-- DA 17-0131 DUANE C. KOHOUTEK, INC., a Montana corporation, BUCHER SALES, LLC, a Montana Limited Liability Company, NOBLES, INC., a Montana corporation, and SPIRITS PLUS, LLC, a Montana Limited Liability Company, individually and on behalf of others similarly situated, Plaintiffs and Appellees, v. STATE OF MONTANA, DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE, Defendant and Appellant. . Oral Argument is set for Wednesday, February 7, 2018, at 9:30 a.m. in the Courtroom of the Montana Supreme Court, Joseph P. Mazurek Justice Building, Helena, Montana.
Kohoutek and other owners of Montana liquor stores (the Class) brought this action against the State of Montana to challenge the constitutionality of a statute (repealed in 2015) regarding case-lot discounts for the purchase of liquor from the State. The Eighth Judicial District Court ruled that the statute violated Class members’ right to equal protection and that the Class is entitled to $26,156,411.65 in damages from the State, plus $8,718,803.88 in attorney fees, litigation expenses, and class representative incentive awards payable from the judgment; plus judgment interest and costs.
On behalf of the State, Appellant Montana Department of Revenue raises several issues on appeal. It argues the District Court erred when it: (1) ruled that the weighted average discount ratio (WADR) found at § 16-2-101(2)(b)(ii)(B), MCA (2013), failed rational basis review under the constitutional right to equal protection, and by applying a change in circumstances test to render the WADR unconstitutional; (2) denied the State’s motion to amend its answer to include a statute of limitations defense; (3) ruled that the doctrine of laches did not bar the Class’s claims for monetary damages; (4) awarded damages (including interest) to the Class and calculated those damages; and (5) ruled that the Class is entitled to attorney fees under the private attorney general doctrine.
On cross-appeal, the Class argues that the District Court erred in relying on the statute, after having found it invalid, to set storeowner expectations in the takings claim.
--DA 17-0184 CITY OF MISSOULA, Plaintiff and Appellee, v. MARCY JANE KROSCHEL, Defendant and Appellant. Oral Argument is set for Wednesday, February 28, 2018, at 9:30 a.m. in the Courtroom of the Montana Supreme Court, Joseph P. Mazurek Justice Building, Helena, Montana.
In this appeal, Marcy J. Kroschel argues University of Montana police officers violated her constitutional rights when they detained and questioned her on suspicion of being a minor in possession of alcohol (MIP) at a University of Montana football game. The Missoula Municipal Court denied Kroschel’s motion to suppress her answers to the officers’ questions after she initially provided a false name and date of birth, ruling that, under the circumstances presented here, the officers made a lawful investigative stop and did not violate constitutional protections against unreasonable searches and seizures by governmental officials. The Fourth Judicial District Court agreed with that ruling.
-- DA 17-0502 DAVID RAMSBACHER, Plaintiff and Appellant, v. JIM PALMER TRUCKING, Defendant and Appellee. Oral Argument is set for Wednesday, March 28, 2018, at 9:30 a.m. in the Courtroom of the Montana Supreme Court, Joseph P. Mazurek Justice Building, Helena, Montana.
David Ramsbacher was an employee “on loan/lease” to Jim Palmer Trucking under Montana’s professional employer organization or group (PEO) statutes. He was injured at work and received workers compensation benefits from his PEO employer. Ramsbacker also brought an action against Jim Palmer Trucking for negligence and violation of law. Here, he appeals the Fourth Judicial District Court’s dismissal of that action.
Section 39-8-207(8)(b)(i), MCA, provides that a PEO and its clients are entitled to exclusivity of remedy under workers compensation law. Jim Palmer Trucking prevailed in the District Court on summary judgment based on its argument that, as a client employer under the PEO statutes, it is exempt from liability. Ramsbacher argues that violates his right to full legal redress under Article II, section 16 of the Montana Constitution. The Court has accepted friend-of-the-Court briefs from the Montana Trial Lawyers Association, the National Association of Professional Employer Organizations, and Avitus Group.
