Stone v. Von Eye Farms, No. 24460.

CourtSupreme Court of South Dakota
Writing for the CourtGilbertson
Citation2007 SD 115,741 N.W.2d 767
Docket NumberNo. 24460.
Decision Date07 November 2007
PartiesJeffrey STONE, Plaintiff and Appellant, v. VON EYE FARMS, Daniel Von Eye, Sr., Individually, and Jamie Von Eye, Individually, Defendants and Appellees, Daniel Von Eye, Jr., Individually, Defendant.
741 N.W.2d 767
2007 SD 115
Jeffrey STONE, Plaintiff and Appellant,
v.
VON EYE FARMS, Daniel Von Eye, Sr., Individually, and Jamie Von Eye, Individually, Defendants and Appellees,
Daniel Von Eye, Jr., Individually, Defendant.
No. 24460.
Supreme Court of South Dakota.
Considered on Briefs on August 27, 2007.
Decided November 7, 2007.

[741 N.W.2d 768]

Laura Koob, Brian L. Radke of Radke Law Offices, P.C., Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Attorneys for plaintiff and appellant.

Timothy A. Clausen of Klass Law Firm, Sioux City, Iowa, Attorneys for defendants and appellees.

GILBERTSON, Chief Justice.


[¶ 1.] On July 19, 2006, in the South Dakota Third Judicial Circuit, Jeffrey Stone (Stone) filed a complaint against Von Eye Farms, Daniel Von Eye, Sr., Daniel Von Eye, Jr., and Jamie Von Eye (collectively "Von Eyes") arising from personal injuries that he received in a farm accident. On September 1, 2006, Von Eyes filed a motion for summary judgment. Stone amended his complaint on November 15, 2006. On December 18, 2006, the circuit court heard the motion. On January 18, 2007, the circuit court issued its letter opinion granting Von Eyes' motion for summary judgment. Judgment for Von Eyes was entered on January 25, 2007. We reverse and remand.

FACTS AND PROCEDURE

[¶ 2.] Von Eyes are engaged in family farming operations in eastern South Dakota. At the time of the incident giving rise to this claim, Stone had been employed by Von Eyes as a farm hand for no less than one year. On November 25, 2005, Stone began work at round 9:30 a.m. At around 12:00 a.m. on November 26, 2005, Stone was returning from the fields and planning to go home after the day's harvesting activities. Stone caught a ride in from the

741 N.W.2d 769

field with Jim Carroll (Carroll). Carroll was operating a Case-IH 7140 tractor and pulling a grain wagon loaded with corn. Carroll was heading to a site where the harvested corn was being transferred from grain wagons to semi-tractor-trailers.

[¶ 3.] When Carroll arrived at the transfer site around midnight, he pulled along side a semi-tractor-trailer in preparation to begin offloading corn. Stone climbed down off the tractor and spoke to Casey Kneebone (Kneebone), who was driving a semi-tractor-trailer rig. After briefly speaking to Stone, Kneebone climbed up the steps of the tractor to talk to Carroll. Unbeknownst to Carroll, Stone remained on the ground standing behind the left, front tire of the Case-IH tractor. Carroll looked behind the tractor and then began to back up, knocking Stone to the ground and driving over his ankle and leg.1 Carroll had moved the tractor about three feet when he heard Stone yell, but by that time Stone had suffered severe physical injury.

[¶ 4.] Stone's July 19, 2006 complaint alleged that Carroll was negligent in the operation of the Case-IH tractor; that said negligence was proximate cause of Stone's injury; and that Von Eyes were liable on a theory of respondeat superior. After Von Eyes moved for summary judgment, Stone amended his complaint on November 15, 2006, alleging that Von Eyes were negligent by not providing a safe work place. Stone's allegation was based on claims that Von Eyes' employees had not received proper training, were not properly supervised, and were required to work under unreasonable working conditions.

[¶ 5.] On December 18, 2006, the circuit court heard Von Eyes' motion and thereafter supplemental materials were filed by the parties. On January 18, 2007, the circuit court issued its letter opinion granting summary judgment for Von Eyes.

[¶ 6.] Stone raises three issues on appeal:

1. Whether the circuit court erred by not submitting to the jury the question of whether Von Eyes were negligent in the nature of the workplace they provided for their employees.

2. Whether the circuit court erred by granting summary judgment based on assumption of the risk, barring recovery for Stone as a matter of law.

3. Whether the circuit court erred by granting summary judgment based on contributory negligence, barring recovery for Stone as a matter of law.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

Summary judgment is properly granted when the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. We will affirm the trial courts grant or denial of a motion for summary judgment when no genuine issues of material fact exist, and the legal questions have been correctly decided. We review the circuit courts conclusions of law under the de novo standard. However, we view all evidence and favorable inferences from that evidence in a light most favorable to the nonmoving party.

A-G-E Corp. v. State, 2006 SD 66, ¶ 13, 719 N.W.2d 780, 785 (internal citations and

741 N.W.2d 770

quotations omitted). "Summary judgment is proper in negligence cases if no duty exists as a matter of law." Bordeaux v. Shannon County Schools, 2005 SD 117, ¶ 11, 707 N.W.2d 123, 126 (citation omitted).

