Archive | July, 2013

Harrington v. The Crystal Bar

Harrington v. The Crystal Bar, 2013 MT 209 (July 30, 2013) (5-0) (Rice, J.)

Issue: (1) Whether the district court properly granted summary judgment to the Crystal Bar on Harrington’s negligence claim, and (2) on Harrington’s dram shop claim.

Short Answer: (1) No, and (2) yes.

Affirmed in part, reversed in part, & remanded

Fisher v. State Farm

Fisher v. State Farm, 2013 MT 208 (July 30, 2013) (7-0) (Rice, J.)

Issue: Whether the district court properly granted summary judgment to the plaintiffs on the basis that the family member exclusion in the plaintiffs’ umbrella policy was unconscionable.

Short Answer: No. A household exclusion in an umbrella policy does not violate Montana public policy, and the plaintiffs did not meet their burden of proving unconscionability.

Reversed

Dvorak v. State Fund

Dvorak v. State Fund, 2013 MT 210 (July 30, 2013) (5-2) (Cotter, J., for the majority, Rice, J., dissenting)

Issue: Whether the Workers’ Compensation Court properly granted summary judgment to the State Fund after concluding Dvorak’s claim for occupational disease benefits was barred by the 12-month statute of limitations in § 39-71-601(3), MCA.

Short Answer: No.

Reversed and remanded

Harris v. St. Vincent Healthcare

Harris v. St. Vincent Healthcare, 2013 MT 207 (July 25, 2013) (5-0) (Cotter, J.; McKinnon, J., concurring)

Consolidated appeal with Harris v. Billings Clinic

Issue: Did the district court err in dismissing the plaintiffs’ breach of contract and constructive fraud claims for failure to state a claim?

Short Answer: No.

Affirmed

State v. Hammer

State v. Hammer, 2013 MT 203 (July 23, 2013) (5-0) (Wheat, J.)

Issue: (1) Whether the district court sufficiently inquired into Hammer’s pretrial complaint about his counsel; (2) whether the district court erred in denying Hammer’s motion for a new trial; and (3) whether the district court erred in assessing fees, costs, and surcharges when those amounts were not orally pronounced.

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

Affirmed and remanded to conform written judgment to oral sentence

Jonas v. Jonas

Jonas v. Jonas, 2013 MT 202 (July 23, 2013) (5-0) (Wheat, J.)

Issue: (1) Whether the district court erred by denying Edwin’s motion to set aside the charging order and the appointment of the receiver; and (2) whether Linda is entitled to fees and costs under M.R. App. P. 19(5).

Short Answer: (1) No, and (2) yes.

Affirmed & remanded for attorneys’ fees and costs

In the Matter of JW

 In the Matter of JW, 2012 MT 021 (July 23, 2013) (5-0) (Rice. J.)

Issue: (1) Whether the district court erred in failing to conduct a stand-alone hearing on whether DHHS should be required to make reasonable efforts to reunite Mother and JW; (2) whether the district court erred in failing to conduct a permanency plan hearing; and (3) whether the district court erred in concluding that the circumstances regarding Mother’s prior terminations in Colorado were relevant to her parenting of JW.

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

Affirmed

State v. Sullivant

State v. Sullivant, 2013 MT 200 (July 23, 2013) (5-0) (McGrath, C.J.)

Issue: (1) Whether the “remainder of the probation sentence” includes the period during which the defendant absconded from probation; (2) whether the district court should hold an evidentiary hearing on the reasons for Sullivant’s absconding; and (3) whether the re-imposition of fines and fees varied from the original sentence and should be stricken.

Short Answer: (1) No; (2) this was not raised below, and the Court declines to invoke plain error review; and (3) no.

Affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded

In re the Marriage of Parker

In re the Marriage of Parker, 2013 MT 194 (July 16, 2013) (5-0) (McKinnon, J.)

Issue: (1) Whether the district court properly excluded Jim’s interest in his mother’s trust from the marital estate; (2) whether the parties entered into a post-nuptial agreement; (3) whether the district court equitably distributed the marital estate; and (4) whether Jim is entitled to attorney’s fees and costs on appeal.

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

Affirmed

Facts: Beth and Jim married in June 1999. At the time, Beth owned her own home and lived there with her two minor children from a previous marriage. No children were born to the parties during their marriage.

In December 2001, the parties sold Beth’s home and moved into a house Jim bought.…