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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s conviction for operating a noncommercial vehicle with alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more (DUI per se) but reversed the district court’s order imposing the cost of legal counsel on Defendant. The court held (1) Defendant’s right to due process was not violated by a jury instruction that instructed the jurors, when choosing between two competing interpretations of circumstances evidence, to choose whichever interpretation was the “most reasonable”; but (2) the district court erred in imposing costs of legal counsel on Defendant given Defendant’s limited fixed income and disability status. View "State v. Iverson" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the district court dismissing with prejudice this action filed by Plaintiffs against Defendant seeking damages for personal injuries allegedly sustained in an automobile collision. The district court dismissed the action under Mont. R. Civ. P. 37(d) due to each plaintiff’s failure to answer fully interrogatories or to produce relevant documents during discovery. In affirming, the Supreme Court held that the district court did not abuse its discretion by granting Defendant’s motion for sanctions, denying one plaintiff’s motion to strike, and denying the other plaintiff’s motion to reconsider because the trial court’s discovery sanction related to the extent of the prejudice that resulted from the discovery abuse. View "Cox. v. Magers" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the Montana Water Court adjudicating Teton Cooperative Canal Company’s (Teton Canal) water rights on remand from an earlier decision of the Supreme Court. The court held that the Water Court did not commit clear error by (1) apportioning volume limits for Teton Canal’s 1890 water right claims and the junior 1936 Eureka Reservoir claims; (2) removing the Eureka Reservoir as storage under the 1890 notice while allowing the Glendora Reservoir’s storage capacity to be added to the volume limit under the 1890 notice; (3) permitting Teton Canal to store its 1890 direct flow water in the Eureka Reservoir during irrigation season; and (4) allowing Teton Canal a year-round period of diversion for the 1890 notice. View "Teton Coop Canal Co. v. Lower Teton Joint Reservoir Co." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court denying Petitioner Rimrock Chrysler Inc.’s petition for judicial review of its request to establish Rimrock as an additional Chrysler-Jeep franchise in the Billings community. Rimrock was awarded a letter of intent by Chrysler Group, LLC to establish a Chrysler-Jeep franchise in Billings that was less than a mile from Lithia of Billings, Inc.’s existing Chrysler-Jeep dealership. Lithia protested Rimrock’s proposed new dealership. The Department of Justice Motor Vehicle Division entered a notice of adoption of final decision finding that good cause did not exist to establish Rimrock as a Chrysler-Jeep franchise in Billings. The district court affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not err by denying Rimrock’s petition for judicial review. View "Rimrock Chrysler, Inc. v. State Department of Justice, Motor Vehicle Division" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the district court affirming the final decision of the Department of Justice that approved, upon good cause, termination of S & P Brake Supply, Inc.’s (S&P) franchise agreement with Daimler Trucks North America, LLC (Daimler). On appeal, S&P argued that the district court erred by determining that Daimler met its burden to prove good cause for termination of the franchise agreement. The Supreme Court disagreed, holding that the district court did not err in upholding the Department’s determination that good cause existed to terminate the franchise agreement. View "S & P Brake Supply v. Daimler Truck" on Justia Law

Posted in: Contracts

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI), fourth or subsequent offense, and the sentence imposed in connection with the offense of thirteen months with the Department of Corrections for placement in a residential alcohol treatment program and four years suspended to be served consecutively. On appeal, Defendant challenged the district court’s denial of his for-cause challenge to a prospective juror. In affirming, the Supreme Court held that the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying Defendant’s for-cause challenge of the prospective juror. View "State v. Russell" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the district court denying Defendant’s motion in limine to exclude evidence at trial that his wages were being garnished and an order requiring Defendant to pay nearly $65,000 in restitution plus statutory and administration fees. The court held (1) the district court did not err when it denied Defendant’s ineffective assistance of counsel claim; (2) the district court did not abuse its discretion when it found that Defendant’s wage garnishment was admissible evidence under Mont. R. Evid. 404(b); and (3) there was substantial evidence to support the district court’s restitution order. View "State v. Ailer" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the district court denying Defendant’s motion in limine to exclude evidence at trial that his wages were being garnished and an order requiring Defendant to pay nearly $65,000 in restitution plus statutory and administration fees. The court held (1) the district court did not err when it denied Defendant’s ineffective assistance of counsel claim; (2) the district court did not abuse its discretion when it found that Defendant’s wage garnishment was admissible evidence under Mont. R. Evid. 404(b); and (3) there was substantial evidence to support the district court’s restitution order. View "State v. Ailer" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s conviction of felony aggravated assault, holding that the district court did not abuse its discretion in admitting the testimony of a doctor who examined the victim. After a jury trial, Defendant was convicted of felony aggravated assault for strangling Michelle Allen, his domestic partner. During trial, over Defendant’s objection, the district court admitted testimony from an emergency room physician about Allen’s statements during her examination after the attack. On appeal, Defendant argued that the doctor’s testimony violated his rights under the Confrontation Clause and was not admissible under the under the hearsay exception for information related to medical examinations under Mont. R. Evid. 803(4). The Supreme Court disagreed, holding (1) the doctor’s testimony concerning the victim’s out-of-court statements did not violate Defendant’s Confrontation Clause rights; and (2) the doctor’s testimony met the Rule 803(4) hearsay exception as a statement made for purposes of medical diagnosis or treatment. View "State v. Porter" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s conviction for aggravated driving under the influence and related offenses, holding that the State did not deny Defendant due process of law by failing to provide Computer Online Breath Records Archive (COBRA) data underlying Defendant’s breath test, and the municipal court did not abuse its discretion by denying Defendant’s motion to exclude breath evidence. During the DUI proceedings, Defendant filed a motion in limine to exclude her Intoxilyzer 8000 breath test results or dismiss her DUI charge as a sanction against the City of Missoula for failing to produce requested COBRA data. The municipal court denied the motion to exclude. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the municipal court did not abuse its discretion in denying Defendant’s motion to exclude, and the district court did not err in affirming. View "State v. Jeffries" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law