Casillas v. Schubauer, No. 23773.

CourtSupreme Court of South Dakota
Writing for the CourtSabers
Citation714 N.W.2d 84,2006 SD 42
Docket NumberNo. 23773.
Decision Date26 April 2006
PartiesRamona CASILLAS and Delora Stickelman, Plaintiffs and Appellants, v. Ted SCHUBAUER, Defendant and Appellee.
714 N.W.2d 84
2006 SD 42
Ramona CASILLAS and Delora Stickelman, Plaintiffs and Appellants,
v.
Ted SCHUBAUER, Defendant and Appellee.
No. 23773.
Supreme Court of South Dakota.
Considered on Briefs March 20, 2006.
Decided April 26, 2006.

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COPYRIGHT MATERIAL OMITTED

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Charles Abourezk of Abourezk & Zephier Rapid City, SD, for plaintiffs and appellants.

Sara L. Larson, Michael M. Hickey of Bangs, McCullen, Butler, Foye and Simmons, Rapid City, SD, for defendant and appellee.

SABERS, Justice.


[¶ 1.] Ramona Casillas (Casillas) and Delora Stickelman (Stickelman) were injured when Casillas' vehicle collided with an eighteen-hundred pound Black Angus bull (the black bull) owned by Ted Schubauer (Schubauer). Casillas and Stickelman brought a negligence action against Schubauer. After discovery, Schubauer filed a motion for summary judgment. The circuit court granted the motion. Casillas and Stickelman appeal. We reverse and remand for trial.

FACTS

[¶ 2.] Casillas and Stickelman reside in North Platte, Nebraska. On May 30, 2002, they drove to Mission, South Dakota, to attend the graduation of Casillas' grandson. Later that evening, Casillas and Stickelman left Mission and began traveling south on South Dakota Highway 83 towards North Platte. Stickelman was driving Casillas' vehicle.

[¶ 3.] At approximately 11:00 p.m., they suddenly came upon the black bull which

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was standing on the highway. Stickelman attempted to swerve but was unable to avoid hitting the black bull. The vehicle was totally destroyed and Casillas and Stickelman suffered extensive personal injuries.

[¶ 4.] Sometime between 7:30 and 8:00 the following morning, Schubauer noticed that the black bull was missing from the corral outside of his home. He searched his property and came upon the accident scene where he saw blood on the highway. Schubauer found the black bull lying on the ground. The black bull had skin missing from one of its legs, but was able to walk back to the corral.

[¶ 5.] Casillas and Stickelman brought a negligence action against Schubauer seeking to recover damages for the injuries sustained. Schubauer denied any negligence.

[¶ 6.] Claris Young (Young) submitted an affidavit on behalf of Casillas and Stickelman. Young stated that at approximately 6:30 p.m. on the evening of the accident, she saw the black bull on Highway 83. Specifically, Young stated that several cars had to slow down and swerve to avoid hitting the black bull. Then, while driving home from work, Young witnessed Casillas and Stickelman's accident and assisted them until the paramedics arrived at the scene.

[¶ 7.] Schubauer testified via deposition. He testified that on the day of the accident he placed the black bull with another bull and some cattle in a small corral. The corral was located near Schubauer's residence. The fence surrounding the corral was an assortment of stockade panels, wood, and barbed wire. Schubauer testified that he and his son diligently maintain the fences and gates and that they were not in a state of disrepair on the day of the accident.

[¶ 8.] Schubauer did not recall whether he checked on the black bull after it had been put in the corral. He did not find any damaged fence or open gates the following morning. However, this was not the first occasion the black bull escaped from one of Schubauer's corrals. A few years earlier, Schubauer put the black bull and another bull in one of his corrals. The two bulls started fighting and the black bull broke through the fence, but apparently did not reach the highway.

[¶ 9.] After discovery was complete, Schubauer made a motion for summary judgment. A hearing was held on May 27, 2005. The circuit court granted Schubauer's motion. The court ruled that there was no direct or circumstantial evidence that the escape of the bull "was occasioned by any acts of negligence" on the part of Schubauer.

