589 N.W.2d 917 (S.D. 1999), 20538, Case v. Murdock

Docket Nº:20538.
Citation:589 N.W.2d 917, 1999 SD 22
Opinion Judge:[7] The opinion of the court was delivered by: Miller, Chief Justice.
Party Name:Gary CASE, Plaintiff and Appellant, v. Craig MURDOCK, Nancy Murdock, and Sandra McCroden, individually and derivatively as shareholders of Hickok's, Inc., a South Dakota corporation, Defendants and Appellees.
Attorney:[6] Robert F. LaFleur, LaFleur, LaFleur & LaFleur, Rapid City, SD Attorneys for Plaintiff and Appellant. Richard A. Pluimer, Belle Fourche, SD Attorney for Defendants and Appellees.
Case Date:February 24, 1999
Court:Supreme Court of South Dakota
 
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Page 917

589 N.W.2d 917 (S.D. 1999)

1999 SD 22

Gary CASE, Plaintiff and Appellant,

v.

Craig MURDOCK, Nancy Murdock, and Sandra McCroden,

individually and derivatively as shareholders of

Hickok's, Inc., a South Dakota

corporation, Defendants and Appellees.

No. 20538.

Supreme Court of South Dakota.

February 24, 1999

       Considered on Briefs Jan. 14, 1998.

Page 918

       Robert F. LaFleur of LaFleur, LaFleur & LaFleur, Rapid City, South Dakota, for plaintiff and appellant.

       Richard A. Pluimer, Belle Fourche, South Dakota, for defendants and appellees.

       MILLER, Chief Justice.

       ¶1 Gary Case claimed Murdocks and McCroden intentionally interfered with his employment contract and his contract to purchase stock. The trial court granted summary judgment to Murdocks and McCroden, and Gary appeals. We affirm.

       FACTS

       ¶2 The facts surrounding this appeal are fully stated in our opinions in Case v. Murdock, 488 N.W.2d 885 (S.D.1992) and Case v. Murdock, 528 N.W.2d 386 (S.D.1995). However, for purposes of this appeal, a brief review of the pertinent facts is necessary.

       ¶3 Hickok's, a closely held gaming corporation located in Deadwood, South Dakota, was incorporated in November 1989. The board of directors, which at the time consisted of Maxine Case, Judith Sides, Sandra McCroden, and Gary Case, 1 met for the first time on January 4, 1990. At the meeting, the board hired Gary as general manager for a one-year term and agreed that, in the future, he could purchase 400 shares of corporate stock. 2

       ¶4 On March 10, 1990, both a shareholders' meeting and a board of directors' meeting were held. 3 At their meeting, the shareholders approved a requirement restricting membership on the board of directors to shareholders. This action meant that Gary could no longer serve as a director. The shareholders also unanimously elected Maxine, Judith, Bret Hamm, McCroden, and Craig Murdock as directors of the corporation.

       ¶5 The board of directors met immediately following the shareholders' meeting. At the meeting, the board unanimously eliminated the general manager position, which Gary held, and replaced it with a day-shift boss position. The salary and leave provisions of the two positions were identical. Gary was present at the meeting and indicated that this change was acceptable to him.

       ¶6 Apparently by the next morning, he was no longer agreeable to the new arrangement. He informed McCroden that he intended to resign and requested that he be paid the remainder of his contractual salary. However, he did not follow through with the threatened resignation and continued to work until May 10, 1990.

       ¶7 In May 1990, Gary's divorce became...

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