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Buckles v. Continental Resources, Inc.

Buckles v. Continental Resources, Inc., 2017 MT 235 (Sept. 21, 2017) (Shea, J.; McKinnon, J., dissenting) (6-1, rev’d)

Issue: Whether the district court erred by dismissing Buckles’ Complaint on the grounds that Continental Resources is not subject to personal jurisdiction in Montana.

Short Answer: Yes.

Reversed & remanded for an evidentiary hearing on jurisdiction

Facts: On April 28, 2014, Zachary died in North Dakota of exposure to high levels of hydrocarbon vapors while manually gauging crude oil production tanks on Continental’s Columbus Federal 2-16H well site near Alexander, North Dakota. Continental oversees operation of the Columbus Federal 2-16H well site from its corporate office in Sidney, Montana.…

Talbot v. WMK-Davis, LLC

Talbot v. WMK-Davis, LLC, 2016 MT 247 (Oct. 4, 2016) (Cotter, J.; McKinnon, J., dissenting) (6-1, aff’d)

Issue: (1) Whether the district court erred in determining that Montana courts will not conduct a choice of law analysis when determining the validity of a workers’ compensation subrogation lien under Oberson v. Federated Mutual Insur. Co.; and (2) whether the district court erred in grating summary judgment to Talbot.

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

Affirmed

Tyrrell v. BNSF Railway Co.

Tyrrell v. BNSF Railway Co., 2016 MT 126 (May 31, 2016) (Shea, J.; McKinnon, J., dissenting) (6-1, aff’d & rev’d) (consolidated appeals)

Issue: (1) Whether Montana courts have personal jurisdiction over BNSF under FELA, and (2) whether Montana courts have personal jurisdiction over BNSF under Montana law.

Short Answer: (1) Yes, and (2) yes.

Affirmed (denial of BNSF’s motion to dismiss) and reversed (granting BNSF’s motion to dismiss)

Facts: In March 2011, Nelson, a North Dakota resident, sued BNSF in Montana to recover damages for injuries sustained in his employment with BNSF. BNSF is a Delaware corporation with its principal place of business in Texas. Nelson does not allege that he ever worked in Montana or was injured in Montana.…

Curry v. Pondera County Canal & Reservoir Co.

Curry v. Pondera County Canal & Reservoir Co., 2016 MT 77 (March 29, 2016) (Wheat, J.; Baker, J. concurring; McKinnon, J., dissenting) (6-1, aff’d & rev’d)

Issue: (1) Whether the water court erred in holding that the water rights of an entity developed under the Carey Land Act for the purpose of sale or rental are not limited by the stockholders’ actual historic water use; (2) whether the water court erred in granting Pondera a “service area” rather than a place of use based on historically irrigated land; (3) whether the water court erred by ruling Pondera’s storage rights were beneficially used on the Birch Creek Flats before 1973; (4) whether the water court improperly increased the flow rate for the Gray right and improperly reversed the water master’s dismissal of a claim it found was duplicative; and (5) whether the water court’s tabulation for the Curry claim and the Pondera claim without volume measurements was an abuse of discretion.…

Volk v. Goeser

Volk v. Goeser, 2016 MT 61 (March 8, 2016) (Wheat, J.; Rice, J., concurring; Shea, J., concurring; McKinnon, J., dissenting) (6-1, rev’d)

Issue: Whether the district court properly granted summary judgment to Valerie and denied the imposition of a constructive trust on life insurance proceeds in favor of RBV, a minor child.

Short Answer: No.

Summary judgment reversed, remanded to fashion constructive trust

Facts: Roy and Pamela Volk married in April 1996, and had a son, RBV, in 2000. In June 2010, Roy filed for divorce and the district court issued the statutorily mandated summons and TRO. The dissolution decree was entered in December 2011.

