Submitted on Briefs: March 1, 2017
FROM: District Court of the Seventh Judicial District, In and
For the County of Dawson, Cause No. DV-14-049 Honorable David
Cybulski, Presiding Judge.
Appellants: Carol J. and Christian Koppenstein
(Self-Represented), Carlsbad, New Mexico.
Appellees: W. Anderson Forsythe, Moulton Bellingham PC,
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
Carol Koppenstein appeals from the District Court's
judgments in favor of plaintiffs Larry and Duane Neiffer. We
affirm. The issue on appeal is whether the District Court
properly entered judgment against Koppenstein.
The parties are all siblings, and their parents operated a
farm near Glendive, Montana. The parents divided their real
property into three parcels and established two trusts
intended to pass portions of the family farm to each of the
siblings upon the parents' deaths. A 1991 trust held the
property intended for Larry and Duane, while a 1993 trust
held property intended for Carol. The siblings' father
died in 1995 and their mother died in 2010.
Carol obtained her property pursuant to the 1993 trust.
However, since that time she has attempted to establish
control over the property that her parents left to her
brothers Larry and Duane. She declared herself to be the
"Successor Co-Trustee to Almeta Neiffer, Trustor Settlor
of the Jacob and Almeta Neiffer Revocable Living Trust"
and claims that her self-declared status gives her control
over the property that their parents left to Larry and Duane.
Carol makes these declarations despite the fact, as the
District Court found, that there is no basis in fact or law
for her position.
Carol filed a series of pro se lawsuits against her brothers
and others whom she accused of interfering with her efforts
to control her brothers' lands. She made threats and
filed liens against persons whom she believed opposed her
claims, and she filed deeds with the Dawson County Clerk and
Recorder purporting to transfer her brothers' land to
herself and her husband. She made embezzlement accusations
against the tenants who leased her brothers' croplands
and sued them, driving them off the property and out of
farming. She then leased her brothers' cropland to other
tenants and collected the rents. She has not prevailed in any
of her legal claims. In a separate action the District Court
consolidated most of her dozen or more lawsuits and dismissed
Larry and Duane brought the present action against Carol to
quiet title to the land their parents left to them and to
enjoin her from interfering with their use and
enjoyment.The District Court granted summary judgment
to the brothers, quieting their title to the property and
enjoining Carol from further interference. Thereafter the
District Court conducted a bench trial on the brothers'
claims for damages, subsequently entering judgments in their
favor for quiet title, damages, costs and attorney fees. The
District Court also affirmed a finding from a prior case that
Carol was a vexations litigant and enjoined her from filing
any further actions without prior court approval.
Carol's briefs on appeal consist of extended streams of
consciousness about the wrongs she alleges to have suffered
at the hands of numerous individuals, judges, attorneys, and
public employees. These accusations sometimes go back to
events that happened several decades ago. Her belief or
theory that she should control her brothers' property is
not supported by any facts or by any rational argument. She
has not shown any support for her contention that the
District Court's decisions in this case should be
reversed. We therefore affirm the District Court in all
orders and judgments entered in this case.
M. R. App. P. 19(3)(a) provides that the brothers are
entitled to their costs on appeal as the prevailing parties.
In addition, M. R. App. P. 19(5) provides that this Court may
award sanctions in an appeal that is "determined to be
frivolous, vexatious, filed for purposes of harassment or
delay, or taken without substantial or reasonable
grounds." We determine that this is such a case.
The District Court adopted the finding in a prior action
declaring Carol to be a vexations litigant. In the present
case, the District Court commented upon ...