Articles Posted in Montana Supreme Court

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The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the order of the district court dismissing Plaintiff’s amended complaint against several lenders, holding that the district court did not err in dismissing some of Plaintiff’s claims but erred in dismissing the remaining claims. After Plaintiff defaulted on her loan on real property, she received at least nine notices of sale. Plaintiff filed an amended complaint against Lenders, alleging six causes of action. The district court granted Lenders’ motion to dismiss the amended complaint pursuant to Mont. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). The Supreme Court held that the district court (1) did not err in dismissing Plaintiff’s declaratory judgment claim as a matter of law or in dismissing Plaintiff’s negligent and/or intentional infliction of emotional distress claim fore failure to state sufficient facts to entitle her to relief; and (2) incorrectly determined that Plaintiff’s amended complaint failed to state a claim on her asserted breach of contract and breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), and Montana Consumer Protection Act (MCPA) claims. View "Puryer v. HSBC Bank" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the district court staying proceedings and compelling Investors to submit all asserted claims against FSC Securities Corp. (FSC) and Rocky Mountain Financial Advisors, LLC and Eric Roshoven (collectively, RMF) to arbitration. On the recommendation of RMF brokers and advisors, Investors purchased securities in Invizeon Corporation through FSC. After Invizeon failed, Investors sued FSC and RMF, alleging that FSC failed adequately to supervise its registered RMF representatives and that RMF wrongfully induced Investors to invest in Invizeon on various grounds. FSC and RMF moved to stay proceedings and compel arbitration before the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). After a hearing, the district court issued an order compelling Investors to submit their claims to arbitration as provided in FSC customer agreement forms. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court (1) did not err in concluding that Investors knowingly, voluntarily, and intelligently assented to the terms of the standard-form arbitration agreements and validly waived their Montana constitutional rights to full legal redress and jury trial; (2) correctly concluded that the standard-form FSC arbitration agreements were not unconscionable; and (3) correctly compelled Investors to submit their claims against FSC and RMF to arbitration. View "Lenz v. FSC Securities Corp." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the district court staying proceedings and compelling Investors to submit all asserted claims against FSC Securities Corp. (FSC) and Rocky Mountain Financial Advisors, LLC and Eric Roshoven (collectively, RMF) to arbitration. On the recommendation of RMF brokers and advisors, Investors purchased securities in Invizeon Corporation through FSC. After Invizeon failed, Investors sued FSC and RMF, alleging that FSC failed adequately to supervise its registered RMF representatives and that RMF wrongfully induced Investors to invest in Invizeon on various grounds. FSC and RMF moved to stay proceedings and compel arbitration before the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). After a hearing, the district court issued an order compelling Investors to submit their claims to arbitration as provided in FSC customer agreement forms. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court (1) did not err in concluding that Investors knowingly, voluntarily, and intelligently assented to the terms of the standard-form arbitration agreements and validly waived their Montana constitutional rights to full legal redress and jury trial; (2) correctly concluded that the standard-form FSC arbitration agreements were not unconscionable; and (3) correctly compelled Investors to submit their claims against FSC and RMF to arbitration. View "Lenz v. FSC Securities Corp." on Justia Law

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David Platt and Steven Held purchased a ranch together and formalized their arrangement by entering into an operating agreement. Later, Held, Platt, and Tim Welu decided to divide the property into three parts, with each party owning 2,000 acres. After the land sale, all the parties entered into a recorded agreement. Later, the relationships soured. When Held refused to grant an easement across his property to Platt, Platt initiated this lawsuit, alleging easement by express grant, prescription and implication, and praying for reformation of the contract due to mutual mistake and fraud. Welu intervened, seeking reformation and alleging that the recorded agreement did not express the intent of the parties regarding usage. The district court reformed the recorded agreement consistent with its determination that the parties intended to grant each other non-exclusive, non-transferrable licenses to use each other’s property. The court granted a written, express easement in favor of Welu and Platt. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not err by (1) concluding that Platt and Welu’s mutual mistake claims were not barred by the statute of limitations; and (2) considering extrinsic evidence to interpret and reform the parties’ contract. View "Platt v. Held" 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

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the district court compelling arbitration and its judgment confirming the arbitration award. A few months after beginning work for Home Savings of America (HSOA), Plaintiff signed an employment agreement containing a provision that required the parties to submit any disputes to binding arbitration. After HSOA terminated Plaintiff’s employment, Plaintiff sued HSOA, its CEO and Board chair Dirk Adams, and Home Savings Bancorp (HSBC), which owned all of HSOA’s stock, alleging breach of contract, wrongful discharge, and fraud. The district court ordered the parties to proceed to binding arbitration. The arbitrator issued an award in favor of HSBC and Adams. The district court confirmed the award. The Supreme Court affirmed both orders, holding (1) the parties had a valid agreement to arbitrate, and therefore, the district court properly referred Plaintiff’s claims to arbitration; and (2) the district court did not abuse its discretion in confirming the arbitration award because the court had jurisdiction to hear Plaintiff’s motion to vacate the arbitration award, and the arbitrator did not manifestly disregard the law. View "Tedesco v. Home Savings Bancorp, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court granting judgment in favor of Bridger del Sol, Inc. (BDS) and awarding BDS attorney fees in this declaratory action filed by BDS against VincentView, LLC. In the complaint, BDS asked the district court to declare that it was not breaching a commercial lease agreement between the parties and claimed that VincentView anticipatory breached the lease, causing BDS damages. The district court found that VincentView anticipatorily breached the lease and the BDS did not breach the lease. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court’s findings were supported by substantial evidence in the record and were not clearly erroneous. View "Bridger Del Sol, Inc. v. Vincentview, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the district court granted summary judgment for New West Health Services (New West) in this action brought by Plaintiff and the class she represented alleging breach of contract, violation of made-whole rights, and unfair claims settlement practices. At issue in this appeal was the district court’s grant to New West leave to amend its answer to include the affirmative defense of ERISA preemption. The district court subsequently allowed Plaintiff to amended her complaint to include ERISA claims. Ultimately, the district court concluded that ERISA preemption required dismissal of Plaintiff’s state law and ERISA claims and entered summary judgment for New West. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that, under the extraordinary circumstances of this case, the district court abused its discretion by granting New West leave to amend its answer to assert ERISA preemption. View "Rolan v. New West Health Services" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the district court granting summary judgment to State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company on Kilby Butte Colony, Inc.’s complaint filed after State Farm declined the Colony’s underinsured motorist (UIM) claim submitted on behalf of Mary Ann and Ivan Stahl. The Stahls, members of the Kilby Butte Hutterite Colony, were injured in an automobile accident. Hutterite colony members own assets of the community collectively, and therefore, the Stahls could not own a vehicle in their individual capacities. All of the Colony’s auto insurance policies were purchased through State Farm, and no individual Colony members were listed as named insureds on any vehicle owned by the Colony. The district court determined the the Stahls did not qualify for UIM coverage because they did not satisfy the definition of an “insured” within the terms of the policy. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not err in finding that the Stahls did not satisfy the unambiguous definition of “insured” under UIM coverage in the policy and that they were therefore not entitled to those benefits. View "Kilby Butte Colony, Inc. v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co." on Justia Law

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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