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Delzer v. United Bank of Bismarck

North Dakota Supreme Court
559 N.W.2d 531 (1997)


Facts

Ray and Betty Jean Delzer (plaintiffs) entered into an oral agreement with United Bank of Bismarck (the Bank) (defendant) in which the Delzers pledged their ranch and other assets in exchange for a $300,000 loan. The Delzers executed a promissory note for an initial loan payment of $150,000. The Bank was then to provide an additional loan payment of $150,000 to the Delzers for the purchase of cattle. The Bank never advanced the additional amount. As a result, the Delzers were unable to pay their debts and lost their ranch when the holder of their first mortgage foreclosed. The Delzers filed suit against the Bank claiming breach of the oral contract and sought punitive damages. A jury held for the Delzers and awarded $538,000 for the Bank’s deceit and $3 million in exemplary damages. The Bank filed a motion for a judgment as a matter of law on the deceit claim which the trial court granted. The Delzers appealed.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Meschke, J.)

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  • A "yes" or "no" answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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