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Great Falls Clinic v. Mont. Eighth Jud. Dist. Court

Great Falls Clinic v. Mont. Eighth Jud. Dist. Court, 2016 MT 245 (Oct. 4, 2016) (McGrath, C.J.) (7-0, petition granted, aff’d)

Issue: Whether the Wrongful Discharge from Employment Act (WDEA) applies to the parties’ relationship.

Short Answer: No.

Affirmed

Facts: Lisa Warrington was offered a job at Great Falls Clinic on October 7, 2014, while she was employed by Benefis Hospital. Warrington accepted the offer and gave two weeks’ notice to Benefis. Warrington signed a written employment contract on October 10, with both parties agreeing her employment would begin October 27, 2014. On October 24, Warrington’s last day at Benefis, the clinic called and told Warrington it would not employ her after all.

Warrington sued the clinic for breach of contract, promissory estoppel and bad faith.…

McColl v. Lang

McColl v. Lang, 2016 MT 255 (Oct. 11, 2016) (McGrath, C.J.) (5-0, aff’d)

Issue: (1) Whether the district court abused its discretion in granting Lang’s motion to exclude certain evidence, and (2) whether the district court abused its discretion in denying McColl’s motion to exclude the testimony of Lang’s expert witness.

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

Affirmed

Facts: Lang is a licensed naturopathic physician. McColl saw Lang in 2012 and discussed a blemish on her nose that she wished to remove. A month later, McColl returned to Lang’s office where he applied black salve, an escharotic agent, to the blemish on McColl’s nose. Lang sent her home with instructions to return. A few days later, McColl returned and Lang reapplied black salve.…

Parker v. Safeco Insurance Co.

Parker v. Safeco Insurance Co., 2016 MT 173 (July 19, 2016) (McGrath, C.J.) (5-0, aff’d)

Issue: Whether the district court erred in construing Parker’s insurance policy as excluding coverage for damage caused by a large rock falling down a hillside into Parker’s cabin. 

Short Answer: No.

Affirmed 

Facts: In March 2014, a large boulder dislodged from a hillside and fell down the hill into Parker’s unoccupied cabin, causing substantial damage. Parker submitted a claim to his insurer, Safeco.…

State v. Kasparek

State v. Kasparek, 2016 MT 163 (July 12, 2016) (McGrath, C.J.) (5-0, aff’d)

Issue: (1) Whether the district court erred in denying Kasparek’s motion to suppress evidence obtained pursuant to a search warrant, and (2) whether the district court erred in denying Kasparek’s motion to suppress statements he made while in custody.

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

Affirmed

Facts: In August 2013, Deputy Sheriff Stokes responded to a report of a burglary at a residence in Browning. The owner, Judy Como, had been at work from 7 pm-7 am, and told the officer her house had been burglarized while she was gone. Several items were missing, including her estranged husband Spencer Atchley’s drug test results. The front door showed signs of forced entry.…

State v. Charlo-Whitworth

State v. Charlo-Whitworth, 2016 MT 157 (June 28, 2016) (McGrath, C.J.) (5-0, aff’d)

Issue: Whether the district court erred in not giving the defendant’s proposed jury instruction on accomplice liability.

Short Answer: No.

Affirmed 

Facts: Riley Charlo-Whitworth and Alexis Paul lived together with Paul’s 2-year-old child, MP. One evening in January 2013, Whitworth drove Paul to work around 7 pm, then returned home with MP. He put MP to bed around 8:30 pm, but the child awoke crying around 10 pm. Whitworth grew frustrated and shoved the child into a wall, spanked him and hit him. Because MP was bleeding, Whitworth gave him a bath.…

Zabrocki v. Teachers’ Retirement System

Zabrocki v. Teachers’ Retirement System, 2016 MT 146 (June 14, 2016) (McGrath, C.J.) (5-0, aff’d)

Issue: Whether the district court erred in affirming he decision of the Teachers retirement Board denying motions for summary judgment and remanding for an evidentiary hearing.

Short Answer: No.

Affirmed

Facts: Edward Zabrocki began receiving Teachers Retirement System (TRS) benefits in 2007. In February 2012 TRS notified him that he did not qualify for those benefits and must reimburse TRS for the amounts it paid. Zabrocki requested an administrative review, and the TRS Board concurred. In January 2013 Zabrocki requested a contested case hearing with TRS.

TRS appointed a hearing examiner, who issued a scheduling order. In August 2013,before the hearing was held, Zabrocki and TRS filed summary judgment motions.…

State v. Colvin

State v. Colvin, 2016 MT 129 (May 31, 2016) (McGrath, C.J.) (4-0, aff’d)

Issue: Whether the district court erred in dismissing the charge against Colvin based on his claim that the state failed to preserve exculpatory evidence.

Short Answer: No.

Affirmed

Facts: The state charged Colvin with attempted deliberate homicide in the September 4, 2014 shooting of Michael Aja. At the time of the incident, Aja was sitting his Jeep. Colvin claimed he was holding the pistol inside the driver’s side window when it accidentally fired and hit Aja.

On the day of the shooting, law enforcement seized and impounded Aja’s Jeep. As the case developed, the position of the pistol and its distance from the victim because important issues.…

In re the Parenting of CMR

In re the Parenting of CMR, 2016 MT 120 (May 24, 2016) (McGrath, C.J.) (5-0, aff’d)

Issue: (1) Whether the district court erred in denying father’s motion to change venue; (2) whether the district court erred in granting mother’s motion to dismiss the modification of the parenting plan; and (3) whether the district court violated father’s due process rights.

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

Affirmed

Facts: CMR was born in November 2009 to Ray and Amber. They lived together until May 2010, and have been litigating the terms of their parenting plan as CMR has gotten older. Amber is CMR’s primary care provider. The parents signed a mediation parenting plan in February 2015, which is the basis of this appeal.…

Pacific Hide & Fur Depot v. Emineth Custom Homes, Inc.

Pacific Hide & Fur Depot v. Emineth Custom Homes, Inc., 2016 MT 114 (May 17, 2016) (McGrath, C.J.) (5-0, aff’d & rev’d)

Issue: Whether the district court properly entered judgment following the jury’s verdict. 

Short Answer: No. It erred in assuming Pacific was entitled to a refund of its down payment.

Affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded

Facts: Pacific put a warehouse construction and office/shop remodeling project out for bid in 2011, and awarded the contract to Emineth as the low bidder. An unsuccessful bidder threatened to cancel a rail siding lease if Emineth were allowed to proceed, and Pacific revoked the contract with Emineth. Shortly thereafter Pacfici entered into two contracts with Emineth, one for renovating the office/shop and one to build employee housing.…

Peretti v. State Dept. of Revenue

Peretti v. State Dept. of Revenue, 2016 MT 105 (May 10, 2016) (McGrath, C.J.) (5-0, rev’d)

Issue: (1) Whether the district court erred in reversing the State Tax Appeal Board’s valuation order; (2) whether the district court erred in awarding administrative trial costs to the taxpayers; and (3) whether the district court erred in ordering DOR to return all taxes paid under protest. 

Short Answer: (1) Yes; (2) yes; and (3) yes.

Reversed with instructions to reinstate the STAB valuation order

Facts: Perettis own Flathead Lake property with lake frontage. DOR appraised the property in 2012, based on market value in July 2008, and Perettis appealed to the county board. The county board reduced the appraised values from $1,356,201 to $1,192,500 for the land, and $166,980 to $125,000 for the improvements.…