In Re Dorsey & Whitney Trust Co. LLC, No. 21623

CourtSupreme Court of South Dakota
Writing for the CourtMILLER, Chief Justice.
Citation2001 SD 35,623 N.W.2d 468
PartiesIn the Matter of the Application of DORSEY & WHITNEY TRUST COMPANY LLC for Organization Certificate Authorizing a Trust Company to Transact Business at 300 North Dakota Avenue, Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
Docket Number No. 21624., No. 21623
Decision Date14 March 2001

623 N.W.2d 468
2001 SD 35

In the Matter of the Application of DORSEY & WHITNEY TRUST COMPANY LLC for Organization Certificate Authorizing a Trust Company to Transact Business at 300 North Dakota Avenue, Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Nos. 21623, 21624.

Supreme Court of South Dakota.

Argued January 9, 2001.

Decided March 14, 2001.


623 N.W.2d 470
Mark Barnett, Attorney General, Diane Best, Assistant Attorney General, Pierre, SD, Attorneys for appellee South Dakota Banking Commission

George N. Manolis, Douglas Kludt of Churchill, Manolis, Freeman, Kludt & Shelton, Huron, SD, Edward J. Pluimer, Minneapolis, MN, Attorneys for appellee Dorsey & Whitney Trust Company.

Jeremiah D. Murphy, Thomas J. Welk of Boyce, Murphy, McDowell & Greenfield Sioux Falls, SD, Attorneys for appellant.

MILLER, Chief Justice.

[¶ 1.] This is an appeal from a circuit court affirmance of the South Dakota Banking Commission's grant of an application to organize and operate a trust company in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. We affirm.

FACTS

[¶ 2.] Dorsey, Whitney, L.L.P., a major law firm in Minneapolis, Minnesota, applied to establish a trust company in South Dakota. First National Bank of Sioux Falls, Rushmore Bank and Trust (Rushmore) and Citicorp Trust South Dakota (Citicorp) objected to Dorsey's application. First National and Citicorp obtained permission to participate in the administrative proceeding. Citicorp, however, did not participate and has not appealed.

[¶ 3.] The Commission held a contested case hearing at which several witnesses for each party testified and were available for cross-examination. The Commission, by a vote of three to two, approved Dorsey's application. First National appealed to the circuit court which affirmed.

DECISION

[¶ 4.] 1. The circuit court correctly applied the clearly erroneous standard.

[¶ 5.] The parties dispute the appropriate standard of review. First National contends the circuit court's clearly erroneous review was error. We discussed

623 N.W.2d 471
the confusing nature of SDCL 1-26-36, which guides an appellate court's choice of standard of review for an administrative agency decision, in Permann v. Department of Labor, 411 N.W.2d 113, 115-17 (S.D.1987). In Permann, we held that, although our case law and the statute had created confusion over the years, common sense dictates that we review findings of fact under the clearly erroneous standard and questions of law under the de novo standard. Id. at 117 (noting the agency's superior position to decide factual questions and an appellate court's superior position to decide legal questions). Additionally, Permann recognized that often review of an administrative agency decision involves mixed questions of law and fact. Id. at 118. When presented with a mixed question, courts apply the clearly erroneous standard if the "analysis is essentially factual, and thus is better decided by the agency or lower court ...," and the de novo standard when the "resolution requires consideration of underlying principles behind a rule of law...." Rios v. Department of Soc. Servs., 420 N.W.2d 757, 759 (S.D.1988)

[¶ 6.] This appeal involves a mixed question of law and fact because "`the historical facts are admitted or established, the rule of law is undisputed, and the issue is whether ... the rule of law as applied to the established facts is or is not [favorably satisfied].'" Permann, 411 N.W.2d at 118 (citing Pullman-Standard v. Swint, 456 U.S. 273, 289 n. 19, 102 S.Ct. 1781, 1790 n. 19, 72 L.Ed.2d 66, 80 n. 19 (1982)). Where the analysis turns on the fact finder's "`experience with the mainsprings of human conduct,'" it is essentially a factual question to which we apply the clearly erroneous standard. Id. at 119 (citing United States v. McConney, 728 F.2d 1195, 1202 (9th Cir.1984). If, however, "the question requires us to consider legal concepts in the mix of fact and law and to exercise judgment about the values that animate legal principles ...," we apply the de novo standard. Id. Considering the factual nature of the inquiry made by the Commission and the factual nature of the arguments in the briefs, we determine this mixed question is essentially factual in nature. See Rios, 420 N.W.2d at 759-60 (applying the clearly erroneous standard where the matter turned on the determination of whether statutory requirements were satisfied). Accordingly, the clearly erroneous standard is appropriate, meaning this Court will not reverse unless "we are definitely and firmly convinced a mistake has been made." Id. at 759 (citing Dakota Harvestore v. South Dakota Dep't of Revenue, 331 N.W.2d 828, 830 (S.D.1983)).

