Articles Posted in Personal Injury

by
The Supreme Court reversed the order of the district court granting Jennifer Teeter’s motion for summary judgment in this declaratory action filed by Teeter against Mid-Century Insurance Company, Teeter's insurer, seeking payment of medical expenses and lost wages after an accident. The district court concluded that Teeter made a prima facie showing that it was reasonably clear that her medical expenses and wage losses were causally related to the accident and that the opinions of certain doctors did not create a disputed issue of material fact as to medical causation and damages. The Supreme Court disagreed and remanded the case for further proceedings, holding that there was a clear dispute of material fact regarding causation because it was not reasonably clear if Teeter’s expenses were causally related to the accident. View "Teeter v. Mid-Century Insurance Co." on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the district court concluding, as a matter of law, that Plaintiff’s claims against Dr. Rodney Brandt were barred by the applicable statute of limitations. Dr. Brandt performed surgery on Plaintiff’s knee in 2008. Shortly thereafter, Plaintiff began to experience new knee pain. In 2012, Plaintiff filed this claim asserting that Dr. Brandt negligently performed surgery on her knee. The district court ruled that Plaintiff’s claim was filed after the three-year statute of limitations had run. The Supreme Court disagreed and remanded the case, holding (1) the date on which Plaintiff discovered or reasonably should have discovered her injury involved disputed issues of material fact; and (2) Plaintiff was entitled to have a jury decide when she discovered or through reasonable diligence should have discovered her injury and that it may have been caused by Dr. Brandt. View "Wilson v. Brandt" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court reversed the order of the district court granting Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway Company’s (BNSF) motion for summary judgment on Kelly Watson’s asbestos-related disease claim, brought under the Federal Employers’ Liability Act, holding that the bankruptcy court’s order enjoining claims against W.R. Grace and other “affiliated entities,” including BNSF, tolled the statute of limitations on Watson’s claim. Thus, the district court erred in concluding that the bankruptcy court’s order expanding a previous injunction barring the commencement or filing of new claims to include BNSF as a nondebtor affiliate did not bar the commencement of new actions against BNSF. View "Watson v. BNSF Railway Co." on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court reversed the district court’s dismissal of Appellant’s complaint, holding that Appellant’s original complaint was not improper serial litigation and, therefore, was not barred under Mont. Code Ann. 3-1-502. Appellant filed this case against Appellees for abuse of process and malicious prosecution. In a separate, previously filed action, Appellees filed suit against a mortgage company that Appellant owned to foreclose on a defaulted loan. Before the resolution of the foreclosure claims, Appellant filed the action at issue in this case. The district court granted Appellees’ motion to dismiss the complaint with prejudice, concluding that the suit was based upon the same facts and transactions as those alleged in the foreclosure litigation and was therefore impermissible under section 3-1-502. The Supreme Court disagreed, holding that Appellant’s complaint was not barred because the claims asserted in this separate action accrued after Appellees filed the previous action. View "McAtee v. Whitefish Credit Union" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court granting summary judgment to Defendant, a Montana corporation that offered trail horse rides, on Plaintiff’s claim alleging negligence resulting in Plaintiff’s fall from a horse. The district court concluded that Plaintiff’s accident was caused by a risk inherent in equine activities for which liability was precluded under Mont. Code Ann. 27-1-727, the Equine Activities Act. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not err in granting summary judgment to Defendant pursuant to the Equine Activities Act and that Plaintiff’s claim did not come within the exception stated in section 27-1-727(3)(a)(i). View "Fishman v. GRBR, Inc." on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the district court granting partial summary judgment for Defendant on Plaintiff’s claims alleging negligence and breach of contract. Plaintiff claimed that it incurred more than $1 million resolving problems caused directly by Defendant’s design work on a facility. Defendant argued that it could not be liable to Plaintiff under the parties’ contract for any amount exceeding $50,000. The district court agreed with Plaintiff, thus rejecting Defendant's argument that the contractual limitation of liability violates Mont. Code Ann. 28-2-702 and is therefore unenforceable. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the limitation of liability found in the agreement is enforceable; and (2) the district court did not err in granting partial summary judgment to Defendant on Plaintiff’s breach of contract claim. View "Zirkelbach Construction, Inc. v. DOWL, LLC" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court reversed the order of the district court granting Continental Resources, Inc.’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit filed by the estate of Zachary Buckles in which the estate alleged that Continental and other defendants were liable for Zachary’s death. The district court dismissed the complaint on the grounds that Continental, an Oklahoma corporation authorized to do business in Montana, was not subject to personal jurisdiction in Montana. The Supreme Court disagreed and remanded the case for an evidentiary hearing, holding that material jurisdictional facts existed, requiring a preliminary hearing by the district court pursuant to Mont. R. Civ. P. 12(d) to determine whether Continental was subject to the court’s jurisdiction. View "Estate of Buckles v. Continental Resources, Inc." on Justia Law

by
The district court did not err in concluding that the statute of limitations had run on Miles Kingman’s claim for conversion of property. Kingman was convicted of aggravated assault and sentenced to twenty years’ imprisonment. Thereafter, Thomas Weightman, the senior evidence technician for the Bozeman Police Department, informed Kingman that his personal property, including a watch, was authorized to be released. Weightman, however, later advised Kingman that the watch was not his. Kingman initiated this action alleging that Weightman failed to return Kingman’s wristwatch and seeking damages for theft and malicious intent. The district court deemed the theft claim as one for conversion of property. The court then entered judgment in favor of Weightman, concluding that the two-year limitation period on the conversion claim had expired prior to the filing of the suit. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Kingman’s conversion claim was time barred. View "Kingman v. Weightman" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court reversed the district court’s judgments ruling that the Montana Public Employees’ Association (MPEA) breached its duty of fair representation (DFR) to Jeffrey Folsom and engaged in common law fraud, awarding Folsom attorney fees as an element of compensatory damages on his DFR claim and awarding $50,000 in punitive damages on his common law fraud claim. The Supreme Court held (1) Folsom’s separately pled common law fraud claim is necessarily subsumed in his DFR claim and is thus not independently cognizable in this case; (2) the district court did not err in denying Folsom’s claim for compensatory lost wages and benefits on his DFR claim; (3) the district court erred in awarding fees to Folsom as an element of compensatory damages on his DFR claim; (4) the district court erred in awarding punitive damages without a compensatory damages predicate; and (5) the district court abused its discretion in refusing to grant MPEA’s motions for postjudgment relief from its summary judgment. View "Folsom v. Montana Public Employees’ Ass’n" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed and remanded in part an order of the district court entering judgment in favor of Plaintiffs on their complaint against Defendants for breach of contract, negligent or intentional infliction of emotional distress, fraud, and unjust enrichment. The Supreme Court held (1) the district court erred in concluding that Plaintiffs had an enforceable contract to purchase real property; (2) the district court did not err in entering judgment against three of the defendants for actual damages; but (3) the case must be remanded for an entry of judgment against the remaining defendants because they were joined in this proceeding and Mont. Code Ann. 72-3-1012 required them to also bear the cost of the claim. View "Wood v. Anderson" on Justia Law