Articles Posted in Injury Law

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David and Alana Folsom filed a complaint against Eagle’s Rest, LLC and the City of Livingston claiming breach of contract, negligence, unjust enrichment, and quantum meruit. After a jury trial, the district court entered judgment specifying that plaintiffs recovered nothing from Eagle’s Rest but awarding damages as to Livingston. The court also awarded attorney fees to the Folsoms as the prevailing party. The Folsoms appealed, and Livingston cross-appealed. The Supreme Court affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded, holding that the district court (1) did not err by excluding expert testimony of a professional appraiser; (2) did not err in excluding David Folsom’s expert testimony at trial; (3) properly instructed the jury regarding unjust enrichment; (4) erred by awarding negligence damages to the Folsoms; and (5) abused its discretion by awarding essentially all of the attorney fees incurred by the Folsoms. View "Folsom v. Livingston" on Justia Law

Posted in: Contracts, Injury Law

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Chris Wagner sued MSE Technology Applications, Inc. and related MSE entities (collectively, the MSE entities) and Butte Local Development Corporation (BLDC), alleging that they had improperly interfered with his attempt to purchase certain property to establish a commercial nursery. Plaintiff later amended his complaint to add Shea Relators as a defendant. The district court dismissed Wagner’s claims at trial pursuant to Mont. R. Civ. P. 50. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding that the district court (1) did not err in granting judgment as a matter of law to the MSE entities and BLDC; but (2) erred in granting Shea Realtors summary judgment and judgment as a matter of law. Remanded. View "Wagner v. MSE Technology Applications, Inc." on Justia Law

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Kenneth Woody died after the vehicle in which he was a passenger crashed following a high-speed chase by a Big Horn County Sheriff’s deputy. The Estate submitted a claim letter to the County seeking $750,000 for wrongful death and survivorship damages. The County never responded. The Estate later filed a complaint against the County, alleging negligence, wrongful death, survivorship, and negligent infliction of emotional distress. The County moved to dismiss for failure to state a claim, asserting that the Estate’s claims were barred by the pertinent three-year statute of limitations. In response, the Estate asserted that its claim letter to the County tolled the statute of limitations. The district court granted the County’s motion to dismiss. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the Estate’s claim was timely filed. View "In re Estate of Woody v. Big Horn County" on Justia Law

Posted in: Injury Law

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Plaintiff and Defendants owned adjoining properties. Defendants’ property held an easement that ran through Plaintiff’s land. When Defendants began to build a road on their easement to access their property, Plaintiff filed a complaint. The Cascade Conservation District eventually issued the necessary permit so Defendants could continue road construction. The Defendants completed the road along their easement in 2010. In 2013, Plaintiff filed suit alleging that Defendants destroyed an access trail when constructing the easement road. Plaintiff also filed a notice of lis pendens, which prevented Defendants from closing on the sale of their property. The district court held that Plaintiff’s trespass and negligence claims were barred by the statutes of limitations and that his remaining claims were barred by laches. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding the district court properly applied the doctrine of laches and did not err by granting summary judgment in favor of Defendants on all of Plaintiff’s claims not already barred by statutes of limitation. View "Algee v. Hren" on Justia Law

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In consolidated appeals, plaintiffs Robert Nelson and Kelli Tyrrell (Tyrrell), as Special Administrator of the Estate of Brent Tyrrell, pled violations of the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA) for injuries allegedly sustained while Nelson and Brent were employed by BNSF Railway Company in states other than Montana. BNSF moved to dismiss both plaintiffs’ claims for lack of personal jurisdiction. The motion in Nelson's case was granted; the motion in Tyrrell's case was denied. The issue on appeal was whether Montana courts had personal jurisdiction over BNSF under FELA and Montana law. After review, the Montana Supreme Court concluded that Montana courts had personal jurisdiction over BNSF under FELA and Montana Law. The order denying BNSF's motion to dismiss Tyrrell's case was affirmed, and the motion in Nelson's case was reversed. View "Tyrrell v. BNSF" on Justia Law

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Jerry Ray filed suit against Martin Connell alleging defamation. Defendant sought punitive damages, general damages based on a lost real estate commission, damages for tortious interference with business interests, and general damages for mental anguish and suffering. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Connell. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Connell was entitled to judgment as a matter of law on (1) Ray’s defamation claim based on a conversation between Connell and Jim Ronquillo; (2) Ray’s defamation claim based on comments Connell made at two Billings City Council meetings; and (3) Ray’s claims claims of tortious interference with business interests and general damages for mental anguish and suffering based on Connell’s alleged defamation of Ray’s character. View "Ray v. Connell" on Justia Law

Posted in: Injury Law

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Plaintiff initiated this action against Defendant alleging that Defendant defrauded her out of $100,000. Plaintiff alleged claims of unjust enrichment, constructive trust, and fraud. The district court ultimately granted default judgment in favor of Plaintiff after Plaintiff filed a motion for sanctions requesting a default judgment against Defendant as a sanction for violating a district court scheduling order requiring mediation. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the district court did not abuse its discretion by imposing default judgment for Defendant’s failure to comply with the court ordered mediation; and (2) the district court did not err in awarding prejudgment interest. View "Stafford v. Fockaert" on Justia Law

Posted in: Contracts, Injury Law

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Plaintiff was involved in a vehicle collision with Defendant. Defendant admitted that she was negligent, and Plaintiff filed suit for damages. After a trial, the jury returned a verdict for Plaintiff. The district court entered judgment for Plaintiff in the amount of $3,057 after factoring in offsets for previously-made payments. Plaintiff appealed, alleging several claims of error. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not err or abuse its discretion by (1) excluding trial testimony of Plaintiff’s treating physician; (2) excluding trial testimony of Plaintiff’s physical therapist; (3) granting a directed verdict on Plaintiff’s claim that her rotator cuff tear and shoulder arthritis were caused by the collision; and (4) concluding that Plaintiff could not recover damages incurred by her business. View "Cleveland v. Ward" on Justia Law

Posted in: Injury Law

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In 2010, Scott Reis and Austin Luckett, who were both driving separate vehicles, were involved in a three-car automobile accident. Luckett admitted liability for the accident. In 2013, Reis filed a complaint alleging that Luckett’s negligence caused him neck, back, and hand injuries. After a jury trial, the district court concluded that Luckett’s negligence was not a cause of injury to Reis. Thereafter, Reis filed a motion to vacate the jury verdict and grant a new trial. The district court granted the motion for a new trial, concluding that the uncontroverted evidence proved Luckett’s negligence caused injury to Reis’s hand and that the jury verdict materially affected Reis’s substantial rights. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not err in granting Reis’s motion for a new trial. View "Reis v. Luckett" on Justia Law

Posted in: Injury Law

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Plaintiff was severely injured during a single vehicle accident that occurred on a City of Billings road. Plaintiff filed two complaints - one against the City Public Works Director and one against the State, Yellowstone County, and the City. Both complaints alleged negligence in the placement, installation, and maintenance of concrete barriers along the sharp curve where the accident took place. The district court granted Defendants’ motions for summary judgment. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court correctly granted summary judgment to Defendants on the ground that Plaintiff failed to raise an issue of material fact regarding Defendants’ breach of their alleged duties of care. View "Not Afraid v. Mumford" on Justia Law

Posted in: Injury Law