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Borges v. Missoula County Sheriff’s Office

Borges v. Missoula County Sheriff’s Office, 2018 MT 14 (Jan. 30, 2018) (Baker, J.) (5-0, aff’d)

Issue: (1) Whether the district court erred in declining to consider facts that arose after Borges filed his October 31, 2014 HRB complaint; and (2) whether the district court erred in granting the county summary judgment on Borges’ claim that the county failed to engage in an interactive dialogue or to provide a reasonable accommodation.

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

Affirmed

Facts: Borges began working at the detention facility in November 2006, and in 2010 was named outstanding employee of the year. His duties included supervising staff and overseeing juvenile offenders. In April 2014, Borges was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, manifesting as an extreme sensitivity to fragrances.…

Hudson v. Irwin

Hudson v. Irwin, 2018 MT 8 (Jan. 8, 2018) (McGrath, C.J.) (5-0, aff’d)

Issue: (1) Whether the district court erred in concluding Hudsons were not entitled to access an easement on the Irwin property; (2) whether the owner of real property who is establishing a general plan development can create an easement upon the owner’s own parcel; and (3) whether the prevailing party award of attorney fees should be vacated.

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

Affirmed and remanded for determination of fees on appeal

Facts: Hudsons and Irwin own real property adjacent to one another. Before being subdivided by a previous owner, the properties were one parcel. A privately owned public airport is on the Irwin property.…

Zirkelbach Construction, Inc. v. DOWL, LLC

Zirkelbach Construction, Inc. v. DOWL, LLC, 2017 MT 238 (Sept. 26, 2017) (Wheat, J.) (7-0, aff’d)

Issue: Whether the district court erred in granting DOWL’s motion for partial summary judgment.

Short Answer: No.

Affirmed

Facts: SunCap owns real property in Billings on which a FedEx Ground facility was to be built. SunCap hired Zirkelbach, a company with extensive experience building FedEx facilities, as the general contractor. Zirkelbach hired DOWL, an experienced design company, to design the facility.

Zirkelbach and DOWL entered into an agreement under which Zirkelbach would pay DOWL $122,967 for services. The parties later added addenda to the agreement, which raised the final fee to DOWL to $655,000. The agreement included a provision under which both parties waived an special, incidental or consequential damages, and agreed that DOWL’s liability to Zirkelbach would be limited to $50,000.…

Bitterrooters for Planning, Inc. v. Mont. Dept. of Envtl. Quality

Bitterrooters for Planning, Inc. v. Mont. Dept. of Envtl. Quality, 2017 MT 222 (Sept. 5, 2017) (Sandefur, J.) (7-0, aff’d & rev’d)

Issue: (1) Whether MEPA requires DEQ to consider non-water-quality-related environmental impacts of the construction and operation of a retail store as secondary impacts of a groundwater discharge permit for an onsite wastewater treatment system; and (2) whether MEPA requires DEQ to identify the actual owner or operator of a wastewater treatment facility prior to issuing a groundwater discharge permit.

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

Affirmed and reversed

Facts: In April 2014, DEQ received an application for a Montana groundwater pollution control system permit to discharge wastewater into groundwater on the site of a contemplated commercial development near Hamilton.…

Watters v. City of Billings

Watters v. City of Billings, 2017 MT 211 (Aug. 28, 2017) (Rice, J.; Wheat, J., dissenting) (5-2, rev’d)

Issue: Whether the district court erred by holding the CBAs were unambiguous and excluding extrinsic evidence concerning their interpretation.

Short Answer: Yes.

Reversed and remanded

Facts: Officers are current and retired police officers and members of the union, which collectively bargains with the city. The central dispute in this case is the correct interpretation of the longevity pay provisions in the 2000-2003, 2003-2006, and 2006-2009 CBAs.…

Moore v. Goran, LLC

Moore v. Goran, LLC, 2017 MT 208 (Aug. 22, 2017) (McGrath, C.J.) (5-0, aff’d)

Issue: (1)Whether the crushed aggregate material is a “good” under the Uniform Commercial Code, and (2) whether the weight of the material as determined at the seller’s gravel pit formed the basis of payment under the sales contract.

Short Answer: (1) Yes, and (2) yes.

Summary judgment for seller affirmed

Facts: Mark Moore owns a gravel pit north of Red Lodge. Goran, LLC is a Utah company contracted by the Montana DOPT to build the Red Lodge Tied projects. Moore and Goran entered into a contract under which Moore agreed to provide Goran with crushed aggregate material. The parties used Goran’s form contract.…

Matter of the Estate of Engellant

Matter of the Estate of Engellant, 2017 MT 100 (May 2, 2017) (McGrath, C.J.) (5-0, rev’d)

Issue: Whether the District Court erred in granting summary judgment to Kenneth and dismissing the petition for lack of standing.

Short Answer: Yes.

Reversed and remanded

Facts: Petitioners Daren and Kevin Engellant are the sons of Respondent Kenneth Engellant, and nephews of Gregory Engellant. Gregory was permanently disabled in 1982, and Kenneth has been the appointed conservator since 1985. Gregory executed a will in 1978, before his accident, and a second will in 2012. Daren and Kevin and devisees under both wills.…

Belanus v. Potter

Belanus v. Potter, 2017 MT 95 (April 26, 2017) (Wheat, J.) (5-0, aff’d)

Issue: (1) Whether the district court correctly concluded that Belanus’s claim is barred by the statute of limitations; (2) whether the district court correctly concluded that Belanus’s claim is barred by res judicata; and (3) whether the district court abused its discretion in finding Belanus to be a vexatious litigant and issuing a pre-filing order against him.

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

Affirmed

Facts: Belanus was convicted in June 2009 of aggravated kidnapping and sexual intercourse without consent of his then-girlfriend, TC. A key piece of evidence was a taped telephone conversation that occurred a few months before the assault in which a drunken Belanus threatened TC with death and bodily injury.…

Pearson v. McPhillips

Pearson v. McPhillips, 2016 MT 257 (Oct. 11, 2016) (Shea, J.; Cotter, J., dissenting) (4-1, aff’d)

Issue: (1) Whether the district court erred in finding McPhillips and Raulston were not joint venturers, and (2) whether the district court erred in finding that the use of a cutting torch is not an inherently dangerous activity.

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

Affirmed

Facts: James Raulston started a scrap metal business in 2012, which involved him collecting scrap metal from landowners in Toole County and selling it. In February 2012, Raulston approached Scott O’Brien, McPhillips’ son-in-law who helps McPhillips manage her property, and asked if he could remove scrap metal from McPhillips’ property and sell it. O’Brien gave Raulston permission on the condition that Raulston give O’Brien 35% of the proceeds.…

Citizens for a Better Flathead v. Bd. of County Comm’rs

Citizens for a Better Flathead v. Bd. of County Comm’rs, 2016 MT 256 (Oct. 11, 2016) (Baker, J.) (5-0, aff’d)

Issue: (1) Whether the district court erred in striking Citizens’ expert report; (2) whether the district court erred in determining that the Commission substantially complied with the growth policy; (3) whether the district court erred in determining the Commission allowed meaningful public participation; (4) whether the district court erred in determining the Commission adequately incorporated public comments into its decision-making process; and (5) whether the final clause in part 6 of the revised growth policy survives constitutional scrutiny.

Short Answer: (1) No; (2) no; (3) no; (4) no; and (5) yes.

Affirmed

Facts: The Flathead County Commission adopted the original Flathead County Growth Policy in March 2007.…