Archive | Motion for new trial

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Reis v. Luckett

Reis v. Luckett, 2015 MT 337 (Dec. 2, 2015) (Cotter, J.; McKinnon, J., dissenting) (4-1, aff’d)

Issue: Whether the district court erred in granting Reis’s motion for a new trial.

Short Answer: No.


Facts: Scott Reis and Austin Luckett were in a serious three-car accident in February 2010. Luckett admitted liability. Later that day, Reis claimed he began to experience neck and back pain as well as pain in his left hand little finger. Over the next several months, Reis sought treatment from a family nurse practitioner as well as a chiropractor, pain specialist, and orthopedist.

Procedural Posture & Holding: The district court held a jury trial in December 2014 and the jury found Luckett’s negligence did not cause Reis’s injuries.…

O’Connor v. George

O’Connor v. George, 2015 MT 274 (Sept. 15, 2015) (Cotter, J.; Baker, J., dissenting) (4-1, rev’d)

Issue: Whether the district court manifestly abused its discretion in denying O’Connor’s motion for a new trial based on defense counsel’s failure to disclose that some of George’s photographic evidence depicted damage from another accident.

Short Answer: Yes.

Reversed and remanded for new trial

Facts: In September 0211, O’Connor was rear-ended by George while stopped at a railroad crossing in Helena. Both vehicles sustained minor damage; the property damage claim was resolved. O’Connor claimed she was injured in the accident. George admitted liability but disputed the extent of O’Connor’s injuries.

O’Connor sued George in May 2013. State Farm, George’s insurer, investigated and provided O’Connor with its investigative materials.…

State v. Northcutt

State v. Northcutt, 2015 MT 267 (Sept. 8, 2015) (Baker, J.; McKinnon, J., concurring) (7-0, aff’d)

Issue: Whether the district court violated Northcutt’s right to be present and right to a public trial by asking the jury about the status of its deliberations without the defendant and the public present.

Short Answer: No.


Facts: The state charged Northcutt with three counts of assaulting a peace officer and one count of aggravated animal cruelty. On the third day of trial, the jury began deliberating around 4:30 p.m. At around 5:30 p.m., the jury sent a note to the court asking to see one of the demonstrative exhibits, which the court and the parties agreed to supply. The jury sent a second note around 7:30 p.m.…

State v. Morse

State v. Morse, 2015 MT 51 (Feb. 23, 2015) (McKinnon, J.) (4-1, rev’d, Rice, J., dissenting)

Issue: (1) Whether the district court erred in denying Morse’s untimely motion for new trial and directing Morse to pursue postconviction relief; and (2) whether the district court abused its discretion in allowing the state to elicit testimony fro the victim’s sisters about Morse’s past conduct.

Short Answer: (1) Yes. The Court reverses in this issue and does not reach (2).

Reversed and remanded

Facts: HS is the adult daughter of Morse’s girlfriend. She is married, with three children, and suffers from spinal neuropathy and has chronic back pain. She is prescribed a muscle relaxer for pain relief. HS had known Morse for several years, and believed he know certain chiropractic techniques to help her back pain.…