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Hartsoe v. Tucker

Supreme Court of Montana

September 10, 2013

JOHN HARTSOE, Plaintiff and Appellant,
v.
LOREN TUCKER, Defendant and Appellee.

Submitted on Briefs: July 31, 2013

APPEAL FROM: District Court of the Twentieth Judicial District, In and For the County of Lake, Cause No. DV 12-204 Honorable Deborah Kim Christopher, Presiding Judge

For Appellant John Hartsoe, self-represented, St. Ignatius, Montana

For Appellee Margaret A. Sampsel, Special Assistant Attorney G eneral, Risk Management & Tort Defense Division, Helena, Montana

Michael E Wheat Justice

¶1 Plaintiff John Hartsoe (Hartsoe) appeals the summary dismissal of his claim against Hon. Loren Tucker (Judge Tucker). That claim was dismissed with prejudice by Hon. Deborah Kim Christopher (Judge Christopher) in the Twentieth Judicial District Court, Lake County, on December 31, 2012.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

¶2 Hartsoe filed this action on August 7, 2012, alleging that Judge Tucker had violated his constitutional rights by denying his request for a bail hearing, by dismissing one of his civil claims, and for declaring a mistrial in a criminal matter in which he was a Defendant.

¶3 Judge Tucker appeared in the case and invoked judicial immunity for his actions in the complaint. J udge Christopher agreed that Judge Tucker was immune, and granted Judge Tucker summary dismissal of the action with prejudice. I t is from this dismissal that Hartsoe now appeals.

STATEMENT OF THE ISSUES

¶4 Did the District Court correctly dismiss Hartsoe's claims against Judge Tucker on the grounds that he is entitled to judicial immunity pursuant to § 2-9-112(2), MCA?

¶5 Should sanctions be imposed against Hartsoe pursuant to M. R. App. P. 19(5)?

STANDARD OF REVIEW

¶6 This Court reviews de novo a district court's decision on a motion to dismiss. Hartsoe v. McNeil, 2012 MT 221, ¶ 4, 366 Mont. 335, 286 P.3d 1211 (citing Grizzly Sec. Armored Express, Inc. v. The Armored Grp., ...


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