Archive | February, 2018

Cox v. Magers

Cox v. Magers, 2018 MT 21 (Feb. 13, 2018) (Baker, J.) (5-0, aff’d)

Issue: (1) Whether Coxes failed to comply with the judicial process; and (2) whether the district court’s discovery sanctions were overly severe.

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

Affirmed

Facts: Magers was driving in downtown Kalispell when he rear-ended Cox’s car. Magers admitted he was not paying attention. Coxes filed suit against Magers almost three years later, and served the complaint almost three years after that. Ten days after service, Magers mailed discovery requests to the Coxes at their address of record, a post office box in Plains. The next day Magers filed his answer and a motion to change venue, serving both at the same P.O.…

Teton Coop Canal Co. v. Teton Coop Reservoir Co.

Teton Coop Canal Co. v. Teton Coop Reservoir Co., 2018 MT 20 (Feb. 13, 2018) (Baker, J.) (5-0, aff’d)

Issue: Whether the water court erred by (1) apportioning volume limits for Teton Canal’s 1890 water right claims and the junior 1936 Eureka Reservoir claims; (2) removing Eureka Reservoir as storage under the 1890 Notice but allowing Glendora Reservoir’s storage capacity to be added; (3) permitting Teton Canal to store its 1890 direct flow water in the Eureka Reservoir during irrigation season; and (4) allowing Teton Canal a year-round period of diversion for the 1890 Notice.

Short Answer: (1) No, (2) no, (3) no, and (4) no.

Affirmed

Facts: In Teton Canal I, the Court held that (1) the 1890 Notice was specific to the Glendora Canal and Glendora Reservoir; (2) Teton Canal could not claim the Eureka Reservoir under the 1890 Notice; and (3) the Eureka Reservoir could not relate back to the 1921 Notice.…

State v. Ailer

State v. Ailer, 2018 MT 18 (Feb. 6, 2018) (McGrath, C.J.) (5-0, aff’d)

Issue: (1) Whether the district court erred in denying Ailer’s ineffective assistance of counsel claim; (2) whether evidence of Ailer’s wages being garnished is a “bad act” and inadmissible character evidence; and (3) whether substantial evidence supported the district court’s restitution order.

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

Affirmed

Facts: A few weeks after being released to full-duty employment after a car accident, Matthew Ailer filed a work comp claim, reporting that a heavy floor burnisher fell on him as he was lifting it into his work truck. A coworker, Russell, and Ailer’s fiancée were with Ailer when the accident occurred, and took him to the hospital.…

State v. Jeffries

State v. Jeffries, 2018 MT 17 (Feb. 6, 2018) (McKinnon, J.) (5-0, aff’d)

Issue: Whether the municipal court a used its discretion by denying Jeffries’ motion to exclude breath evidence.

Short Answer: No.

Affirmed

Facts: Jeffries was stopped by Missoula police early one morning while driving with no tail lights. Jeffries’ vehicle had a large portion of its front bumper missing, only one working headlight, and was dripping fluid. Investigation revealed recent property damage along Jeffries’ route with pieces of her vehicle left behind. The officer noticed Jeffries’ speech was slurred. Jeffries admitted to having two or three mixed drinks several hours earlier. A second police officer also noticed Jeffries’s speech was slurred and that her eyes were bloodshot, she was unsteady on her feet, and her breath smelled strongly of alcohol.…

State v. Porter

State v. Porter, 2018 MT 16 (Feb. 6, 2018) (Baker, J.; Sandefur, J., specially concurring) (6-0, aff’d)

Issue: (1) Whether the testimony from an emergency room physician regarding the victim’s statements made during her examination violated Porter’s rights under the Confrontation Clause; and (2) whether the district court abused its discretion in determining the ER physician’s testimony was an exception to hearsay under M.R.Evid. 803(4), as statements made for medical diagnosis or treatment.

Short Answer: (1) No, and (2) no.

Affirmed

Facts: Belgrade police took Michelle Allen to the emergency room in August 2014 after she reported being assaulted the night before by Porter. She had a black eye and bruises on her neck, face, and arms. At the hospital, Allen signed a medical release form authorizing the hospital to release her health information to the police.…