APPEAL FROM: District Court of the Fourth Judicial District, In and For the County of Mineral, Cause No. DV 08-37 Honorable Robert L. Deschamps, III, Presiding Judge
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Chief Justice Mike McGrath
Submitted on Briefs: August 29, 2012
Decided: October 30, 2012
Chief Justice Mike McGrath delivered the Opinion of the Court.
¶1 B Bar J Ranch, LLC (B Bar J) appeals from the judgment against it in favor of Carlisle Wide Plank Floors, Inc., (Carlisle) from the District Court for the Fourth Judicial District, Mineral County. We affirm.
¶2 B Bar J presents the following issues for review:
¶3 Issue One: Whether the District Court erred by allowing Carlisle to disclose an expert witness after the scheduling order deadline.
¶4 Issue Two: Whether the District Court erred by awarding Carlisle attorney fees under the Montana Consumer Protection Act.
PROCEDURAL AND FACTUAL BACKGROUND
¶5 B Bar J owns and operates a 680-acre ranch located in the Lolo National Forest near Tarkio, Montana. The ranch's defining feature is its 18,000 square-foot lodge that boasts ten bedrooms, a full commercial kitchen, a conference room, a massage room, and a saloon. Carlisle is a custom manufacturer of high-end wide-plank wood flooring. While building the lodge in 2005, B Bar J bought roughly 6,000 square feet of wood flooring from Carlisle. After being installed, approximately 2,000 square-feet of the Carlisle flooring in the basement started buckling and had to be replaced with an alternative product.
¶6 B Bar J sued Carlisle in May of 2008, alleging negligent misrepresentation, breach of an implied warranty of suitability for a particular purpose, and violation of the Montana Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Act, §§ 30-14-101 et seq., MCA (MCPA). In April 2009, Carlisle joined B Bar J's general contractor who built the lodge and the subcontractor who installed the flooring as third-party defendants. In its scheduling order, the District Court set December 15, 2010, as the deadline for disclosing expert witnesses and February 1, 2011, as the deadline for discovery. In February of 2011, Carlisle moved the court to disclose an accountant as a tax expert for trial. The District Court granted Carlisle's motion over B Bar J's objection on March 1, 2011. B Bar J settled its claims against the general contractor and subcontractor, but it proceeded to trial against Carlisle on March 21, 2011.
¶7 One of the issues at trial was whether B Bar J met the statutory definition of a consumer under the MCPA. For B Bar J to be a consumer under the MCPA, the lodge had to be used primarily for personal, family, or household purposes. If, instead, the jury found that B Bar J had used the lodge for business ...