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Johnson Abdallah Wins Landmark Constitutional Victory in South Dakota Supreme Court

May 1, 14

Johnson, Abdallah, Bollweg & Parsons, LLP is pleased to announce that the South Dakota Supreme Court has ruled in favor of one of its pro bono clients in a landmark decision affirming the constitutional right to due process in city administrative hearings.

Sioux Falls resident Dan Daily had challenged the fairness of the administrative appeal procedures employed against him by the City of Sioux Falls. Among other things, Daily believed that the City had improperly placed the burden of proof on him, effectively creating an unconstitutional presumption that a citizen has violated any ordinance for which they have been cited. The City had been unconstitutionally reversing the burden of proof in all administrative proceedings involving its citizens for many years.

After Daily prevailed in circuit court, the City appealed from the order to the South Dakota Supreme Court. Attorney Ron Parsons, head of Johnson Abdallah's appellate department, agreed to represent Daily pro bono, or free of charge, because of the importance of the case to the rights of all South Dakota residents.

Parsons successfully argued the case on behalf of Daily at the State Capitol in Pierre before the South Dakota Supreme Court, which unanimously affirmed the trial court's order finding that the City's procedures violated the constitutional right to due process.

As the Supreme Court explained: "Because the hearing examiner in this case did not hold the City to its burden of proof, the City's administrative appeals process deprived Daily of a protected property interest without due process of law."

As a result of this historic decision, the City Attorney's Office in Sioux Falls has announced that it has already made fundamental changes to revise its administrative appeals process in order to bring it in line with the Supreme Court's decision. And all cities and other local governments in South Dakota will be required to ensure that their administrative procedures comply with constitutional requirements.

"This is a victory for basic fairness and good government," said Parsons. "Dan Daily has done a tremendous service for us all."

Daily v. City of Sioux Falls, South Dakota Supreme Court, App. No. 25715

It is great to work with the attorneys at Johnson, Janklow, and Abdallah. They always provide excellent advice and service that is second to none.

Mike Miller | former NBA player

The lawyers at Johnson, Janklow, and Abdallah are consistently ranked as the top business lawyers in the state. Our business can always count on them to aggressively fight for our rights and provide straight-forward advice on complex issues.

Mark McNeary | Primrose Retirement Communities, LLC

Lawyers from Johnson, Janklow, and Abdallah regularly participate in legal education by judging intramural student skills competitions; helping prepare our nationally competitive litigation skills teams; serving or leading the South Dakota State Bar's Law School Committee; and, from time to time , providing guest lecturers. The Law School is grateful for the generous participation of lawyers like those from Johnson, Janklow, and Abdallah.

Tom Geu | former Dean, USD School of Law