Archive | April, 2017

Belanus v. Potter

Belanus v. Potter, 2017 MT 95 (April 26, 2017) (Wheat, J.) (5-0, aff’d)

Issue: (1) Whether the district court correctly concluded that Belanus’s claim is barred by the statute of limitations; (2) whether the district court correctly concluded that Belanus’s claim is barred by res judicata; and (3) whether the district court abused its discretion in finding Belanus to be a vexatious litigant and issuing a pre-filing order against him.

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

Affirmed

Facts: Belanus was convicted in June 2009 of aggravated kidnapping and sexual intercourse without consent of his then-girlfriend, TC. A key piece of evidence was a taped telephone conversation that occurred a few months before the assault in which a drunken Belanus threatened TC with death and bodily injury.…

Matter of Estate of Edwards, 2017 MT 93 (April 25, 2017) (Baker, J.) (5-0, aff’d & rev’d)

Issue: (1) Whether the district court erred in appointing a neutral personal representative; (2) whether the district court abused its discretion in evidentiary rulings at trial; (3) whether substantial credible evidence supported the jury’s findings that the 2012 will and the 2012 trust were procured by undue influence, fraud, or duress; (4) whether the district court erred in refusing to admit the 2010 will to probate or to enforce the 2010 trust after the jury’s verdict; and (5) whether the district court erred in refusing to award Verone attorney fees and certain costs.

Short Answer: (1) No; (2) no; (3) yes; (4) yes; and (5) yes.…

Blaine County v. Stricker

Blaine County v. Stricker, 2017 MT 80 (April 11, 2017) (Baker, J.) (5-0, aff’d and rev’d)

Issue: (1) Whether Judge Sherlock correctly concluded that the commission improperly modified the hearing officer’s findings; and (2) whether Judge Reynolds correctly concluded that Judge Sherlock erred.

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

Affirmed and reversed

Facts: Allen Longsoldier, Jr., an 18-year-old Native American, died from delirium tremens while in custody at the Hill County Detention Center. Longsoldier’s estate brought this case from the Human rights Bureau, alleging discrimination on the basis of race and disability. The hearing officer concluded the counties had not discriminated against Longsoldier. The estate appealed to the Human Rights Commission, which found clear error in the findings and concluded the counties had discriminated and remanded to the hearing officer to determine the appropriate relief.…