Submitted: October 6, 1995
Petitioner, who received death benefits until her
re-marriage, moved for summary judgment on her request that
benefits be re-instated following District Court's
annulment of her remarriage, which included a declaration
that the marriage was void ab initio. She argued State Fund
was bound by the District Court decree even though it was not
a party to that proceeding and contended the Workers'
Compensation Court lacked jurisdiction to make any orders
inconsistent with the District Court.
A judgment has no effect or force as to non-parties except
under circumstances meeting the criteria for collateral
estoppel, not met as to State Fund in this case. Where the
WCC has jurisdiction to determine entitlement to benefits, it
has jurisdiction to determine whether the annulment of
claimant's marriage revives State Fund's obligation
to pay death benefits. Summary judgment denied.
Constitutions, Statutes, Regulations and Rules:
Montana Code Annotated: section 39-71-721(5), MCA
(1983). Widow whose death benefits were terminated
upon her remarriage moved for summary judgment on her claim
to reinstate benefits, arguing that District Court's
order of annulment of her remarriage ab initio was binding on
State Fund. WCC denied motion, holding that District
Court's order was not binding on State Fund where it was
not party to that proceeding.
Benefits: Death Benefits: Remarriage. Widow
whose death benefits were terminated upon her remarriage
moved for summary judgment on her claim to reinstate
benefits, arguing that District Court's order of
annulment of her remarriage ab initio was binding on State
Fund. WCC denied motion, holding that District Court's
order was not binding on State Fund where it was not party to
Jurisdiction: Subject Matter Jurisdiction.
Where the WCC has jurisdiction to determine entitlement to
benefits, it has jurisdiction to determine whether the
annulment of widow's remarriage revives State Fund's
obligation to pay death benefits.
Helen Jo Kimery, seeks reinstatement of survivor's
benefits. She now moves for summary judgment as to her
other recent cases involving motions for summary judgment,
this Court will follow Rule 56, Mont.R.Civ.P. Rule 56(c)
provides in pertinent part:
[Summary] judgment . . . shall be rendered forthwith if the
pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and
admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any,
show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact
and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a
matter of law.
judgment is appropriate when the moving party establishes
that there is no genuine issues of material fact and that she
is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. McDonald v.
Anderson, 261 Mont. 268, 272, 862 P.2d 402, 404 (1993).
The primary policy and the general purpose underlying summary
judgment is to encourage judicial economy by eliminating
unnecessary trials. Id. at 273, 862 P.2d at 404.
facts upon which petitioner bases her motion are found in
district court documents in an annulment proceeding. Copies
of the documents are attached to the Petitioner's Brief
in Support of Motion for Summary Judgment. In addition the
Court requested and obtained a copy of the entire district
court file, of which judicial notice is taken.
petitioner is the widow of Allen Kimery, a Missoula County
sheriff's deputy killed in the line of duty on December
6, 1984. The State Fund insured the County at that time and
accepted liability for payment of survivors' benefits to
petitioner and the two Kimery children.
20, 1991, petitioner married David Archer. Pursuant to
section 39-71-721, MCA, the State Fund paid her a lump sum of
104 weeks of benefits and terminated further biweekly
and a half later, on February 19, 1993, petitioner sought a
dissolution of her marriage to Archer. (Ex. E.) Within a week
of the filing of her dissolution petition, however, she filed
an amended petition requesting that her marriage be annulled.
(Ex. G.) The amended petition alleged that petitioner
"lacked the capacity to consent [to the marriage] in
that she was sufferring [sic] from mental incapacity and her
consent was induced by duress . . . ." (Id. at
2.) She and Archer thereafter entered into a Stipulation and
Property Settlement Agreement in which Archer
hereby admits, acknowledges, stipulates, declares, agrees,
and verifies that at the time of the parties' purported
marriage Petitioner lacked the capacity to consent in that
she was suffering from mental incapacity and that her