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J.L.G. v. M.F.D.

Supreme Court of Montana

December 18, 2013

J.L.G., BNY, Plaintiff and Appellant,
v.
M. F. D., Defendant and Appellee.

ORDER

Appellant J.L.G. has moved this Court pursuant to M. R. App. P. 22(2), for a stay of the August 13, 2013, order of the Second Judicial District, Silver Bow County, in cause number DR-12-36KK. That order granted three days per week of unsupervised visitation between potential father D.Y. and minor B.N.Y. J.L.G. has a pending appeal before this Court from the final judgment or order of the Fifth Judicial District, Madison County, in cause number DF-29-2012 to determine the paternity of B.N.Y. J.L.G. concedes that the August 13, 2013, order affects a "companion case, " and not the order or final decision from which J.L.G. takes appeal.

J.L.G. alleges "serious issues about whether [D.Y.] is B.N.Y.'s father" and concludes that "it makes no sense to proceed with [D.Y.]'s parenting issues." Appellee M.F.D. opposes the stay on the grounds that this Court "lacks appellate jurisdiction" because "[t]here has been no notice of appeal filed concerning" Silver Bow County cause number DR-12-36KK. We historically have taken judicial notice of the outcome of companion cases in family law matters. See, e.g., In re L.H., 2007 MT 70, ¶11, 336 Mont. 405, 154 P.3d 622; In re JM., 1998 MT 128, ¶ 12, 289 Mont. 111, 958 P.2d 1191.

Our authority to stay a judgment or order pending appeal is limited. M. R. App. P. 22(1) requires that a party first file a motion in the district court "[t]o stay a judgment or order of the district court pending appeal." M. R. App. P. 22(2), grants this Court jurisdiction only to afford relief from the district court's order. This Court lacks jurisdiction over matters not properly before us.

M.F.D. requests sanctions against J.L.G. pursuant to M. R. App. P. 19(5), because M.F.D. alleges that the motion is "without reasonable grounds." M. R. App. P. 19(5), allows for an award of sanctions "to the prevailing party in an appeal... determined to be frivolous, vexatious, filed for purposes of harassment or delay, or taken without substantial or reasonable grounds." In evaluating the issue of sanctions on appeal "we generally assess whether the arguments were made in good faith." Hilten v. Bragg, 2010 MT 273, ^f 30, 358 Mont. 407, 248 P.3d 282. We cannot impose sanctions on appeal in this case as there were reasonable grounds for portions of J.L.G.'s appeal.

Therefore,

IT IS ORDERED that the motion to stay the District Court's order in cause number DR-12-36KK is DENIED.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the motion for sanctions is DENIED.


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