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Johnson v. Penny

Supreme Court of South Dakota
779 N.W. 2d 412 (2010)


Robert Larson (defendant), a farmer, contracted with Michael Johnson (plaintiff) for Johnson to remove rock from Larson’s land in exchange for Johnson receiving the value of the extracted rock. Larson and Johnson subsequently contracted for Johnson to install drain tile in part of Larson’s land, again in exchange for the value of the extracted rock. Johnson removed the rock and installed the drain tile as required by the contracts, extracting 1,100 tons of rock. Johnson only removed between three and five truckloads of the extracted rock. The remainder of the rock was stored on Larson’s land with his permission. All of this occurred in March and April 2005. In August 2006, Larson gave Joel Penny (defendant) permission to remove the rock for free after not having heard from Johnson about the rock despite inquiring about the stockpiles of rock several times and leaving his phone number with Johnson’s bookkeeper. In October 2006, Johnson sent Larson invoices along with a letter reminding Larson of their contract. After not receiving a response, Johnson brought suit against Larson and Penny. The trial court held a hearing on equitable claims and entered a judgment of unjust enrichment against Larson and Penny. The trial court also awarded Johnson the remedy of quantum meruit, or the cost of the benefit. Larson and Penny appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Konenkamp, J.)

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