Articles Posted in Contracts

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In 2002, Lone Moose Meadows, LLC (LMM) and Boyne USA, Inc. (Boyne) entered into an agreement wherein LMM would construct a ski lift and pay Boyne to operate it. The agreement stated that LMM shall be required to make depreciation payments for operating expenses. In 2008, Boyne filed suit for breach of contract based on LMM’s failure to make depreciation payments. In response, LMM argued that it was not obligated to make depreciation payments until Boyne owned the lift. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Boyne. LMM appealed but also paid $634,328 to Boyne, satisfying the judgment. While the appeal was pending, LMM filed an action alleging that Boyne had engaged in wrongful collection efforts with respect to the first judgment. Boyne counterclaimed for breach of contract, asserting that LMM now owed depreciation expenses for the 2009-10, 2010-11, and 2011-12 ski seasons. LMM later voluntarily dismissed the wrongful collection claim. The district court granted summary judgment for Boyne on the counterclaim. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court properly allowed Boyne to pursue successive claims for breach of contract, and LMM’s argument that Boyne’s claims were barred by claim preclusion was unavailing. View "Lone Moose Meadows, LLC v. Boyne USA, Inc." on Justia Law

Posted in: Contracts

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Landowners appealed from an order of the district court granting summary judgment to the City of Lewistown and allowing the City to annex portion of the Landowners’ properties. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not err in (1) concluding that the City followed the statutory annexation requirements of Title 7, chapter 2, part 43, Mont. Code Ann.; (2) concluding that the City had correctly determined that there were less than a majority of valid protests; (3) concluding that the Landowners were not denied equal protection of the law by the City’s decision of what properties to annex; and (4) concluding that the Landowners lacked standing to enforce a contract between the City and a subdivision developer. View "St. John v. Lewistown" on Justia Law

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In this home construction contract dispute, the Supreme Court (1) affirmed the district court’s decision awarding contractual damages to Contractor and dismissing Homeowners’ counterclaims for damages and attorney’s fees; but (2) reversed the district court’s denial of Contractor’s right to foreclose its construction lien placed on Homeowners’ property and the court’s decision to deny Contractor attorney’s fees pursuant to the lien foreclosure statute. The Court held that the district court erred as a matter of law when it reasoned that Contractor was not entitled to a favorable judgment for the foreclosure of the construction lien on the basis of Homeowners’ dissatisfaction with the work performed. Remanded. View "Vintage Construction, Inc. v. Feighner" on Justia Law

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In 2009, Atkins-Swanson applied and qualified for participation in the Self-Directed Personal Assistance Service Program, a government-sponsored program that allowed Atkins-Swanson to direct health-related tasks. Consumer Direct was Atkins-Swanson’s provider agency and provided administrative services to Atkins-Swanson during the course of her participation in the program. In 2013, Atkins-Swanson succumbed to a fatal overdose of buspirone. Lee Swanson, on his own behalf and on behalf of Atkins-Swanson’s estate, filed this action against Consumer Direct, alleging wrongful death, survivorship, and breach of contract. The district court granted summary judgment for Consumer Direct, concluding that Consumer Direct was statutorily immune from liability because it was not directing the personal-care services. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court correctly granted Consumer Direct’s motion for summary judgment and did not err by denying Swanson’s motion to alter or amend the judgment on the ground that the claims were foreclosed under Mont. Code Ann. 53-6-145. View "Swanson v. Consumer Direct" on Justia Law

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After the loan secured by Susan Alexander’s property went into default, Bank of America, N.A. (BANA) initiated foreclosure proceedings. The property was sold to BANA after a trustee’s sale. When Alexander refused BANA’s demand to vacate the property BANA filed a complaint for unlawful detainer against Alexander. Alexander asserted counterclaims for breach of contract, breach of an oral agreement, and frivolous litigation. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of BANA, concluding that the foreclosure sale was valid and that Alexander was unlawfully holding possession of the property. The court also concluded that Alexander’s counterclaims were either barred by the statute of limitations or statute of frauds and that there was a lack of supporting evidence for her claims. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) BANA was entitled to summary judgment and a writ of assistance based on unlawful detainer; (2) Alexander failed to state a claim of fraud; (3) Alexander’s claims of breach of written or oral contract and breach of oral agreement were barred by the statute of limitations and statute of frauds; and (4) Alexander did not properly allege or offer supporting evidence for her claim of unjust enrichment. View "Bank of America, N.A. v. Alexander" on Justia Law