Roy and Pamela entered into a marital settlement agreement (MSA) the day before the final decree of dissolution.…

Montana Cannabis Industry Assoc. v. State

Montana Cannabis Industry Assoc. v. State, 2016 MT 44 (Feb. 25, 2016) (Baker, J., for the majority; McKinnon, J., concurring & dissenting; Rice, J., concurring & dissenting; Wheat, J.,concurring & dissenting) (6-1 on 5 of 6 issues; 4-3 on the 6th issue; aff’d & rev’d) (Cotter, J., recused and replaced by District Judge Robert Olson)

Issue: (1) Whether the district court properly held unconstitutional the statutory requirement that DPHHS notify the Board of Medical Examiners of any physician who certifies more than 25 patients a year for medical marijuana; (2) whether the district court properly held unconstitutional (a) the statute’s 3-patient limit and (b) the remuneration restriction; (3) whether the district court properly applied strict scrutiny to the statutory provision prohibiting advertising by medical marijuana providers; (4) whether the district court properly held that the statutory provision prohibiting probationers from becoming registered cardholders for medical marijuana was facially constitutional; and (5) whether the district court properly held constitutional the statutory provision allowing warrantless inspections of medical marijuana providers’ business by DPHHS and law enforcement.…

Westchester Surplus Lines Insurance Co. v. Keller Transport, Inc.

Westchester Surplus Lines Insurance Co. v. Keller Transport, Inc., 2016 MT 6 (Jan. 12, 2016) (Rice, J.; McKinnon, J., dissenting) (6-1, aff’d & rev’d)

Issue: (1) Whether the district court erred in determining Westchester’s excess policy provided an additional $4 million in coverage under the “general aggregate” limit; and (2) whether the district court erred in holding Westchester breached its duty to defend.

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

Affirmed and reversed

Anderson v. BNSF Railway

Anderson v. BNSF Railway, 2015 MT 240 (Aug. 12, 2015) (Shea, J.; Wheat, J., concurring; McKinnon, J., dissenting) (6-1, rev’d)

Issue: (1) Whether the district court erred in allowing the statute of limitations to be decided as a fact question; (1.a) whether the continuing tort doctrine applies to cumulative trauma injuries under FELA; (1.b) whether an employee can recover under FELA for aggravation of a time-barred injury; (1.c) whether non-disabling aches and pains constitute an injury under FELA; and (2) whether counsel for BNSF made improper comments that deprived Anderson of a fair trial.

Short Answer: (1) No; (1.a) no; (1.b) yes; (1.c) no; and (2) yes.

Reversed and remanded for new trial

Facts: Robert Anderson worked for BNSF for more 30 years, primarily as a carman inspecting and repairing railroad cars in Havre.…

Morrow v. Monfric, Inc.

Morrow v. Monfric, Inc., 2015 MT 194 (July 7, 2015) (McKinnon, J.; Cotter, J., concurring; Wheat, J., dissenting) (6-1, aff’d)

Issue: Whether the district court abused its discretion in denying class certification on the grounds that the proposed class was not sufficiently numerous.

Short Answer: No.

Affirmed

Facts: Plaintiffs are laborers who worked on multi-family housing projects I Kalispell. The project owner, Glacier States Associates, hired Monfric, Inc. as the general contractor. Monfric hired subcontractors to perform all labor on the projects. Plaintiffs are employees of those subcontractors. Because the projects were financed with industrial development bonds issued by the city of Kalispell, Montana law requires the contractor to pay prevailing wages. Plaintiff claims the contracts between Monfric and the subcontractors did not include a provision requiring prevailing wages, and further, that they were not paid prevailing wages.…

Spotted Horse v. BNSF R.R. Co.

Spotted Horse v. BNSF R.R. Co., 2015 MT 148 (May 29, 2015) (Cotter, J.; Wheat, J., concurring; McKinnon, J., dissenting) (6-1, rev’d)

Issue: (1) Whether the district court abused its discretion in declining to grant plaintiff’s motion for default judgment based on spoliation of evidence; and (2) whether the district court abused its discretion when instructing the jury as to BNSF’s duty of care.

Short Answer: (1) No, but the sanction it imposed was an abuse of discretion; and (2) yes.

Reversed and remanded for a new trial

Facts: Mark Spotted Horse, a BNSF Railway machinist, claimed that he suffered a disabling injury when his co-worker inadvertently lowered a locomotive engine compartment hatch in his head. Spotted Horse reported the incident and was immediately taken to the hospital.…