Archive | May, 2013

Newman v. Scottsdale Insurance Co.

Newman v. Scottsdale Insurance Co., 2013 MT 125 (May 7, 2013) (5-1) (Cotter, J., for the majority; Wheat, J., dissenting)

Issue: (1) Whether the district court erred in considering inadmissible evidence and facts beyond the allegations of the complaint in determining that the insurers had a duty to defend; (2) whether the district court erred in finding a duty to defend but not applying the policy exclusions; (3) whether the district court erred in calculating and awarding attorneys’ fees to Newman; and (4) whether the district court erred in finding Montana law controls.

Short Answer: (1) Yes, but it was harmless; (2) no; (3) yes, because it should not have used the contingency fee agreement between Newman and her attorneys as a basis; and (4) no.…

Wheaton v. Bradford

Wheaton v. Bradford, 2013 MT 121 (May 7, 2013) (5-0) (Rice, J.)

Issue: (1) Whether Bradford’s expert was properly allowed; (2) whether Bradford’s expert failed to supplement his disclosure; (3) whether the motion for a new trial should have been granted.

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

Affirmed

Wittich Law Firm, P.C. v. O’Connell

Wittich Law Firm, P.C. v. O’Connell, 2013 MT 122 (May 7, 2013) (4-1) (Wheat, J., for the majority; Baker, J. concurs; Cotter, J., dissents)

Issue: (1) Whether the district court slightly abused its discretion in denying O’Connells’ motion to vacate the default judgment, and (2) whether the law firm was properly awarded attorneys’ fees.

Short Answer: (1) No, as it was untimely under the 2009 Rules of Civil Procedure, and (2) yes, as the contract allowed them.

Affirmed

In re the Marriage of Steab and Luna

In re the Marriage of Steab and Luna, 2013 MT 124 (May 7, 2013) (5-0) (Cotter, J.)

Issue: (1) Whether the district court was required to issue written findings and conclusions to support its order on child support arrearages; (2) whether the district court erred in imposing a 12% annual interest rate on unpaid arrearages; (3) whether the district court erred in not imposing interest on Staeb’s unpaid arrearages, only Luna’s; and (4) whether the district court erred in taking judicial notice of a bankruptcy court order releasing Staeb from marital debt owed to Luna.

Short Answer: (1) No, as it was presented via a motion; (2) yes, as the statutory rate is 10%; (3) yes; and (4) no.…

Bailey v. State Farm

Bailey v. State Farm, 2013 MT 119 (May 2, 2013) (4-2) (Cotter, J., for the majority; Rice, J. & Baker, J., dissenting)

Issue: (1) Whether the district court erred in finding no genuine issues of fact regarding defendants’ duty to procure underinsured motorist coverage for Baileys; and (2) whether the district court erred in failing to recognize and impose a heightened duty beyond a duty to procure requested coverage.

Short Answer: (1) Yes, and (2) the Court declines to address this issue.

Dissents: Justice Rice would conclude that the Baileys did not demonstrate genuine issues of material fact and would affirm. Justice Baker agrees, and writes separately to express her concern that the Court has in fact imposed a heightened duty on an insurance agent despite its claim that it is not addressing this issue.…