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City of Kalispell v. Omyer

City of Kalispell v. Omyer, 2016 MT 63 (March 15, 2016) (Wheat, J.) (5-0, aff’d)

Issue: (1) Whether § 61-5-212, MCA imposes absolute liability for driving with a suspended license; and (2) whether letters from the Motor Vehicle Department informing each appellant that their drivers’ licenses were suspended were improperly admitted testimonial hearsay or properly admitted copies of public records.

Short Answer: (1) Yes, and (2) the letters were properly admitted as copies of public records under Rules 803(8) and 902(4).


Facts: In this consolidated appeal, three defendants were charged with various traffic violations, including driving with a suspended license. In each of the three bench trials, the state introduced letters sent from the MVD to the defendant notifying him or her of the suspension.…

Knapton v. Monk

Knapton v. Monk, 2015 MT 111 (April 28, 2015) (Rice, J.) (5-0, aff’d)

Issue: (1) Whether the district court properly granted summary judgment to the landlord on the negligence claim; and (2) whether the district court properly granted summary judgment to the landlord on the strict liability claim.

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


Facts: Kimberlee Johnson owns a house that was leased by the Monks, and adjacent to Knaptons’ home. Minks owned several dogs of pit bull ancestry. Johnson lived in the residence until March 2011, left some personal belongings in a downstairs storage room, received mail at the house, inspected the premises a few times a month, and occasionally stayed overnight on a rollaway bed.

In July 2011, one of Monks’ dogs bit MK, one of the Knapton children, on Knaptons’ property.…