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Schweitzer v. City of Whitefish

Schweitzer v. City of Whitefish, 2016 MT 254 (Oct. 11, 2016) (Rice, J.) (5-0, aff’d)

Issue: Whether the district court erred by granting summary judgment on the basis of claim preclusion.

Short Answer: No.


Facts: Warren Schweitzer and Ingela Schnittger (Owners) own two lots in a Whitefish subdivision adjacent to Whitefish Lake, which the city of Whitefish has annexed. Owners have owned the property for several years. In 2005, Owners decided to tear their home down and build a new house. Their plans called for replacing the existing septic tank and drain field. Owners were advised they could hook up to the city water and sewer if their property was annexed into Whitefish. Owners successfully petitioned to be annexed in 2005.…

State v. Montgomery

State v. Montgomery, 2016 MT 169 (July 12, 2016) (Cotter, J.) (5-0, aff’d)

Issue: Whether the district court erred in denying Montgomery’s motion to vacate his conviction and dismiss all charges.

Short Answer: No, because Montgomery has made these same claims repeatedly, and is therefore barred under the doctrine of res judicata from raising them again.


Facts: Montgomery pled no contest to felony incest and was given a 20-year suspended sentence in 2004. In 2006 he was charged with numerous felony count of sexual abuse and sexual assault of four children. He pled guilty to two counts of felony sexual assault in exchange for the dismissal of the remaining counts and withdrawal of a persistent felony offender designation. In January 2007, the district court sentenced Montgomery to 20 years in Montana State Prison with 10 years suspended for each felony, to run consecutively with the sexual assault convictions.…

Asarco, LLC v. Atlantic Richfield Co.

Asarco, LLC v. Atlantic Richfield Co., 2016 MT 90 (April 12, 216) (Baker, J.) (5-0, aff’d)

Issue: Whether the district court correctly held that claim preclusion bars Asarco’s claims.

Short Answer: Yes.


Facts: Atlantic Richfield (AR) sold a zinc fuming plant and related property in East Helena to Asarco in 1972. In the sales agreement, AR agreed to indemnify Asarco for liabilities arising out of AR’s operations at the site, and to deliver all relevant documents to Asarco. It also represented and warranted that it had delivered all information required by the disclosure clause.

In 1984, the property and surrounding area were designated a Superfund site under CERCLA. The EPA identified both AR and Asarco as potentially responsible parties, ultimately determining that Asarco was obligated to pay for the cleanup.…

Estate of Kinnaman v. Mountain West Bank

Estate of Kinnaman v. Mountain West Bank, 2016 MT 25 (Feb. 2, 2016) (Cotter, J.) (5-0, aff’d)

Issue: (1) Whether the district court erred in grating Mountain West’s motion to change venue; (2) whether the district court erred in granting summary judgment to Mountain West on all claims; (3) whether the district court abused its discretion in taking judicial notice of the record in previous actions; and (4) whether the district court abused its discretion in denying the estate’s Rule 60(b) motion to vacate the summary judgment order.

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


Facts: This is the third of three lawsuits stemming from a condominium development at Hauser Lake. The first resulted in a final judgment that was not appealed, and the second was resolved in 2013 MT 99.…