Negligence is the breach of a duty owed to another, the proximate cause of which results in an injury. This Court has repeatedly stated that questions of negligence, contributory negligence and assumption of the risk are for the jury in all but the rarest of cases so long as there is evidence to support the issues. It is only when reasonable men can draw but one conclusion from facts and inferences that they become a matter of law and this rarely occurs.

Pierce v. City of Belle Fourche, 2001 SD 41, ¶ 22, 624 N.W.2d 353, 356-57 (alteration and internal citations and quotations omitted).

ANALYSIS AND DECISION

[¶ 7.] 1. Whether the circuit court erred by not submitting to the jury the question of whether Von Eyes were negligent in the nature of the workplace they provided for their employees.

[¶ 8.] Stone alleged that Von Eyes had a duty to provide a reasonably safe place to work and that they breached this duty by not providing adequate training and supervision for their employees. Stone further alleged that Von Eyes maintained an unsafe working environment by overworking their employees. Von Eyes deny Stone's allegations. The basis underlying their respective positions is contained within the pleadings, answers, admissions, affidavits and discovery contained in the record.

[¶ 9.] Employers have a nondelegable duty to provide their employees with reasonably safe places to work. Smith v. Community Co-op. Ass'n of Murdo, 87 S.D. 440, 444, 209 N.W.2d 891, 893 (1973) (citing Stoner v. Eggers, 77 S.D. 395, 92 N.W.2d 528 (1958)). Inherent to this duty is an obligation that employers provide employees with proper training and supervision. Id. at 444-45, 209 N.W.2d at 893 (citing Restatement, Second, § 492 et seq.; 56 CJS Master and Servant § 186).

[¶ 10.] Von Eyes submitted that they were not unlike other family farming operations in South Dakota with respect to the...

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18 practice notes
  • Janis v. Nash Finch Co., No. 25261.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of South Dakota
    • March 17, 2010
    ...¶ 8. "Negligence is the breach of a duty owed to another, the proximate cause of which results in an injury." Stone v. Von Eye Farms, 2007 SD 115, ¶ 6, 741 N.W.2d 767, 770 (quoting Pierce, 2001 SD 41, ¶ 22, 624 N.W.2d at 356-57). "The existence of a duty owed by the defendant to the plainti......
  • First American Bank v. Farmers State Bank, No. 24638.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of South Dakota
    • August 13, 2008
    ...omitted). "Summary judgment is proper in negligence cases if no duty 756 N.W.2d 26 exists as a matter of law." Stone v. Von Eye Farms, 2007 SD 115, ¶ 6, 741 N.W.2d 767, 770 (quoting Bordeaux v. Shannon County Schools, 2005 SD 117, ¶ 11, 707 N.W.2d 123, 126). Whether a duty exists is a quest......
  • In re Estate of Tank, #28955
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of South Dakota
    • January 22, 2020
    ...be viewed "in a light most favorable to the nonmoving party" at the summary judgment stage. Stone v. Von Eye Farms , 2007 S.D. 115, ¶ 6, 741 N.W.2d 767, 769. Doing so here, we conclude that material issues of fact exist on Sherri’s claim that 2012 will was the product of undue influence, an......
  • Renville v. United States, 1:15-CV-01024-CBK
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of South Dakota
    • April 24, 2017
    ...law defines negligence as "the breach of a duty owed to another, the proximate cause of which results in injury." Stone v. Von Eye Farms, 741 N.W.2d 767, 770 (S.D. 2007). "The existence of a duty owed by the defendant to the plaintiff, which requires the defendant to conform to a certain st......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
18 cases
  • Janis v. Nash Finch Co., No. 25261.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of South Dakota
    • March 17, 2010
    ...¶ 8. "Negligence is the breach of a duty owed to another, the proximate cause of which results in an injury." Stone v. Von Eye Farms, 2007 SD 115, ¶ 6, 741 N.W.2d 767, 770 (quoting Pierce, 2001 SD 41, ¶ 22, 624 N.W.2d at 356-57). "The existence of a duty owed by the defendant to the plainti......
  • First American Bank v. Farmers State Bank, No. 24638.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of South Dakota
    • August 13, 2008
    ...omitted). "Summary judgment is proper in negligence cases if no duty 756 N.W.2d 26 exists as a matter of law." Stone v. Von Eye Farms, 2007 SD 115, ¶ 6, 741 N.W.2d 767, 770 (quoting Bordeaux v. Shannon County Schools, 2005 SD 117, ¶ 11, 707 N.W.2d 123, 126). Whether a duty exists is a quest......
  • In re Estate of Tank, #28955
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of South Dakota
    • January 22, 2020
    ...be viewed "in a light most favorable to the nonmoving party" at the summary judgment stage. Stone v. Von Eye Farms , 2007 S.D. 115, ¶ 6, 741 N.W.2d 767, 769. Doing so here, we conclude that material issues of fact exist on Sherri’s claim that 2012 will was the product of undue influence, an......
  • Renville v. United States, 1:15-CV-01024-CBK
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of South Dakota
    • April 24, 2017
    ...law defines negligence as "the breach of a duty owed to another, the proximate cause of which results in injury." Stone v. Von Eye Farms, 741 N.W.2d 767, 770 (S.D. 2007). "The existence of a duty owed by the defendant to the plaintiff, which requires the defendant to conform to a certain st......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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