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In re Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana, Inc.

In re Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana, Inc., 2016 MT 121 (May 24, 2016) (Cotter, J.) (5-0, aff’d)

Issue: (1) Whether objector Laura Fortune waived her right on appeal to object to the settlement; (2) whether objector Kevin Budd has standing to object to the settlement agreement; (3) whether the district court abused its discretion in certifying this matter as a class action; (4) whether the district court abused its discretion in approving the settlement agreement; and (5) whether the district court erred by allowing individual settlements.

Short Answer: (1) Yes; (2) no; (3) no; (4) no; and (5) no.

Affirmed

Facts: Claimants assert that while they were insured by Blue Cross Blue Shield (now Caring for Montanans, Inc.) or Montana Comprehensive Health Association (MCHA), they submitted claims that the insurers denied based on policy exclusions that were subsequently disapproved by the Montana Commissioner of Insurance.…

Roose v. Lincoln County Employee Group Health Plan

Roose v. Lincoln County Employee Group Health Plan, 2015 MT 324 (Nov. 17, 2015) (Wheat, J.; McKinnon, J., dissenting) (4-1, aff’d)

Issue: (1) Whether the district court abused its discretion in certifying the proposed class; and (2) if the class was properly certified, whether the district court abused its discretion by defining the class over broadly.

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

Affirmed

Facts: Kent Roose was severely injured in a car accident in October 2007. The other driver, Stearns, was killed in the accident; his negligence is undisputed. Stearns’ liability insurance carrier tendered the limit of its coverage to Roose, and Stearns’ estate also paid Roose; however, these payments did not cover Roose’s $320,000 medical bill from Kalispell Regional Hospital.…

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.…

Worledge v. Riverstone Residential Group, LLC

Worledge v. Riverstone Residential Group, LLC, 2015 MT 142 (May 26, 2015) (Baker, J.) (5-0, aff’d)

Issue: (1) Whether the district court abused its discretion by admitting new evidence submitted with Plaintiffs’ reply brief; and (2) whether the district court properly certified Plaintiffs’ class under Rule 23(a); and (3) Rule 23(b)(3).

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

Affirmed

Facts: Appellants Creekside, Wildlflower, Shiloh Glen and Mullan (Owners) own multi-unit apartment buildings in Missoula and Billings. Appellant Riverstone and its predecessor, HSC, managed Owners’ apartment complexes during the relevant times. Appellees are current or former tenants of Owners’ apartment complexes who signed leases for their apartments through Riverstone (Tenants).

In June 2013, Tenants filed a complaint on behalf of themselves and other unnamed plaintiffs who entered into rental agreements with Riverstone to rent apartments at Owners’ complexes.…