[¶ 7.] 2. The agency's decision is not clearly erroneous in light of the entire record.

[¶ 8.] First National contends that the Commission's findings fail to satisfy SDCL 1-26-25, which requires agencies to provide concise and explicit statements of underlying facts to support findings which are couched in statutory language. First National also argues that Dorsey failed to favorably satisfy the four factors contained in SDCL 51A-6A-5, which provides:

Upon the filing of an application with the commission, the director shall make a careful examination and investigation concerning the following conditions:
(1) The financial standing, general business experience, and character of the organizers and incorporators;
(2) The character, qualifications, and experience of the officers of the proposed trust company;
(3) The public need for the proposed trust company in the community where the trust company has
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17 practice notes
  • North Star Mut. Ins. Co. v. Peterson, No. 24449.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of South Dakota
    • May 7, 2008
    ...of this incident constitute an "auto accident," a question we review de novo. See In re Dorsey & Whitney 749 N.W.2d 541 Trust Co., LLC, 2001 SD 35, ¶ 6, 623 N.W.2d 468, [¶ 40.] More importantly, this Court's appellate findings are untethered to the use of the vehicle at the time of the shoo......
  • Clark County v. Sioux Equip. Corp., No. 24462.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of South Dakota
    • July 2, 2008
    ...... the rule of law as applied to the established facts is or is not [favorably satisfied]." In re Dorsey and Whitney Trust Co., LLC, 2001 SD 35, ¶ 6, 623 N.W.2d 468, 471 (citations omitted). Because the application of a legal test to the historical facts of this case requires us to conside......
  • Stockwell v. Stockwell, No. 25412.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of South Dakota
    • October 13, 2010
    ...are mixed questions of law and fact and require a compound inquiry. See In re Dorsey & Whitney Trust Co., L.L.C., 2001 S.D. 35, ¶ 6, 623 N.W.2d 468, 471 (A mixed question of law and fact is one in which “the historical facts are admitted or established, the rule of law is undisputed, and th......
  • Huether v. Mihm Transp. Co., No. 26784.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of South Dakota
    • December 23, 2014
    ...to the facts of the case. This constitutes a mixed question of law and fact. See In re Dorsey & Whitney Trust Co., 2001 S.D. 35, ¶ 6, 623 N.W.2d 468, 471 (stating a mixed question of law and fact includes one in which “the historical facts are admitted or established, the rule of law is und......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
17 cases
  • North Star Mut. Ins. Co. v. Peterson, No. 24449.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of South Dakota
    • May 7, 2008
    ...constitute an "auto accident," a question we review de novo. See In re Dorsey & Whitney 749 N.W.2d 541 Trust Co., LLC, 2001 SD 35, ¶ 6, 623 N.W.2d 468, [¶ 40.] More importantly, this Court's appellate findings are untethered to the use of the vehicle at the time of the shootin......
  • Clark County v. Sioux Equip. Corp., No. 24462.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of South Dakota
    • July 2, 2008
    ...... the rule of law as applied to the established facts is or is not [favorably satisfied]." In re Dorsey and Whitney Trust Co., LLC, 2001 SD 35, ¶ 6, 623 N.W.2d 468, 471 (citations omitted). Because the application of a legal test to the historical facts of this case requires us to co......
  • Stockwell v. Stockwell, No. 25412.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of South Dakota
    • October 13, 2010
    ...are mixed questions of law and fact and require a compound inquiry. See In re Dorsey & Whitney Trust Co., L.L.C., 2001 S.D. 35, ¶ 6, 623 N.W.2d 468, 471 (A mixed question of law and fact is one in which “the historical facts are admitted or established, the rule of law is undisputed, an......
  • Huether v. Mihm Transp. Co., No. 26784.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of South Dakota
    • December 23, 2014
    ...to the facts of the case. This constitutes a mixed question of law and fact. See In re Dorsey & Whitney Trust Co., 2001 S.D. 35, ¶ 6, 623 N.W.2d 468, 471 (stating a mixed question of law and fact includes one in which “the historical facts are admitted or established, the rule of law is......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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