Submitted on Briefs: January 4, 2017
FROM: District Court of the Thirteenth Judicial District, In
and For the County of Yellowstone, Cause No. DV 14-1185
Honorable Ingrid G. Gustafson, Presiding Judge
Appellant Donnie Nolan (Self-Represented), Deer Lodge,
AppelleeMark A. English, Deputy Yellowstone County Attorney,
McGrath Chief Justice
Pursuant to Section I, Paragraph 3(c), Montana Supreme Court
Internal Operating Rules, this case is decided by memorandum
opinion and shall not be cited and does not serve as
precedent. Its case title, cause number, and disposition
shall be included in this Court's quarterly list of
noncitable cases published in the Pacific Reporter and
Donnie Nolan (Nolan) appeals from two District Court
orders-an order granting a motion for judgment on the
pleadings dated September 25, 2015, and an order granting
summary judgment to Yellowstone County (County) dated March
8, 2016. We affirm.
Nolan was arrested in December 2012 and held at the
Yellowstone County Detention Facility. He was charged with
criminal possession of dangerous drugs and bail was set at
$100, 000.00. In April 2013, his bail was reduced and he was
released. However, Nolan was arrested on numerous occasions
prior to his January 2014 trial. A jury acquitted him of the
criminal possession of dangerous drugs charges. Nolan filed a
civil complaint against the County asserting excessive bail,
inadequate medical care, false imprisonment, and malicious
prosecution; he requested punitive damages. The County filed
a motion for partial judgment on the pleadings on the
excessive bail and punitive damages claims. The County also
filed a motion for summary judgment on the inadequate medical
care, false imprisonment, and malicious prosecution claims.
The District Court granted both motions. Nolan appeals.
We review for correctness a district court's grant of
judgment on the pleadings. N. Cheyenne Tribe v. Roman
Catholic Church, 2013 MT 24, ¶ 21, 368 Mont. 330,
296 P.3d 450; Firelight Meadows, LLC v. 3 Rivers Tel.
Coop., 2008 MT 202, ¶ 12, 344 Mont. 117, 186 P.3d
869. We review de novo a district court's grant of
summary judgment, applying the same criteria of M. R. Civ. P.
56 as a district court. Pilgeram v. GreenPoint Mortg.
Funding, Inc., 2013 MT 354, ¶ 9, 373 Mont. 1, 313
P.3d 839. We review a district court's conclusions of law
to determine whether they are correct and its findings of
fact to determine whether they are clearly erroneous.
Pilgeram, ¶ 9.
The Court will grant a motion for judgment on the pleadings
when after considering the allegations in a light most
favorable to the nonmoving party and it is clear that the
moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. M.
R. Civ. P. 12(c); Firelight Meadows, LLC, ¶ 11.
In Montana, determination of the amount of bail is a court
function; the county does not set bail. Section 46-9-106(1),
MCA. Therefore, the County is entitled to judgment as a
matter of law on the excessive bail claim.
Furthermore, punitive damages are not available against a
county. Section 2-9-105, MCA. The County is an entity
protected against exemplary and punitive damages by statute,
and as such is entitled to judgment as a matter of law in
Summary judgment shall be "rendered forthwith" if
the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and
admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any,
show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact
and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a
matter of law. M. R. Civ. P. 56(c)(3); Roe v. City of
Missoula, 2009 MT 417, ¶ 14, 354 Mont. 1, 221 P.3d
Nolan argues he received inadequate medical care, was falsely
imprisoned, and maliciously prosecuted. A person detained by
the State has the right to adequate medical care. Wilson
v. State, 2010 MT 278, ¶ 28, 358 Mont. 438, 249
P.3d 28. The State violates this right when it is
deliberately indifferent to the medical needs of a detainee.
Walker v. State, 2003 MT 134, ¶¶ 55-56,
316 Mont. 103, 68 P.3d 872. Here, Nolan's physician while
he was incarcerated in the Yellowstone County jail had been
the same physician he had since 2011, when he was not
incarcerated. In an affidavit, the physician reported Nolan
continued to receive medical care while in jail. Nolan did
not present any evidence of deliberate indifference to his
medical needs by the Yellowstone County jail. As such, there
is no issue of material fact. It is uncontested that Nolan
received the requisite medical care while confined in the
Yellowstone County jail and the County's motion for
summary judgment was properly granted.
To succeed with a false imprisonment claim the plaintiff must
prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the State
restrained him against his will, and that the restraint was
unlawful. Kichnet v. Butte-Silver Bow County, 2012
MT 68, ¶ 23, 364 Mont. 347, 274 P.3d 740. Nolan claims
he was falsely imprisoned because he was found not guilty.
Nolan was arrested for criminal possession of dangerous drugs
and the county attorney charged him with that crime. The
District Court found probable cause that Nolan committed that
offense based on the Affidavit in Support and Application for
Leave to File Information. Nolan was properly confined after
the District Court granted leave to file an information. The
County was required to detain him pursuant to the terms of
the District Court order. Kichnet, ¶ 23. The
existence of probable cause is a complete ...