Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Kettle Butte Trucking LLC v. Kelly

Supreme Court of North Dakota

May 8, 2018

Kettle Butte Trucking LLC, Plaintiff and Appellee
v.
Steven A. Kelly and Spirit Energy LLC, Defendants and Appellants

          Appeal from the District Court of McKenzie County, Northwest Judicial District, the Honorable Robin Ann Schmidt, Judge.

          Christopher K. LeCates (argued) and Timothy D. Lervick (appeared), Bismarck, ND, for plaintiff and appellee.

          Spencer D. Ptacek (argued) and Michael D. Schoepf (on brief), Bismarck, ND, for defendants and appellants.

          OPINION

          Jensen, Justice.

         [¶ 1] Steven Kelly and Spirit Energy LLC (collectively "Spirit") appeal from a district court order holding them in contempt for failing to return leased vehicles to Kettle Butte Trucking ("KBT"). Spirit challenges the district court's underlying order that was alleged to have been violated. Spirit also argues the court did not have jurisdiction to hold it in contempt. We affirm the district court's order holding Spirit in contempt.

         I

         [¶ 2] KBT sued Spirit, alleging Spirit failed to pay numerous lease payments for trucks they leased from KBT. KBT requested the district court enter an order directing Spirit to show cause why KBT should not be entitled to immediate possession of the vehicles, an order granting it immediate possession of the vehicles, and a money judgment for all amounts due under the lease.

         [¶ 3] The district court entered an order to show cause, directing Spirit to show cause why KBT should not be granted immediate possession of the vehicles and why the sheriff of the county or counties in which the vehicles were located should not seize possession. After a hearing, the court ordered Spirit to immediately cease using the vehicles and to immediately make arrangements to deliver possession of the vehicles to KBT. The court further ordered that if Spirit failed to perform either act, the sheriff of the county or counties where the vehicles were located was directed to seize and take immediate possession of the vehicles and deliver them to KBT. Spirit objected to the order, arguing N.D.C.C. ch. 32-07 requires KBT to post bond before obtaining prejudgment possession of the property. The court entered an amended order, further ordering no bond was required to have sheriffs assist in taking possession and delivery of the vehicles to KBT.

         [¶ 4] KBT moved for contempt, arguing Spirit violated the underlying amended order by refusing to make arrangements for delivery of the vehicles. Spirit opposed the motion, arguing the amended order was void for lack of jurisdiction. They claimed the vehicles are stored on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation, Kelly is an enrolled member of the Three Affiliated Tribes, tribal code provides specific procedures for repossession of personal property, and the amended order allows KBT to circumvent tribal law.

         [¶ 5] The district court entered an order to show cause why Spirit should not be held in contempt for failing to obey the court's order. After a hearing, the court concluded it had jurisdiction and found Spirit was in contempt for refusing to return the vehicles. The court ordered Spirit may purge themselves of contempt by delivering the vehicles to KBT within seven days, and ordered Spirit forfeit $100 every day the contempt continued if the property was not delivered within seven days.

         II

         [¶ 6] This Court must have jurisdiction to consider the merits of an appeal. Everett v. State, 2017 ND 93, ¶ 6, 892 N.W.2d 898. "The right to appeal is jurisdictional, and we will consider the appealability of an order on our own initiative even if neither party questions the appealability." Id. (quoting Jordet v. Jordet, 2015 ND 73, ¶ 12, 861 N.W.2d 154). "The right to appeal is purely statutory, and if there is no statutory basis for appeal we must take notice of the lack of jurisdiction and dismiss the appeal." Nygaard v. Taylor, 2017 ND 206, ¶ 8, 900 N.W.2d 833.

         [¶ 7] We have explained the two-step analysis for evaluating appealability:

First, the order appealed from must meet one of the statutory criteria of appealability set forth in NDCC ยง 28-27-02. If it does not, our inquiry need go no further and the appeal must be dismissed. If it does, then [N.D.R.Civ.P. 54(b)], [if applicable, ] ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.