Recent Legal Orders And Briefs  
   
Punitive Damages  
Peterson (4th, Judge Townsend - 1/12/2018 - submitted by MTLA member Ryan R. Shaffer) Defendant made a post-verdict motion to apply the punitive damages cap in MCA 27-1-220 (3) (cap of 3% of defendant’s net worth). Judge Townsend, ruled that the Defendant failed to provide credible and reliable information establishing its net worth and denied the motion to reduce the punitive damages award.So long as Section 27-1-220 (3) is the law, the question of whether a defendant provides credible evidence of its net worth is an important issue for plaintiffs seeking punitive damages. In our case, serving discovery and making evidentiary motions was key.  
Thelen (20th, Judge Manley - 3/1/2018 - submitted by MTLA member Nate Wagner)   Received a jury award in Polson that included $749,000.00 in punitive damages.  Judge Manley issued his FOF/COL holding the statutory cap on punitive damages found in Mont. Code Ann. § 27-1-220(3) to be unconstitutional in violation of Article II, Section 26 (right to trial by jury), Article II, Section 4 (equal protection), and the substantive due process provisions of the Montana Constitution.  The Court also found that the Defendants could not invoke the cap because they failed to present evidence of their net worth at trial, under the holding of Blue Ridge Homes v. Thein, 2008 MT 264.  
   

Stipulated Judgments - Post Tidyman's
Abbey Land & Moodie Orders 

If you are considering stipulating to a judgment after an insurer’s breach of its duty to defend, and are reviewing the Tidyman’s II decision, you may wish to also review several orders recently issued by Montana district courts on the subject. I’m attaching three orders: two from Judge Amy Eddy in the Abbey Land case; and one from Judge Beth Best in the Moodie case. Both of these cases are on remand from the Montana Supreme Court.
John Amsden

 
Judge Townsend's Scheduling Order - Tidyman's after remand  
   

Stacking Orders

Stillwater County

Madison County

 
   
Ethics Opinions Re Indemnification & Settlement Agrreements  
Ethics opinions that it is unethical for a lawyer to ask another lawyer to sign an indemnification agreement as requirement for settlement.  
2011 letter from J. McDonald with opinions attached
2012 Maryland Opinion
 
 
Public Duty Doctrine  
MTLA Amicus Brief - Public Duty Doctrine - October 2011 - Kichnet v Butte-Silver Bow  
   
Atmospheric Trust Litigation  
Original Petition (Barhaugh, et al v. State, Case Number OP 11-0258) filed with Montana Supreme Court on May 4, 2011; for filings in this case, search the MT Supreme Court at the Court's docket website

Exhibits to the Petition and other information.
 
   
Blue Cross Subrogation  
Decision, September 24, 2009 - MT Supreme Court upholds Judge Honzel's decision.  
Decision, December 18, 2008, by Judge Honzel upholds Insurance Commissioner John Morrison's authority and decision to invalidate Blue Cross policy exclusion language that says it doesn't have to pay medical benefits if there is automobile insurance  
Blue Cross Opening Brief  
Commissioner Response Brief  
Blue Cross ReplyBrief  
   
More Orders, Briefs, Motions of interest to MTLA Members