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.
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.…