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After Robert Fitte burned tree branches on his property, a fire rose from the ashes of the burn and erupted into a wildfire known as the Corral Fire. At the time of the fire, Fitte carried two insurance policies issued by Mountain West Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company, including the commercial automobile policy at issue in this appeal. Fitte stipulated to entry of a judgment in favor of Associated Dermatology and Skin Cancer Clinic of Helena, P.C. Profit Sharing Plan and Trust for the benefit of Stephen D. Behlmer, M.D. (Behlmer). Fitte and Behlmer subsequently entered into an agreement wherein Fitte assigned his rights in the Mountain West policies to Behlmer. Behlmer then filed this action seeking a declaration that the automobile policy provided coverage for the Corral Fire damages. The district court ruled in favor of Behlmer and directed that the insurance proceeds be deposited into the district court. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the district court erred in holding that there was coverage for the Corral Fire damage under Mountain West’s commercial automobile policy. View "Associated Dermatology & Skin Cancer Clinic of Helena, P.C. Profit Sharing Plan & Trust for the Benefit of Stephen D. Behlmer v. Mountain West Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Co." on Justia Law

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In 2010, Havre High School’s roof partially collapsed. Dick Anderson Construction, Inc. (Anderson) built the roof and Springer Group Architects (Springer) designed it. Hill County High School District No. A filed suit against against Springer and Anderson, alleging negligence, breach of express and implied warranty, breach of contract, negligent misrepresentation, deceit, and fraud. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Springer and Anderson, concluding that the statute of repose time-barred the School District’s claims. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not err in (1) concluding that the statute of repose barred the School District’s claims; (2) ruling that the period of repose could not be tolled; and (3) awarding Spring attorney fees under the contract. View "Hill County High School District No. A v. Dick Anderson Construction, Inc." on Justia Law

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Sheri Lee hired Morgan Pierce, PLLP to represent her in a bankruptcy proceeding. Morgan Pierce subsequently filed notice of an attorney’s lien against five pieces of Lee’s real property for legal services rendered. Joseph Mulroy and Lee then entered into an agreement for two of the pieces of property against which Morgan Pierce’s lien was recorded. Thereafter, Mulroy filed a petition for interpleader and declaratory relief asking the district court to determine the validity of Morgan Pierce’s attorney’s lien. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Mulroy and awarded his costs and fees. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the district court erred in holding that the agreement entered into between Morgan Pierce and Lee did not create a lien by consent. View "Mulroy v. Morgan Pierce, PLLP" on Justia Law

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JEM Contracting, Inc. (JEM) and Ohio Farmers Insurance Company (OFIC) executed two indemnity agreements so that JEM could obtain bonding from OFIC for construction projects. Thereafter, OFIC executed and delivered two surety bonds on behalf of JEM for two construction projects. JEM hired a subcontractor, Hollow Contracting (Hollow), to furnish labor and equipment for both projects. After a dispute arose between JEM and Hollow regarding payment for the work performed, Hollow filed a complaint against JEM and OFIC. The lawsuit was resolved, and the district court dismissed the litigation. Thereafter, OFIC filed a complaint seeking indemnification from JEM for attorney fees and costs incurred in the underlying litigation. In its answer, JEM alleged that the fees and costs OFIC incurred in the litigation were not covered under the indemnity agreements. The district court granted partial summary judgment on the pleadings in favor of OFIC, concluding that JEM was required to indemnify OFIC for “appropriate expenses.” The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not err in granting partial summary judgment on the pleadings to OFIC on the limited issue of whether OFIC may seek indemnification from JEF pursuant to the indemnification agreements. View "Ohio Farmers Insurance Co. v. JEM Contracting, Inc." on Justia Law

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The parties in this case disagreed over the ownership and operation of an irrigation system on a ranch. Plaintiff filed a complaint against Defendants, arguing that Defendants had converted his property by exercising unauthorized dominion or control over the irrigation system, that Defendants had been unjustly enriched through their possession of the irrigation system, and that Defendants had caused him damages. Defendants filed counterclaims against Welu, alleging trespass and breach of contract. The district court entered judgment in favor of Defendants. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not err in (1) determining that the entire pivot irrigation system constituted a fixture; (2) concluding that Defendants did not breach the parties’ agreement concerning the pivot irrigation system; and (3) did not err in determining that Defendants were not unjustly enriched. View "Welu v. Twin Hearts Smiling Horses, Inc." on Justia Law