Donald L. Sweet, Jr. & Preston L. Sweet v. Roy A. St. Pierre & Catherine St. Pierre d/b/a Woodlands Farms, 2018 VT 122 (Vt. Nov. 2, 2018):
Plaintiffs appeal the trial court’s judgment in favor of defendants on plaintiffs’ claim for unpaid wages under the Prompt Pay Act (PPA). Plaintiffs argue that the trial court erred in concluding that no contract existed between the parties as required to support a PPA claim. Defendants cross-appeal, arguing that the court should have awarded them attorney’s fees because they were the substantially prevailing party and erroneously excluded evidence relevant to their assault claim. We affirm the trial court’s decision on the merits, but reverse and remand for it to award reasonable attorney’s fees to defendants.
Plaintiffs, who are father and son, sued defendants in June 2014 alleging that defendants failed to pay them wages for their work improving a stand of maple trees on defendants’ land for maple sugaring (the “sugar bush”). They alleged claims of unjust enrichment and violation of the PPA, 9 V.S.A. §§ 4001-4009. Defendants counterclaimed for fraud, breach of contract, conversion, unjust enrichment, consumer fraud, and assault. Plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed their unjust enrichment claim prior to trial.
RONALD DWIGHT KUNDE, Appellant, v. ESTATE OF ARTHUR D. BOWMAN & DIANE ENGELKINS, Appellees., No. 17-0791, 2018 WL 5730146 (Iowa Nov. 2, 2018): In this case, a farmer sued his neighbor’s heirs, claiming, among other things, that he and the decedent entered into an option contract to purchase farmland that was subject to a written lease and upon which the farmer made substantial improvements at his expense. In the alternative, the farmer sought to recover under various equitable theories of promissory estoppel, quantum meruit, and unjust enrichment.
Don’t Waste Arizona Inc., Plaintiff, v. Hickman’s Egg Ranch Inc., Defendant., No. CV-16-03319-PHX-GMS, 2018 WL 5729411 (D. Ariz. Nov. 2, 2018): Claims by group under CERCLA Laws under EPA, regarding Ammonia release at chicken egg farm.
In Re: Walter Frank Rudolph & Pansy Joan Rudolph, Debtors., No. 18-40423, 2018 WL 5733506 (Bankr. D. Kan. Oct. 30, 2018):
Debtors claimed the full Kansas exemption for tools of the trade, even though during the year before they filed for protection under Chapter 12 they significantly reduced their farming operations. Debtors’ lender who claims a perfected security interest in Debtors’ farm equipment, objects and contends that Debtors have so reduced their operations that they are not entitled to claim the tools of the trade exemption, or, if they are still engaged in farming as their primary occupation, a portion of the property claimed as exempt is not regularly and reasonably used to carry out the remaining farming operations.
The Court found that although Debtors have ceased row crop farming, they are continuing to actively engage in ranching and farming activities such that they are entitled to claim the tools of the trade exemption for farm tools and machinery, and most of the items they claim as exempt tools of the trade are regularly and reasonably necessary to carry out their ranching and farming operations.