Articles Posted in North Dakota Supreme Court

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According to the complaint, Dustin Limberg sought emergency department care and treatment at Sanford Medical Center Fargo. He did not have insurance and was asked to sign, and did sign, Sanford's "Statement of Financial Responsibility and Release of Information" form ("the contract"). After receiving his bill for the visit, Limberg filed a class action lawsuit seeking a declaratory judgment that Sanford's billing practices were unfair, unconscionable, or unreasonable because the contract contained an "open price" term. He claimed the term "all charges" as referenced in the Sanford contract was ambiguous and he and the class were liable to Sanford only for the reasonable value of the treatment and services provided to them. Sanford moved for dismissal, which the district court granted. Limberg appealed. On appeal, he argued the district court should not have dismissed the case. Because the district court appropriately dismissed the case, the Supreme Court affirmed the judgment. View "Limberg v. Sanford Medical Center Fargo" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff Bruce Roger Mills, individually and on behalf of those similarly situated, appealed a judgment that dismissed his claims against the City of Grand Forks to recover the amount of fines and fees collected in the past for noncriminal traffic violations by the City exceeding the amount the City could legally impose under state law. The City cross-appealed that judgment. In 2004, a Grand Forks police officer cited Plaintiff with careless driving. Under Grand Forks City Code, the maximum fine for violation of a noncriminal offense was $1,000 "in the discretion of the court." Plaintiff pled not guilty and proceeded to trial in municipal court. Plaintiff was found guilty. The municipal court imposed against Plaintiff "a fine in the amount of $151 with $0 suspended" and a hearing fee of $15. Plaintiff appealed to district court for a new trial; the court affirmed the conviction and the fine and fees totaling $166. Plaintiff appealed to the Supreme Court, but on December 1, 2004, the Court dismissed the appeal because the district court judgment was "not appealable under N.D.C.C. 39-06.1-03(5)." On August 16, 2010, Plaintiff brought a "Class Action Complaint for Restitution" in state district court seeking the amount of monies paid to Grand Forks exceeding the state law limits for fines for similar state offenses. Plaintiff asserted the excess fines, fees and charges were "involuntary and void." The City argued Plaintiff's claims were precluded by both res judicata and collateral estoppel based on the prior federal court action, and by res judicata because Mills failed to challenge the City's fine scheme in the 2004 state court proceedings. Because the district court correctly ruled Plaintiff's claims were thus barred by res judicata, the Supreme Court affirmed the judgment. View "Mills v. City of Grand Forks" on Justia Law