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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.…

Borges v. Missoula County Sheriff’s Office

Borges v. Missoula County Sheriff’s Office, 2018 MT 14 (Jan. 30, 2018) (Baker, J.) (5-0, aff’d)

Issue: (1) Whether the district court erred in declining to consider facts that arose after Borges filed his October 31, 2014 HRB complaint; and (2) whether the district court erred in granting the county summary judgment on Borges’ claim that the county failed to engage in an interactive dialogue or to provide a reasonable accommodation.

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

Affirmed

Facts: Borges began working at the detention facility in November 2006, and in 2010 was named outstanding employee of the year. His duties included supervising staff and overseeing juvenile offenders. In April 2014, Borges was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, manifesting as an extreme sensitivity to fragrances.…

State v. Santiago

State v. Santiago, 2018 MT 13 (Jan. 30, 2018) (McKinnon, J.) (5-0, aff’d)

Issue: Whether the district court abused its discretion by giving the deadlocked jury an Allen instruction.

Short Answer: No.

Affirmed

Facts: Santiago was charged with sexual intercourse without consent, plead not guilty, and went to trial. On the last day of trial, after a few hours of deliberations, the jury sent the judge a note saying it was deadlocked 11-1. The state suggested the court give the jury an Allen instruction, otherwise known as a dynamite instruction, which the Montana Supreme Court approved in Norquay. Santiago objected on the grounds that the vote was 11-1, arguing that the Allen instruction would put an extreme undue burden on the one juror.…

State v. Schowengerdt

State v. Schowengerdt, 2018 MT 7 (Jan. 16, 2018) (Shea, J.) (5-0, aff’d)

Issue: (1) Whether the district court erred in ruling Schowengerdt was not entitled to substitution of counsel, and (2) whether Schowengerdt was denied effective assistance of counsel.

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

Affirmed

Facts: Schowengerdt killed his wife by repeatedly stabbing her in their home in December 2012. He drove to the police station the next day and confessed in a recorded statement. Schowengerdt’s attorney filed notice in January 2013 that he might assert a defense of justificable use of force. In April 2013, Schowengerdt decided to plead guilty to deliberate homicide. The district court proceeded through a detailed colloquy during which Schowengerdt indicated the plea was knowing and voluntary, he was satisfied with his attorney’s services, and that he could not “handle” a trial.…

State v. Lerman

State v. Lerman, 2018 MT 5 (Jan. 9, 2018) (Baker, J.) (5-0, aff’d)

Issue: Whether the state presented sufficient evidence to prove the elements of penetration and force in conviction for sexual intercourse without consent.

Short Answer: Yes.

Affirmed

Facts: Kelsey Stoker went to Randall Lerman, a licensed massage therapist in Dillon, for four appointments to help alleviate lower back pain. During her appointments, Stoker left on her undergarments, which included a cap-sleeved undershirt and spandex shorts that went almost to her knees.

At the fourth appointment, Lerman pulled her shorts down to her knees, and pulled her top down, exposing her breasts. He massaged her breasts and nipples, her buttocks, the back of her thighs, and her groin. He then inserted his fingers into Stoker’s vagina, at which point she told him to stop.…

Hudson v. Irwin

Hudson v. Irwin, 2018 MT 8 (Jan. 8, 2018) (McGrath, C.J.) (5-0, aff’d)

Issue: (1) Whether the district court erred in concluding Hudsons were not entitled to access an easement on the Irwin property; (2) whether the owner of real property who is establishing a general plan development can create an easement upon the owner’s own parcel; and (3) whether the prevailing party award of attorney fees should be vacated.

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

Affirmed and remanded for determination of fees on appeal

Facts: Hudsons and Irwin own real property adjacent to one another. Before being subdivided by a previous owner, the properties were one parcel. A privately owned public airport is on the Irwin property.…