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Knapton v. Monk

Supreme Court of Montana

April 28, 2015

TRAVIS KNAPTON, on behalf of E.K., a minor, Plaintiff and Appellant,
v.
DANIEL W. MONK, CHERYL MONK and KIMBERLEE JOHNSON, Defendants and Appellees

Submitted on Briefs: March 25, 2015.

Released for Publication: May 14, 2015.

APPEAL FROM: District Court of the Twelfth Judicial District, In and For the County of Hill, Cause No. DV 12-129. Honorable Daniel A. Boucher, Presiding Judge.

For Appellant: Kevin S. Brown, Paoli & Brown, P.C.; Livingston, Montana; Jeremy S. Yellin, Attorney at Law; Havre, Montana.

For Appellee: Paul R. Haffeman; James A. Donahue, Davis, Hatley, Haffeman & Tighe; Great Falls, Montana.

JIM RICE. We concur: MIKE McGRATH, LAURIE McKINNON, BETH BAKER. JAMES JEREMIAH SHEA. Justice Jim Rice delivered the Opinion of the Court.

OPINION

Page 1258

[379 Mont. 2] Jim Rice, Justice.

[¶1] Travis Knapton, father of E.K., a minor child, appeals from the order of the Twelfth Judicial District Court, Hill County, granting summary judgment in favor of Kimberlee Johnson on Knapton's claims of negligence and strict liability. We affirm.

[¶2] We address the following issues on appeal:

[¶3] 1. Did the District Court err by granting summary judgment in favor of Johnson on the negligence claim ?

[¶4] 2. Did the District Court err by granting summary judgment in favor of Johnson on the strict liability claim ?

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

[¶5] Kimberlee Johnson is the owner of a house located in Havre. Travis Knapton and Misty Knapton live in an adjacent home with their minor children. Johnson moved into her house in October of 2008 and lived there with her husband and their two dogs. The couple's dogs were housed in a 10' x 10' kennel. There was no fence separating Johnson's property from the adjoining Knapton property. It is undisputed that Johnson's dogs did not run at large, and they are not the subject of this appeal.

[¶6] In October 2010, Johnson leased the downstairs portion of the residence to Daniel and Cheryl Monk, while continuing to live upstairs. [379 Mont. 3] At the time of the lease, Johnson knew the Monks owned several dogs of pit bull ancestry and that the animals would be living with the family. After the Monks moved into the residence, Johnson relocated her dogs to a property owned ...


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