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Lay v. State Dep't of Military Affairs

Supreme Court of Montana

June 10, 2015

MONIQUE LAY, Plaintiff and Appellant,
v.
STATE OF MONTANA DEPARTMENT OF MILITARY AFFAIRS, DISASTER AND EMERGENCY SERVICES DIVISION, JOHN WALSH, ERV KENT, ED TINSLEY, PAUL GRIMSTAD, and JESSICA DAVIES, Defendants and Appellees

Submitted on Briefs April 15, 2015

Released for Publication July 15, 2015.

APPEAL FROM: District Court of the First Judicial District, In and For the County of Lewis and Clark, Cause No. DDV 2013-20. Honorable James P. Reynolds, Presiding Judge.

For Appellant: Palmer A. Hoovestal, Hoovestal Law Firm, PLLC, Helena, Montana.

For Appellees: Trevor L. Uffelman, Uffelman Law, PC, Helena, Montana; Curt Drake, Drake Law Firm, P.C., Helena, Montana.

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

OPINION

Page 673

[379 Mont. 366] JIM RICE, Justice

[¶1] Monique Lay (Lay) appeals from the order entered by the First Judicial District Court, Lewis and Clark County, granting summary judgment in favor of the State of Montana Department of Military Affairs, Disaster and Emergency Services Division, John Walsh, Erv Kent, Ed Tinsley, Paul Grimstad, and Jessica Davies (collectively, the Defendants) on Lay's claims alleging various torts. Lay appeals the District Court's conclusion that her claims were time-barred under the Montana Human Rights Act. We affirm.

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

[¶3]Did the District Court err by concluding that Lay's claims were time-barred as a matter of law under the Montana Human Rights Act?

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

[¶4] On January 11, 2012, Lay's position as public information officer for the Emergency Services Division (Division) of the State of Montana Department of Military Affairs was eliminated during implementation of the Division's reduction-in-force (RIF) policy. After elimination of her position, Lay filed a grievance with the Department of Labor and Industry Hearings Bureau (Bureau) in accordance with the State of Montana's grievance procedure.

[¶5] Lay alleged the Division terminated her in retaliation for her complaint that sexual favoritism[1] had occurred within the Division. Specifically, Lay contended she was discharged because she had complained that another Division employee, Jessica Davies, received favorable treatment for engaging in a sexual relationship with Division [379 Mont. 367] supervisor, Paul Grimstad. On March 21, 2012, the Bureau conducted a hearing on Lay's claims and thereafter dismissed Lay's complaint, concluding that the Division terminated Lay solely for ...


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