Archive | May, 2015

Estate of Quirin

Estate of Quirin, 2015 MT 132 (May 19, 2015) (Wheat, J.) (5-0, aff’d)

Issue: (1) Whether the district court properly confirmed probate of the 2010 will; and (2) whether the district court erred by issuing an order inconsistent with the pretrial order.

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

Affirmed

Facts: Violet Quirin died on Jan. 10, 2011, and was survived by two adult daughters, Mavoureen Speiser and Cathie Schmiedeke. Quirin executed three wills – on Nov. 16, 2005, March 1, 2007, and June 23, 2010. In the first two wills, Quirin divided her property equally between her daughters, but in the 2010 will she gave them nothing, instead dividing her estate among friends and charitable organizations.

Quirin drafted the 2010 will with attorney Nancy Moe.…

Hansen Trust v. Ward

Hansen Trust v. Ward, 2015 MT 131 (May 19, 2015) (McGrath, C.J.) (5-0, aff’d)

Issue: (1) Whether the district court properly granted summary judgment and declared the tax deed void; (2) whether the district court properly directed payment of Hansen Trust’s tax lien; and (3) whether the district court properly denied Hansen Trust’s post-judgment motions.

Short Answer: (1) Yes; (2) yes; and (3) yes.

Affirmed

Facts: Dale Tarbet sold two lots in Anaconda to Michael Ward in 2007. Ward executed a promissory note to Tarbet and secured the transaction with a Montana Trust Indenture, which was recorded in April 2007. Under the Trust Indenture, Ward was the owner and taxpayer, Tarbet was the beneficiary, and Montana Abstract & Title was the trustee.…

Meek v. Montana Eighth Judicial District Court

Meek v. Montana Eighth Judicial District Court, 2015 MT 130 (May 13, 2015) (McGrath, C.J.; McKinnon, J., dissenting) (6-1, supervisory control granted)

Issue: Whether the district court properly granted a defense motion in limine to restrict the medical damages evidence admissible at trial, and properly granted summary judgment against Meek on that issue.

Short Answer: No.

Writ of supervisory control granted

Facts: Judy Meek died in January 2012 after a fall at a business in November 2011. Sharon Meek, the PR of Judy’s estate, brought suit against the business where the fall happened, seeking damages for survival and wrongful death.

Between the time of the fall and Judy’s death, Judy’s medical providers billed $197,154 for her care. Judy had Medicare coverage, with supplemental coverage through BC/BS.…

Gazelka v. St. Peter’s Hospital

Gazelka v. St. Peter’s Hospital, 2015 MT 127 (May 12, 2015) (Baker, J.) (4-1, aff’d & rev’d)

Issue: (1) Whether the district court properly held that Gazelka had standing; and (2) whether the district court properly awarded the hospital summary judgment.

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

Affirmed (1) and reversed (2) and remanded

Facts: Gazelka was involved in a car accident in early 2010, and had no health insurance. She received treatment at the hospital. The driver of the car that hit her had a Safeco policy with $100,000 policy limits. Safeco paid for some of Gazelka’s medical bills. When it settled for the policy limits, the Ridley payments were deducted from the settlement funds Gazelka received.

In early 2011, Gazelka was treated at the hospital, and uninsured.…

Marriage of Sampley

Marriage of Sampley, 2015 MT 121 (May 5, 2015) (Wheat, J.) (5-0, aff’d)

Issue: (1) Whether the district court by refusing to hold a hearing prior to issuing its order; and (2) whether the district court erred by deciding it lacked jurisdiction over the parenting and custody issues.

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

Affirmed

Facts: Matthew and Michelle Sampley married in January 2010 in Canada, and moved to Alaska in October 2010. Cael was born in Alaska in 2011. The family moved to Washington in October 2011, and to Billings in September 2013.

In October 2013, Michelle and Cael moved to Canada to stay with Michelle’s parents. They extended their stay until the end of December 2013. Matthew visited them in Canada for five days in November and 10 days in December.…

Whitehall Wind, LLC, v. Montana Public Service Commission

Whitehall Wind, LLC, v. Montana Public Service Commission, 2015 MT 119 (May 5, 2015) (Baker, J.) (5-0, rev’d)

Issue: Whether the district court properly reversed the PSC’s determination that Whitehall had not established a legally enforceable obligation to deliver energy to Northwestern.

Short Answer: No.

Reversed and remanded for reinstatement of the PSC’s June 2012 order

Facts: Federal law requires large electric utilities to buy available energy from qualifying facilities, which may provide energy, capacity or both pursuant to a contract or a legally enforceable obligation. Montana law requires the PSC to set rates and conditions if a qualifying small power production facility and a utility are unable to mutually agree to a contract for the sale of electricity.

Whitehall Wind is a qualifying facility, and Northwestern is a public utility subject to the PSC’s jurisdiction.…

Beach v. State

Beach v. State, 2015 MT 118 (May 5, 2015) (Baker, J.; McKinnon, J., concurring: Wheat, J., dissenting; Shea, J., dissenting; Cotter, J. dissenting) (4-3, petition denied)

Issue: Whether Barry Beach’s sentence of 100 years without the possibility of parole is unconstitutional under Miller v. Alabama, 132 S. Ct. 2455 (2012).

Short Answer: No.

Petition for writ of habeas corpus denied

Facts: Beach was convicted of deliberate homicide in 1984 for a crime committed in 1979, when Beach was 17. The district court imposed the maximum sentence of 100 years without the possibility of parole. The record does not show that the court expressly considered Beach’s youth when imposing the sentence.

Procedural Posture & Holding: Beach petitions for a writ of habeas corpus, arguing that his sentence is unconstitutional under Miller v.