-- DA 17-0492
-- OP 17-0678 RONALD DWIGHT TIPTON, Petitioner, v. MONTANA THIRTEENTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT and HONORABLE MARY JANE KNISLEY, DISTRICT JUDGE, Respondent. Oral Argument is set for Wednesday, April 18, 2018, at 10:30 am. in the Strand Union Building, Ballroom A on the campus of Montana State University, Bozeman, Montana, with an introduction to the oral argument beginning at 10:00 a.m.
Tipton asks the Court to direct the Thirteenth Judicial District Court to dismiss a prosecution against him for a 1987 rape of a then-8-year-old Billings girl. Another individual was convicted of the rape long ago but was exonerated by DNA evidence in 2002.In 2014, the DNA evidence was found to link Tipton to the crime. Tipton was charged in 2015.
In 1987, the statute of limitations for sexual intercourse without consent was 5 years.In 1989 the statute of limitations was amended to 5 years or 5 years after the victim turns 18.In 2007, the statute was again amended, to provide that, if a suspect is conclusively identified by DNA testing after the statute of limitations has expired, a prosecution may be commenced within one year after the DNA identification.
In response to Tipton’s motion to dismiss the charges against him, the District Court ruled that the legislature intended the 2007 statute to apply retroactively. Tipton argues that retroactive application violates the ex post facto provisions of the Montana and United States Constitutions.
-- DA 17-0061 STATE OF MONTANA, Plaintiff and Appellee, v. CRAIG ALAN BARROWS, Defendant and Appellant. Oral Argument is set for Wednesday, June 27, 2018, at 9:30 a.m. in the Courtroom of the Montana Supreme Court, Joseph P. Mazurek Justice Building, Helena, Montana.
Craig Alan Barrows appeals his conviction of three counts of assault with a weapon and two counts of criminal possession of dangerous drugs—one for possession of methamphetamine and the other for possession of Lorazepam. Although Barrows has raised several issues on appeal, the Court has limited oral argument to the issue of whether the trial court violated constitutional prohibitions against double jeopardy in relation to the conviction of possession of Lorazepam.
This case was tried to a jury. At the close of the State’s case in chief, the District Court ruled that the State’s evidence was insufficient to support a Lorazepam possession conviction, based on the State’s failure to send the purported Lorazepam to the state crime lab for identification. Instead, the investigating officer testified that he had typed the number printed on the pills into “Drugs.com,” which suggested the pills were Lorazepam. The court stated, “I will dismiss the Lorazapem case. The Lorazepam charge is off.”
Then, Barrows testified in his own defense. During his testimony, he admitted he knew there was Lorazepam in the vehicle he was driving when he was arrested. When the court and counsel were settling jury instructions, the State proposed instructions relating to the Lorazepam charge. The court agreed to put the Lorazepam charge on the verdict form based on Barrows’s admission, and the jury convicted him of that charge.
-- DA 17-0576 CITY OF HELENA, Plaintiff and Appellee, v. RONALD SCOTT PARSONS, Defendant and Appellant. Oral Argument is set for Wednesday, July 25, 2018, at 9:30 a.m. in the Courtroom of the Montana Supreme Court, Joseph P. Mazurek Justice Building, Helena, Montana.
Ronald Parsons used his truck and attached boat trailer to set up a roadblock to assist police in their pursuit of a fleeing suspect, who was driving a motorcycle. The motorcyclist hit a curb and sustained injuries trying to avoid Parsons's roadblock. The City of Helena charged Parsons in Municipal Court with negligent endangerment and reckless driving. A jury convicted Parsons and the District Court affirmed Parsons’s conviction.
Montana’s citizen arrest statute, § 46-6-502, MCA, grants a private person the right to “arrest another when there is probable cause to believe that the person is committing or has committed an offense and the existing circumstances require the person’s immediate arrest.” Parsons disagrees with the manner in which the Municipal Court permitted the statute to be used during trial.
On appeal, Parsons contends the Municipal Court erred in designating the statute as an affirmative defense, arguing that the court should have permitted him to raise a defense based on the statute without having to first admit to the underlying charge. Parsons also argues that the court should have taken judicial notice of and instructed the jury on the statute.