineral rights in lands subject to...

Krile v. Lawyer  
Date: July 30, 2020
Citation: 2020 ND 176
Docket Number: 20190367

Justia Opinion Summary: Robyn Krile appealed from a district court order granting defendant Julie Lawyer’s motion to dismiss under N.D.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). In February 2017, Assistant State’s Attorney Julie Lawyer received an anonymous letter con...

North Dakota v. Greenshields  
Date: July 27, 2020
Citation: 2020 ND 173
Docket Number: 20190393

Justia Opinion Summary: The State of North Dakota appealed dismissal of its criminal complaint against Jerome Greenshields with prejudice. In February 2018, the State charged Greenshields with one count of sexual assault occurring in 1997 and o...

Hess Bakken Investments II, et al. v. AgriBank, et al.  
Date: July 23, 2020
Citation: 2020 ND 172
Docket Number: 20190352

Justia Opinion Summary: Hess Bakken Investments II, LLC; Arkoma Drilling II, L.P.; and Comstock Oil & Gas, LP, (together the “Hess Group”) appealed an order and judgment dismissing their claims against AgriBank, FCB; Intervention Energy, LLC; a...

State v. Banyee
Date: July 22, 2020
Citation: 2020 ND 157
Docket Number: 20180251
McCormick, et al. v. Fredericks  
Date: July 22, 2020
Citation: 2020 ND 161
Docket Number: 20190254

Justia Opinion Summary: Terrance Fredericks appealed a district court judgment ordering him to pay more than $1,000,000 in damages to McCormick, Inc.; Native Energy Construction, LLC; and Northern Improvement Company. McCormick and Northern Imp...

Fredericks, et al. v. Vogel Law Firm, et al.  
Date: July 22, 2020
Citation: 2020 ND 171
Docket Number: 20190272

Justia Opinion Summary: Terrance Fredericks appealed a district court order dismissing his lawsuit against the Vogel Law Firm and its attorneys Monte Rogneby and Maurice McCormick, McCormick Inc., and Northern Improvement Company. In the earlie...

Interest of K.V.  
Date: July 22, 2020
Citation: 2020 ND 169
Docket Number: 20190275

Justia Opinion Summary: In early 2019, Devils Lake Police Officer Gilbertson was dispatched on a report of a possibly impaired driver. Gilbertson pulled the vehicle over and as he reached the back of the vehicle, the vehicle fled the scene. Gil...

Holter v. City of Mandan  
Date: July 22, 2020
Citation: 2020 ND 152
Docket Number: 20190277

Justia Opinion Summary: Deborah Holter appealed a district court judgment dismissing her appeal of the Mandan Board of City Commissioners’ decision to specially assess her property for street improvements. In July 2017, the Mandan Special Asses...

North Dakota v. Scott  
Date: July 22, 2020
Citation: 2020 ND 160
Docket Number: 20190317

Justia Opinion Summary: Richard Scott was convicted by jury of solicitation of a minor and child neglect. Scott argued the district court erred when it did not instruct the jury on the defense of double jeopardy. He also argues the court erred...

North Dakota v. Helm  
Date: July 22, 2020
Citation: 2020 ND 155
Docket Number: 20190325

Justia Opinion Summary: Steven Helm appealed after he was found guilty of driving under the influence, a fourth offense in fifteen years. He argued the State failed to present evidence on the second essential element that he was under the influ...

Norby v. Hinesley, et al.  
Date: July 22, 2020
Citation: 2020 ND 153
Docket Number: 20190337

Justia Opinion Summary: Aimee Norby and Robert Hinesley were the parents of a child born in 2012. In 2014, Norby filed and served a complaint seeking primary residential responsibility over the child. Norby was awarded primary residential respo...

Interest of Skorick  
Date: July 22, 2020
Citation: 2020 ND 162
Docket Number: 20190349

Justia Opinion Summary: Edward Skorick appealed from a district court order civilly committing him as a sexually dangerous individual. In September 2018, the State petitioned to have Skorick civilly committed. Two experts, Dr. Richard Travis an...

City of Jamestown v. Schultz  
Date: July 22, 2020
Citation: 2020 ND 154
Docket Number: 20190359

Justia Opinion Summary: Carlin Schultz appealed a criminal judgment entered following his conditional guilty plea to the charge of driving under the influence. Schultz entered a conditional guilty plea preserving his right to challenge the deni...

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.