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Arnone v. City of Bozeman

Arnone v. City of Bozeman, 2016 MT 184 (Aug. 2, 2016) (Shea, J.) (5-0, aff’d)

Issue: (1) Whether the district court erred in denying Arnone’s motion for summary judgment and dismissing their complaint; and (2) whether the district court erred in denying Arnone’s motion for reconsideration.

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


Facts: The Bozeman City Commissioner adopted a nondiscrimination ordinance in June 2014 that prohibits discrimination by landlords, providers of public accommodations, or parties engaged in real estate transactions on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. It creates a private cause of action for an aggrieved party claiming a violation of one of its provisions, and authorizes the Bozeman Municipal Court to fashion civil remedies, including injunctive relief.…

Rimrock Chrysler, Inc. v. State

Rimrock Chrysler, Inc. v. State, 2016 MT 165 (July 12, 2016) (Baker, J.) (5-0, aff’d & rev’d)

Issue: (1) Whether the district court erred by assuming subject matter jurisdiction to review Lithia Motors’ administrative protest; and (2) whether the district court erred by dismissing Rimrock’s petition for judicial review on the grounds of mootness.

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

Affirmed (1), reversed (2), and remanded

Facts: Lithia Motors bought a Dodge franchise in Billings in 2003. At the time, Dodge was a division of Chrysler, LLC (Old Chrysler). Old Chrysler filed for bankruptcy in April 2009. AS part of its restructuring, Old Chrysler rejected 789 existing dealer agreements, including Rimrock’s in May 2009. Most of Old Chrysler’s assets were sold to Chrysler Group, LLC (New Chrysler.…

Gateway Village v. DEQ

Gateway Village v. DEQ, 2015 MT 285 (Sept. 29, 2015) (McGrath, C.J.) (5-0, aff’d & rev’d)

Issue: (1) Whether the district court erred in its ruling on Gateway Village’s trespass claim and in declining to address the district’s claim that it holds a prescriptive easement under Gateway Village’s land; and (2) whether the district court abused its discretion in denying Gateway Village’s claim for attorneys’ fees.

Short Answer: (1) Neither of these issues are ripe for adjudication in light of the district court’s remand to DEQ for preparation of an EIS; and (2) no.

Vacated (1), affirmed (2), and remanded

Facts: Montana DEQ granted Gallatin Gateway County Water & Sewer District a wastewater discharge permit allowing the District to discharge up to 50,000 gallons of treated domestic wastewater each day into an underground mixing zone underneath land owned by Gateway Village.…

Murray v. Motl

Murray v. Motl, 2015 MT 216 (July 28, 2015) (Cotter, J.; McKinnon, J., concurring) (7-0, aff’d)

Issue: Whether the district court erred in dismissing Murray’s declaratory relief action for lacking a justiciable controversy.

Short Answer: No.


Facts: Murray was an unsuccessful candidate for the Montana Legislature in the June 2010 primary. On Dec. 18, 2013, the Commissioner of Political Practices issued a decision finding sufficient evidence Murray had violated Montana’s campaign practice laws and that civil adjudication was warranted. The commissioner forwarded the decision to the Lewis & Clark county attorney for consideration, and the county attorney waived his right to participate.

In January 2014, Murray filed an action for declaratory relief in Gallatin County, where he resides, seeking a determination that the commissioner violated § 13-37-124, MCA, when he referred the sufficiency decision to the Lewis & Clark county attorney rather than the Gallatin county attorney.…