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Siebken v. Voderberg

Siebken v. Voderberg, 2015 MT 296 (Oct. 13, 2015) (Baker, J.; Cotter, J., concurring) (6-0, aff’d)

Issue: (1) Whether Siebken is entitled to a new trial based on the district court’s admission of a letter regarding Siebken’s medical history and diagnosis; (2) whether Siebken is entitled to a new trial because the district court erroneously instructed the jury on the statute of limitations; and (3) whether substantial evidence supported the jury verdict.

Short Answer: (1) No; (2) the Court declines to review this issue because Siebken did not preserve the issue for appeal; and (3) yes.

Affirmed

Facts: In Siebken I, this Court reversed summary judgment for Voderberg on statute of limitations grounds. On remand, the primary factual dispute at trial was when the three-year statute began to run on Siebken’s negligence claim.…

Reese v. Stanton

Reese v. Stanton, 2015 MT 293 (Oct. 13, 2015) (Rice. J.) (5-0, aff’d & rev’d)

Issue: (1) Whether the district court abused its discretion in admitting into evidence opinions and reports of doctors who did not testify at trial; (2) whether the district court abused its discretion when it excluded evidence of the original charges billed by medical providers; and (3) whether the district court abused its discretion in striking portions of a video deposition as previously undisclosed expert opinion.

Short Answer: (1) yes, and the error affected the outcome of trial; (2) yes, as held in Meek; and (3) no.

Affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded for a new trial

Facts: In November 2009, while working for Montana Coffee Traders, Inc., Robin Reese was injured while riding in a van struck by a bus owned by Harlow’s School Bus Service.…

State v. Pingree

State v. Pingree, 2015 MT 187 (June 30, 2015) (McGrath, C.J.; Baker, J., dissenting) (4-2, rev’d)

Issue: (1) Whether the district court erred in admitting testimony given by Pingree’s wife at an earlier civil order of protection, and (2) whether the error was harmless.

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

Reversed

Facts: In September 2012, the Ravalli County Attorney charged Pingree with felony assault with a weapon and misdemeanor partner/family-member assault, alleging Pingree pointed a gun at his wife and fired it to the left of her head. In October 2012, Pingree’s wife, Caroline, sought an order of protection in Butte, where the parties’ dissolution had been filed. Pingree was at the hearing, although without counsel. He testified but did not contest the order.…

State v. Schwarzmeier

State v. Schwarzmeier, 2015 MT 98 (April 7, 2015) (McGrath, C.J.) (5-0, aff’d)

Issue: Whether admission of a crime lab report showing defendant’s blood alcohol content at .193% violated the Confrontation Clause.

Short Answer: No.

Affirmed 

Facts: Schwarzmeier crashed his motorcycle in July 2013. Trooper Fetterhoff responded, and Schwarzmeier was transported to the hospital, where Fetterhoff performed nystagmus tests, which indicated a high level of intoxication. Schwarzmeier consented to a blood draw, which was sent to the crime lab and showed a BAC of .193.

Schwarzmeier entered a not guilty plea and moved in limine to exclude any reports from the crime lab on the grounds that the state did not provide written notice of its intention to offer the report into evidence as required by M.R.…

In the Matter of IT

In the Matter of IT, 2015 MT 43 (Feb. 17, 2015) (Wheat, J.) (4-0, aff’d)

Issue: (1) Whether the district court abused its discretion when it terminated Mother’s parental rights; (2) whether the district court erred by considering hearsay evidence; and (3) whether there are equitable grounds upon which relief from the district court’s order should be granted.

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

Affirmed

Facts: Mother’s parental rights to three of her four children were terminated in February 2013; the fourth child was born soon thereafter. Mother admits to using drugs, and the baby was placed in neonatal intensive are for drug withdrawal shortly after birth. DPHHS petitioned for emergency protective services for the newborn, which was granted, and the baby was placed in foster care.…