Archive | November, 2015

Whitefish Credit Union v. Prindiville

Whitefish Credit Union v. Prindiville, 2015 MT 328 (Nov. 24, 2015) (Rice, J.) (6-0, aff’d & rev’d)

Issue: (1) Whether the district court erred by holding that a hearing was required as a matter of law to determine the fair market value of the foreclosed property; (2) whether the district court’s valuation of the foreclosed property was supported by credible evidence; and (3) whether the district court erred by improperly admitting evidence at the hearing.

Short Answer: (1) No; (2) the Court does not reach this issue because (3) yes, the district court abused its for a rehearing.

Affirmed & reversed & remanded

Facts: Defendants Prindivilles, Shinns, and Rothschild acquired more than 600 acres of land on Patrick Creek Road with a loan from Whitefish Credit Union for $2.237 million.…

Roose v. Lincoln County Employee Group Health Plan

Roose v. Lincoln County Employee Group Health Plan, 2015 MT 324 (Nov. 17, 2015) (Wheat, J.; McKinnon, J., dissenting) (4-1, aff’d)

Issue: (1) Whether the district court abused its discretion in certifying the proposed class; and (2) if the class was properly certified, whether the district court abused its discretion by defining the class over broadly.

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


Facts: Kent Roose was severely injured in a car accident in October 2007. The other driver, Stearns, was killed in the accident; his negligence is undisputed. Stearns’ liability insurance carrier tendered the limit of its coverage to Roose, and Stearns’ estate also paid Roose; however, these payments did not cover Roose’s $320,000 medical bill from Kalispell Regional Hospital.…

In re the Adoption of PTH

In re the Adoption of PTH, 2015 MT 316 (Nov. 10, 2015) (McGrath, C.J.) (5-0, aff’d)

Issue: (1) Whether the district court erred by giving full faith and credit to the parenting plan and child support order entered by the California court; and (2) whether the district court erred by refusing to terminate Father’s parental rights.

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


Facts: PTH was born in 2008 to TC, Mother, and RH, Father. The parents divorced and agreed to a parenting plan approved by the county court in California, where they lived. According to the parenting plan, RH was not required to pay any child support. Neither parent has moved to modify the parenting plan or child support provision.…

Kiser v. Kiser & McDowell

Kiser v. Kiser & McDowell, 2015 MT 315 (Nov. 10, 2015) (Rice, J.) (5-0, rev’d)

Issue: Whether the district court erred in dismissing Kiser/McDowell’s appeal from small claims court.

Short Answer: Yes.

Reversed & remanded

Facts: Todd Kiser filed a complaint against Noel Kiser and Marie McDowell in the small claims division of justice court in April 2015, alleging Noel and Marie owed him $3,445.85 based on an agreement regarding their father’s nursing care and cremation costs. The clerk issued an order that set a hearing for May 22, 2015, advised Noel and Marie to bring any evidence they needed to defend themselves, advised them they had 10 days to remove the action to justice court, and advised them that failure to remove constituted a waiver of their right to trial by jury and representation to counsel.…

In re Golz

In re Golz, 2015 MT 318 (Nov. 10, 2015) (Shea, J.) (7-0, cert. ques. answered)

Issue: Whether a bankruptcy debtor may claim an exemption in an inherited Individual Retirement Account under § 25-13-608(1)(e), MCA.

Short Answer: No.

Certified question from U.S. Bankruptcy Court answered

Facts: Christopher Golz filed for chapter 7 bankruptcy in December 2014. Golz is 40 years old and employed by Simms Fishing Products. Golz’s spouse did not file bankruptcy with him.

Golz inherited an ORA account from his mother upon her death, the value of which was listed by Golz as $6,905.65. Golz claimed the IRA as exempt property, and the trustee objected. Golz has not contributed to the account and cannot invest additional money in the account.…

Newlon v. Teck American, Inc.

Newlon v. Teck American, Inc., 2015 MT 317 (Nov. 10, 2015) (Wheat, J.) (5-0, aff’d)

Issue: (1) Whether Teck and Newlon formed an enforceable contract; and (2) if so, whether Teck can assert the 60-month rule under § 39-71-704(1)(d) to avoid having to pay Newlon’s benefits.

Short Answer: (1) Yes; and (2) no.


Facts: Newlon worked for Teck as a miner from 1972 until the mine closed in 1993. Newlon was injured in several incidents over the years, including at least three separate injuries involving his left knee. Newlon had surgery on the knee in 1993 and 1996, but his symptoms and problems persisted.

Teck’s assistant manager, Moore, approached Newlon in 1996 about settling all of Newlon’s work comp claims.…

In re the Marriage of Richards & Trusler

In re the Marriage of Richards & Trusler, 2015 MT 314 (Nov. 5, 2015) (Cotter, J.; Rice, J., concurring) (5-0, rev’d)

Issue: Whether the district court abused its discretion in apportioning the marital estate.

Short Answer: Yes.

Reversed and remanded for a new trial

Facts: Vanessa Richards and Ernest Trusler began their relationship in 1991, had three children between 1992-2000, and formally married in May 2008. They held themselves out as married beginning in 1992, when their oldest child, TR, was born. TR was severely disabled and required full-time care until his death in August 2014. Richards and Trusler agreed that Richards would care for TR.

Richards and Trusler lived on the Trusler Ranch until 2003. The ranch is owned by the family corporation, which was valued at $7.2 million at the time of the dissolution.…

In re Vaughn School Transfer Petition

In re Vaughn School Transfer Petition, 2015 MT 313 (Nov 3, 2015) (Rice, J.; McKinnon, J., dissenting) (4-1, aff’d)

Issue: Whether the district court erred by affirming a panel of county school superintendents’ decision to dismiss a school territory transfer petition.

Short Answer: No.


Facts: The Hillcrest Hutterite Colony Attendance Center in Cascade County was formed after several colony members petitioned the Vaughn School District’s Board of Trustees in February 2013. The school district and the colony entered into a contract under which the school district agreed to provide educational services in exchange for use of a colony facility. The parties agreed that the school would be operated as a public school of the Vaughn School District. The district employs a full-time teacher and a teacher’s aide at the center, and provides books, equipment and teaching supplies.…

WLW Realty Partners v. Continental Partners

WLW Realty Partners, LLC v. Continental Partners VIII, LLC, 2015 MT 312 (Nov. 3, 2015) (Cotter, J.) (5-0, rev’d)

Issue: (1) Whether Continental preserved its argument about the legal requirements of negligent misrepresentation by raising it in a reply brief supporting a motion in limine; (2) whether the district court erred by imposing liability on Continental for negligent misrepresentation; and (3) whether the district court erred by finding Continental violated the Montana Consumer Protection Act.

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

Reversed and remanded for entry of judgment for Continental

Facts: Continental bought a lot with two building parcels from Yellowstone Development in 2004. In the buy-sell, the parties agreed that Yellowstone Development would provide the lots with ski-in and ski-out access.…