Archive | May, 2013

Marriage of Schwartz and Harris

Marriage of Schwartz and Harris, 2013 MT 145 (May 30, 2013) (5-0) (Rice, J.)

Issue: (1) Whether the district court erred by valuing the estate as of 2009 rather than 2002, when the parties separated; (2) whether the district court erred in its valuation of the Grizzly Security business; (3) whether the district court erred by failed to award Greg an offset credit for $400,000 paid to Jean while they were separated; and (4) whether the district court erred by ordering Greg to pay Jean $1.259 million without providing a method of payment.

Short Answer: (1) No; (2) no; (3) yes; and (4) yes.

Affirmed in part, reversed in part & remanded

McDunn v. Arnold

McDunn v. Arnold, 2013 MT 138 (May 28, 2013) (5-0) (McGrath, C.J.)

Issue: (1) Whether the district court properly allowed McDunns to amend their complaint and add a new claim; (2) whether the district court properly denied Arnold’s motion in limine to prohibit reference to the testimony and evidence presented in the justice court; and (3) whether Arnold was denied her right to a trial de novo.

Short Answer: (1) Yes; (2) yes; and (3) no.

Affirmed

State v. King

State v. King, 2013 MT 139 (May 28, 2013) (5-0) (Wheat, J.)

Issue: (1) Whether the district court properly excluded evidence of justifiable use of force as a defense to the charge of deliberate homicide, and (2) whether the district court’s exclusion of evidence of the victim’s mental health history violated King’s Sixth and Fourteenth Amendment rights.

Short Answer: (1) Yes, and (2) no.

Affirmed

Molnar v. Fox

Molnar v. Fox, 2013 MT 132 (May 15, 2013) (5-0) (Rice, J.)

Issue: (1) Whether Fox had standing to file an ethics complaint against Molnar; (2) whether Molnar received unlawful gifts; (3) whether Molnar improperly used state facilities for political purposes; and (4) whether the penalty statute for ethics violation is unconstitutionally vague.

Short Answer: (1) Yes; (2) yes; (3) yes; and (4) no.

Affirmed

In re the Marriage of Pfeifer

In re the Marriage of Pfeifer, 2013 MT 129 (May 14, 2013) (4-1) (McGrath, C.J., for the majority; Rice, J., dissenting)

Issue: (1) Whether the district court erred by requiring Phillip to pay child support beyond the parties’ child’s 18th birthday; and (2) whether the district court should have applied the doctrine of equitable estoppel to preclude Susan’s claim for back child support.

Short Answer: (1) No, and (2) no, overruling Marriage of Shorten, 1998 MT 267.

Affirmed

State v. Beach

State v. Beach, 2013 MT 130 (May 14, 2013) (4-3) (Rice, J., for the majority, joined by Baker, J. McKinnon, J. and Dist. Judge Richard Simonton; McKinnon, J. concurring separately; Morris, J., dissenting, joined by Wheat, J., and Cotter, J.)

Issue: Whether the district court erred in concluding that Beach was entitled to a new trial because he had demonstrated his actual innocence.

Short Answer: Yes.

Reversed