Friday, February 8, 2013

Curley And Rose

The South Dakota Supreme Court remanded a case for a new trial on damages in a case involving the Mulehead Ranch near Bonesteel, South Dakota.

The ranch was "reputed, at one time, to be one of the largest ranches" in the state. It was owned by a childless couple named Hollis "Curley" Haisch and his wife Rose. The lawsuit involved allegations relating to the creation of a trust and, when the couple died, the estate.

The suit alleged that the defendant, the financial advisor to the couple, had breached fiduciary duties as a real estate broker and financial advisor. The jury found for the estate.

The court found that admissible evidence of an offer to buy the ranch was improperly excluded. When a prospective buyer offered to pay the $4.8 million asking price, the defendant fiduciary responded

Oh, God, you don't want to do that. I can get it for you cheaper than that.

The court rejected the contention that an ex parte meeting with plaintiffs' counsel, as well as allegations of bias, required the disqualification of the trial judge. (Mike Frisch)

Judicial Ethics and the Courts | Permalink

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