Archive | July, 2013

Metro Aviation, Inc. v. United States

Metro Aviation, Inc. v. United States, 2013 MT 193 (July 16, 2013) (7-0) (Cotter, J.)

Issue: The Court answers three certified questions from the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah:
(1) May a person who has settled a claim with a victim bring an action for contribution against a joint tortfeasor under § 27-1-703. MCA, if the victim never filed a court action?
(2) When a defendant in a pending action settled with the plaintiff ahead of trial, does § 27-1-703, MCA, allow the settling defendant to bring a subsequent contribution action against a person who was not a party to the tort action?
(3) Does Montana recognize a common-law right of indemnity where the negligence of the party seeking indemnification was remote, passive, or secondary, compared to that of the party from whom indemnity is sought?…

State v. Champagne

State v. Champagne, 2013 MT 190 (July 16, 2013) (5-0) (Morris, J.)

Issue: (1) Whether the district court properly denied Champagne’s for-cause challenge of a prospective juror; (2) whether Champagne’s counsel provided ineffective assistance; (3) whether the district court properly admitted the forensic interviewer’s testimony; (4) whether the district court properly admitted JB’s prior consistent statements; and (5) whether the district court imposed an illegal sentence.

Short Answer: (1) Yes; (2) the record does not support this claim on direct appeal; it should be brought in a post-conviction proceeding; (3) yes; (4) yes; and (5) no, but future restitution has to be in a specific amount, and is remanded for correction of this issue.

Affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded

State v. Cline

State v. Cline, 2013 MT 188 (July 15, 2013) (5-2) (Morris, J., for the majority; Cotter, J. & McKinnon, J. dissenting)

Issue: Whether the state charge of theft by common scheme was an “equivalent offense” barred by the double jeopardy statute.

Short Answer: No.

Affirmed

In the Matter of DA and MA

In the Matter of DA and MA, 2013 MT 191 (July 16, 2013) (5-0) (Morris, J.)

Issues: (1) Whether DHHS made sufficient efforts under the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) to reunite mother and the children; (2) whether DHHS provided sufficient evidence that reuniting children with mother would cause serious physical or emotional damage to the children; (3) whether the district court properly determined that mother had stipulated to the treatment plan; and (4) whether all stipulations in ICWA involuntary termination proceedings must be in writing.

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

Affirmed

White v. Montana State Fund

White v. Montana State Fund, 2013 MT 187 (July 12, 2013) (4-1) (Baker, J., for the majority; Cotter, J., dissenting on one issue)

Issue: (1) Whether the district court erred in granting the State Fund’s motion to dismiss White’s claims under Montana’s insurance code; and (2) whether the district court erred in granting the State Fund’s motion for summary judgment regarding White’s common-law claims of bad faith, malicious prosecution, and emotional distress.

Short Answer: (1) No, as the State Fund is explicitly not covered by Title 33, and (2) no.

Affirmed

Johnston v. Centennial Log Homes

Johnston v. Centennial Log Homes, 2013 MT 179 (July 8, 2013) (6-1) (Baker, J., for the majority; McKinnon, J., dissenting)

Issue: (1) Whether the district court properly granted summary judgment to Centennial on the basis that Johnstons’ claims were barred by the statute of limitations; (2) whether the release executed by the Leonards is binding on the Johnstons; and (3) whether the district court abused its discretion in granting Johnstons’ motion to dismiss Keeko Log Homes, Ltd. as a defendant.

Short Answer: (1) No, because factual issues regarding Johnstons’ discovery of the defects are in dispute; (2) no, because Johnstons owned 36% of the house at the time of the release and were not parties to the release; and (3) yes, as it did not allow Centennial to file a brief in opposition pror to dismissing Keeko..…

Motta v. Granite County Commissioners

Motta v. Granite County Commissioners, 2013 MT 172 (July 2, 2013) (5-0) (Baker, J.)

Issue: (1) Whether Granite County properly enacted the 2011 Georgetown Lake zoning; (2) whether the district court properly determined that Motta was a vexatious litigant; and (3) whether the district court properly awarded attorneys’ fees to the commissioners.

Short Answer: (1) Yes; (2) yes; and (3) yes, except for the fees expended to prove the reasonableness of the fees.

Affirmed in part and reversed in part