The South Dakota Supreme Court recently reversed a circuit court’s order denying a petition pursuing appointment of a special administrator to seek a wrongful death claim for a deceased man’s estate. The Supreme Court held that the circuit court abused its discretion in failing to address certain discovery motions before deciding a special administrator petition.
After the man in question passed away, the circuit court decided that the deceased man’s surviving wife should function as his estate’s personal representative. The man’s children then petitioned for appointment of a special administrator to seek a wrongful death claim for the deceased man’s estate and later served discovery requests on the surviving wife pursuing information related to the petition. The court then denied the special administrator petition and found that the discovery issues were moot.
The Supreme Court reversed the circuit court’s decision and held that the circuit court gave the man’s children the chance to develop and later present evidence connected to their petition.