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Deschner v. State, Dept. of Highways

Deschner v. State, Dept. of Highways, 2017 MT 37 (Feb. 28, 2017) (Shea, J.) (7-0, aff’d)

Issue: Whether the district court properly instructed the jury on inverse condemnation.

Short Answer: Yes.

Affirmed

Facts: On October 9, 2010, a sandstone slab fell from the Rims that weighed roughly two million pounds and measured approximately sixty feet long, thirty feet wide, and eight feet deep. It fell on Deschner and Lodge’s home and rendered it uninhabitable.

At trial, Deschner and Lodge contended that the State’s construction and placement of Highway 3 and Culvert 239 caused an unnatural increase in the amount of water that ran off the highway onto the rockfall site, ultimately causing the slab to fall onto their home. Deschner and Lodge called two experts who concluded that Culvert 239 increased the amount of water at the fall site, causing the slab to fall.…

Russell v. State

Russell v. State, 2016 MT 69 (March 22, 2016) (McGrath, C.J.; Cotter, J., dissenting) (5-2, aff’d)

Issue: (1) Whether Russell received effective assistance of counsel at trial, and (2) whether Russell received effective assistance of counsel on appeal.

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

Affirmed

Facts: Russell and Spotted Wolf assaulted two men in an alley one night after drinking all day. One of the men died, and the other was seriously and permanently injured. Russell was charged with felony murder, aggravated assault, and accountability for Spotted Wolf’s robbery and aggravated assault. Russell was convicted by a jury in May 2005, and sentenced. Russell appealed and the Court reversed the conviction for aggravated assault against one victim, as it was an included offense of the felony murder conviction.…

Cleveland v. Ward

Cleveland v. Ward, 2016 MT 10 (Jan. 12, 2016) (Shea, J.; Cotter, J., concurring) (7-0, aff’d)

Issue: (1) Whether the district court improperly excluded trial testimony of Cleveland’s treating physician; (2) whether the district court improperly excluded trial testimony of Cleveland’s physical therapist; (3) whether the district court erred in granting a directed verdict on Cleveland’s claim that her rotator cuff tear and shoulder arthritis were caused by the collision; and (4) whether the district court erred in concluding that Cleveland could not recover damages incurred by Shelby House.

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

Affirmed