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In the Matter of JB, Jr.

In the Matter of JB, Jr., 2016 MT 68 (March 22, 2016) (Rice, J.; McKinnon, J, concurring; Baker, J., dissenting) (5-1, aff’d)

Issue: (1) Whether the district court erred in holding that the treatment plan was appropriate, and (2) whether the district court abuse its discretion in terminating Father’s parental rights.

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

Affirmed

Facts: When JB was just a few weeks old, his parents took him shoplifting. Father was on probation and had two outstanding felony warrants for his arrest. The Department investigated and petitioned for protective services, adjudication of JB as a youth in need of care, and temporary legal custody. JB was placed in foster care with his sibling, EB, and Father was sentenced to 10 years suspended on each of the two outstanding felonies, to run concurrently with another unspecified sentence he was serving.…

Wilkes v. State

Wilkes v. State, 2015 MT 243 (Aug. 18, 2015) (Wheat, J.; Rice, J., concurring; McKinnon, J., dissenting) (5-1, rev’d)

Issue: (1) Whether the district court erred by failing to adequately address Wilkes’s claims for postconviction relief; (2) whether the district court erred by denying Wilkes’s ineffective assistance of counsel claim; and (3) whether the district court abused its discretion by denying Wilkes’s petition before conducting a hearing.

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

Reversed and remanded

Facts: Wilkes’s three-month-old son, Gabriel, died Oct 26, 2008, following hemorrhaging in his head sustained on or before Oct. 4, 2008. According to Wilkes, he put Gabriel to sleep the evening of Oct. 4, 2008 after picking him up from a babysitter.…

A.M. Welles, Inc. v. Montana Materials, Inc.

A.M. Welles, Inc. v. Montana Materials, Inc., 2015 MT 38 (Feb. 10, 2015) (Baker, J.) (5-0, rev’d)

Issue: (1) Whether the district court properly denied summary judgment to Welles, and (2) whether the district court abused its discretion in dismissing the state’s action against Liberty Mutual for failure to prosecute.

Short Answer: (1) No. The judgment is reversed with instructions to enter judgment for Welles. (2) Yes.

Reversed and remanded

Facts: The state contracted with Welles to complete a highway paving project near Ennis in 2000. Welles subcontracted with Montana Materials, Inc., RSJ, Inc., and GLJ, Inc. (“Jensen”). The state and Welles insured the job through Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Co. On Sept. 30, 2000, Jensen applied oil and blotter to the road.…

Newman v. Scottsdale Insurance Co.

Newman v. Scottsdale Insurance Co., 2013 MT 125 (May 7, 2013) (5-1) (Cotter, J., for the majority; Wheat, J., dissenting)

Issue: (1) Whether the district court erred in considering inadmissible evidence and facts beyond the allegations of the complaint in determining that the insurers had a duty to defend; (2) whether the district court erred in finding a duty to defend but not applying the policy exclusions; (3) whether the district court erred in calculating and awarding attorneys’ fees to Newman; and (4) whether the district court erred in finding Montana law controls.

Short Answer: (1) Yes, but it was harmless; (2) no; (3) yes, because it should not have used the contingency fee agreement between Newman and her attorneys as a basis; and (4) no.…