[¶ 10.] Schubauer made a motion requesting the circuit court award disbursements under SDCL 15-17-37. The disbursements requested included fees for computerized legal research. Casillas' counsel objected to the motion, stating, "I have never been able to get [computerized legal research expenses] in any court in South Dakota, because it is not specifically in the statute." The court taxed disbursements in favor of Schubauer in the amount of $905.67, including the computerized legal research expenses.

[¶ 11.] Casillas and Stickelman raise the following issues:

1. Whether the circuit court erred in granting summary judgment in favor of Schubauer on the negligence claim.

2. Whether the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur precluded the circuit court from granting summary judgment in favor of Schubauer.

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3. Whether the circuit court erred in taxing disbursements in favor of Schubauer.

Standard of Review

[¶ 12.] "Summary judgment is authorized if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Krier v. Dell Rapids Township, 2006 SD 10, ¶ 12, 709 N.W.2d 841, 844-45 (citing SDCL 15-6-56(c)). We view all reasonable inferences derived from the facts in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Id. The moving party must clearly show the absence of any genuine issue of material fact and entitlement to judgment as a matter of law. In re Estate of Shuck v. Perkins County, 1998 SD 32, ¶ 6, 577 N.W.2d 584, 586. "Once we determine that the material facts are undisputed, our review is limited to whether the law was correctly applied." Krier, 2006 SD 10, ¶ 12, 709 N.W.2d at 845 (citing Schulte v. Progressive N. Ins. Co., 2005 SD 75, ¶ 5, 699 N.W.2d 437, 438).

1. Summary Judgment

[¶ 13.] Summary judgment is generally not feasible in negligence cases. Satterlee v. Johnson, 526 N.W.2d 256, 258 (S.D.1995); Zeeb v. Handel, 401 N.W.2d 536, 537 (S.D.1987); Lalley v. Safway Steel Scaffolds, Inc., 364 N.W.2d 139 (S.D.1985). "It is only when the evidence is such that reasonable [persons] can draw but one conclusion from the facts and inferences that they become a matter of law and this occurs rarely." Id. (quoting Lamp v. First Nat'l Bank of Garretson, 496 N.W.2d 581 (S.D.1993)); see also Wilson v. Great N. Railway Co., 83 S.D. 207, 157 N.W.2d 19, 22 (1968) (noting that summary judgment should not be granted on claims of contributory negligence except in "extraordinary, unusual, or rare case[s] where the facts are conceded or demonstrated beyond reasonable question and show a right to summary judgment with such clarity as to leave no room for controversy"). The burden remains with the moving party to clearly show an absence of any genuine issue of material fact and an entitlement to judgment as a matter of law. State Dept. Revenue v. Thiewes, 448 N.W.2d 1, 2 (S.D. 1989).

[¶ 14.] Even though summary judgment is rare in negligence cases, we have held that the determination of whether a duty exists is a question of law for the courts. Bordeaux v. Shannon County Schools, 2005 SD 117, ¶ 11, 707 N.W.2d 123, 126. The inquiry involves whether "a relationship exists between the parties such that the law will impose upon the defendant a legal obligation of reasonable conduct for the benefit of the plaintiff." Estate of Shuck, 1998 SD 32, ¶ 8, 577 N.W.2d at 586. "Landowners have a duty of care regarding their roaming animals." Atkins v. Stratmeyer, 1999 SD 131, ¶ 23, 600 N.W.2d 891, 898. Once the duty is determined, whether...

