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Estate of Mills

Estate of Mills, 2015 MT 245 (Aug. 18, 2015) (McGrath, C.J.; Rice, J. concurring) (7-0, rev’d)

Issue: Whether the district court abused its discretion in denying David’s motion to set aside his default.

Short Answer: Yes.


Facts: Howard Mills (“Father”) died June 21, 2014, leaving three sons – Howard W., John, and David. On August 21, 2014 Howard W. petitioned for formal probate of Father’s will, determination of heirs, and appointment of a PR. The district court scheduled a hearing for Sept. 22, 2014. On Aug. 28, 2014. Howard W. sent notices of the hearing to all interested parties, including his brothers, and filed proof of mailing the notices the same day.

David Mills filed a detailed letter in response to the petition on Sept.…

State v. Kebble

State v. Kebble, 2015 MT 195 (July 14, 2015) (Cotter, J.; Rice, J., dissenting) (4-2, rev’d)

Issue: (1) Whether the justice court abused its discretion in denying Kebble’s challenge for cause of a prospective juror; (2) whether the justice court abused its discretion in granting the state’s motion in limine prohibiting Kebble for presenting evidence of the circumstances surrounding suspension of his outfitters license; and (3) whether the justice court erred when it sentenced Kebble under the statute in effect when he committed the crime rather than the one in effect when he was charged and convicted.

Short Answer: (1) Yes. When a potential juror works for the person or entity on whose behalf the prosecution was initiated, a challenge for cause must be granted; (2) no; and (3) no.…

State v. Pingree

State v. Pingree, 2015 MT 187 (June 30, 2015) (McGrath, C.J.; Baker, J., dissenting) (4-2, rev’d)

Issue: (1) Whether the district court erred in admitting testimony given by Pingree’s wife at an earlier civil order of protection, and (2) whether the error was harmless.

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


Facts: In September 2012, the Ravalli County Attorney charged Pingree with felony assault with a weapon and misdemeanor partner/family-member assault, alleging Pingree pointed a gun at his wife and fired it to the left of her head. In October 2012, Pingree’s wife, Caroline, sought an order of protection in Butte, where the parties’ dissolution had been filed. Pingree was at the hearing, although without counsel. He testified but did not contest the order.…

Bailey v. State Farm

Bailey v. State Farm, 2013 MT 119 (May 2, 2013) (4-2) (Cotter, J., for the majority; Rice, J. & Baker, J., dissenting)

Issue: (1) Whether the district court erred in finding no genuine issues of fact regarding defendants’ duty to procure underinsured motorist coverage for Baileys; and (2) whether the district court erred in failing to recognize and impose a heightened duty beyond a duty to procure requested coverage.

Short Answer: (1) Yes, and (2) the Court declines to address this issue.

Dissents: Justice Rice would conclude that the Baileys did not demonstrate genuine issues of material fact and would affirm. Justice Baker agrees, and writes separately to express her concern that the Court has in fact imposed a heightened duty on an insurance agent despite its claim that it is not addressing this issue.…