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Conservatorship of JS, KS, & RS

Conservatorship of JS, KS, & RS, 2015 MT 335 (Dec. 3, 2015) (Cotter, J.; McKinnon, J., dissenting) (4-1, aff’d)

Issue: Whether the district court abused its discretion in appointing a GAL to determine whether litigation of the minor children’s claims against their father and their father’s business from a car accident that kicked their mother is in the children’s best interests.

Short Answer: No.


Facts: Jennifer Soule was killed in 2012 when she and Michael were driving on the interstate, their car rolled, and both were ejected. Michael was charged with vehicular homicide while under the influence, but does not remember who was driving. The charges were eventually dropped due to police misconduct, loss or destruction of evidence, and violations of Michael’s constitutional rights.…

Amour v. Collection Professionals, Inc.

Amour v. Collection Professionals, Inc., 2015 MT 150 (June 2, 2015) (Baker, J.) (5-0, aff’d)

Issue: (1) Whether the debt Amour owed to the GAL was regulated by the FDCPA; (2) whether the GAL was entitled to quasi-judicial immunity under the Montana Consumer Protection Act; and (3) whether the district court correctly awarded CPI $7,408.70 plus interest.

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


Facts: Shannon Amour petitioned for dissolution in 2007. In 2008, the court entered an order naming Nancy Smith the GAL for Amour’s children. The court specified Smith’s duties, granted her immunity, and specified that the gross marital estate was responsible for paying her. Amour entered a contract with Smith agreeing to pay Smith $90/hour plus expenses.…

In the Matter of ADB

In the Matter of ADB, 2013 MT 167 (June 20, 2013) (5-0) (McKinnon, J.; McGrath, C.J., specially concurring)

Issue: (1) Whether DPHHS made reasonable efforts to reunite Mother with ADB; (2) whether the district court properly concluded that Mother’s drug addiction rendered her unfit to parent ADB, and that her condition was unlikely to change within a reasonable time; (3) whether the district court had jurisdiction to terminate Father’s parental rights; (4) whether Father’s attorney rendered ineffective assistance of counsel; (5) whether the district court erred in terminating Father’s parental rights based upon his incarceration for mitigated deliberate homicide; and (6) whether the district court correctly concluded that terminating Mother’s and Father’s parental rights was in ADB’s best interest.…

In the Estate of CKO

In the Estate of CKO, 2013 MT 72 (March 20, 2013) (5-0) (McKinnon, J.)

Issue: (1) Whether the custodial parents of a minor child have the right to demand that a particular law firm represent the child when the GAL and conservator disagree; (2) whether §§ 37-61-403 and 72-5-427, MCA, are unconstitutional as applied; and (3) whether § 37-61-403 conflicts with the Montana Rules of Professional Conduct.

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