PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — A circuit judge was wrong to dismiss a lawsuit that a co-owner of a now-shuttered Sioux Falls pet-grooming business brought against her co-owner and sister, according to the South Dakota Supreme Court.
Ronita Mach, an owner of Wags West, sued Toni Connors, but Circuit Judge John Pekas dismissed the case. In a decision publicly released Thursday, the state’s high court ruled unanimously that the circuit judge erred.
Justice Patricia DeVaney wrote the court’s opinion. The court agreed with the judge that Mach couldn’t sue Connors, but the court overruled the judge and said Wags West could proceed with the lawsuit.
Mach and Wags West alleged that Connors committed a breach of the duty of loyalty, a breach of the duty of care, conversion and unjust enrichment.
Wrote Justice DeVaney, “In particular, as alleged in the complaint, Connors began operating a company that provides the exact same services as Wags West before Wags West wound up its business. Further, the complaint alleges that Connors began operating this company, Dirty Dog Spa, LLC, out of the same leased commercial space in which Wags West had been operating since Connors and Mach formed the company in 2016. Therefore, it can be reasonably inferred that Dirty Dog Spa, LLC began servicing Wags West customers.”