APPEAL FROM: District Court of the Twentieth Judicial District, In and For the County of Sanders, Cause No. DV 12-21 Honorable C.B. McNeil, Presiding Judge
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Brian Morris
Submitted on Briefs: July 11, 2012
Justice Brian Morris delivered the Opinion of the Court.
¶1 C.C. Cox (Cox) appeals an order of the Twentieth Judicial District Court, Sanders County, dismissing his appeal. We reverse.
¶2 Cox raises the following issue:
¶3 Did the District Court properly dismiss Cox's appeal for failure to comply with § 25-33-201, MCA?
¶4 Cox rented a residence to Amanda and Aaron Kobelt (Kobelts) in Plains, Montana. The relationship between the parties was turbulent, to say the least. Kobelts signed a lease on September 6, 2011. Hostilities arose between the parties stemming from the rental relationship that caused Kobelts to move out of the residence on December 1, 2011.
¶5 Cox filed an action in Justice Court against Kobelts after the termination of the rental relationship. Cox alleged, in part, that Kobelts owed him past due rent and owed him for property damages caused by Kobelts. The Justice Court held a bench trial, and rejected Cox's allegations. The court instead ordered Cox to return Kobelts' security deposit of $850.
¶6 Cox appealed this judgment to District Court. Cox included in his notice of appeal an undertaking that stated he would pay the $850 judgment if the District Court dismissed his appeal or if he withdrew his appeal. Cox also stated that he would pay the amount of any judgment rendered against him in District Court. Cox included the name of two sureties who would guarantee his payment of judgment.
¶7 The District Court dismissed Cox's appeal. It stated that Cox had failed to comply with § 25-33-201, MCA, which requires that the appellant file an undertaking for a sum twice the amount of the Justice Court judgment. The District Court noted that Cox had included only the exact sum of his Justice Court judgment rather than a sum twice the amount of ...