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18 practice notes
  • First American Bank v. Farmers State Bank, No. 24638.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of South Dakota
    • August 13, 2008
    ...Schools, 2005 SD 117, ¶ 11, 707 N.W.2d 123, 126). Whether a duty exists is a question of law reviewed de novo. Casillas v. Schubauer, 2006 SD 42, ¶ 14, 714 N.W.2d 84, 88 (citing Bordeaux, 2005 SD 117, ¶ 11, 707 N.W.2d at [¶ 14.] 1. Whether the circuit court correctly held that First America......
  • Meinen v. Godfrey Brake Serv. & Supply, Inc., CIV. 10-5077-JLV
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of South Dakota
    • March 26, 2012
    ...sparingly and only when the facts and demands of justice make its application essential." Casillas v. Schubauer, 2006 S.D. 42, ¶ 24, 714 N.W.2d 84, 90 (quoting Wuest v. McKennan Hosp., 2000 S.D. 151, ¶ 18, 619 N.W.2d 682, 688). The case of Shipley v. City of Spearfish, 89 S.D. 559, 235 N.W.......
  • Dehaven v. Hall, No. 24261.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of South Dakota
    • July 2, 2008
    ...Zahn, 2000 SD 26, ¶ 57, 605 N.W.2d at 834. 11. City of Aberdeen v. Rich, 2003 SD 27, ¶ 29, 658 N.W.2d 775, 783. 12. Casillas v. Schubauer, 2006 SD 42, ¶ 28, 714 N.W.2d 84, 13. Genetics Research v. J K Mill-Iron Ranch, 535 N.W.2d 839, 846 (S.D. 1995) (also concluding that the expenses are no......
  • Decker v. Deerfield Hutterian Brethren Inc., 1:16-CV-01008-CBK
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. District of South Dakota
    • March 10, 2017
    ...plaintiff.' " First Am. Bank & Trust, N.A. v. Farmers State Bank of Canton, 756 N.W.2d 19, 26 (S.D. 2008) (quoting Casillas v. Schubauer, 714 N.W.2d 84, 88 (S.D. 2006)). "A duty can be created by statute or common law." Highmark Federal Credit Union v. Hunter, 814 N.W.2d 413, 415 (S.D. 2012......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
18 cases
  • First American Bank v. Farmers State Bank, No. 24638.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of South Dakota
    • August 13, 2008
    ...Schools, 2005 SD 117, ¶ 11, 707 N.W.2d 123, 126). Whether a duty exists is a question of law reviewed de novo. Casillas v. Schubauer, 2006 SD 42, ¶ 14, 714 N.W.2d 84, 88 (citing Bordeaux, 2005 SD 117, ¶ 11, 707 N.W.2d at [¶ 14.] 1. Whether the circuit court correctly held that First America......
  • Meinen v. Godfrey Brake Serv. & Supply, Inc., CIV. 10-5077-JLV
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of South Dakota
    • March 26, 2012
    ...sparingly and only when the facts and demands of justice make its application essential." Casillas v. Schubauer, 2006 S.D. 42, ¶ 24, 714 N.W.2d 84, 90 (quoting Wuest v. McKennan Hosp., 2000 S.D. 151, ¶ 18, 619 N.W.2d 682, 688). The case of Shipley v. City of Spearfish, 89 S.D. 559, 235 N.W.......
  • Dehaven v. Hall, No. 24261.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of South Dakota
    • July 2, 2008
    ...Zahn, 2000 SD 26, ¶ 57, 605 N.W.2d at 834. 11. City of Aberdeen v. Rich, 2003 SD 27, ¶ 29, 658 N.W.2d 775, 783. 12. Casillas v. Schubauer, 2006 SD 42, ¶ 28, 714 N.W.2d 84, 13. Genetics Research v. J K Mill-Iron Ranch, 535 N.W.2d 839, 846 (S.D. 1995) (also concluding that the expenses are no......
  • Decker v. Deerfield Hutterian Brethren Inc., 1:16-CV-01008-CBK
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. District of South Dakota
    • March 10, 2017
    ...plaintiff.' " First Am. Bank & Trust, N.A. v. Farmers State Bank of Canton, 756 N.W.2d 19, 26 (S.D. 2008) (quoting Casillas v. Schubauer, 714 N.W.2d 84, 88 (S.D. 2006)). "A duty can be created by statute or common law." Highmark Federal Credit Union v. Hunter, 814 N.W.2d 413, 415 (S.D. 2012......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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