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State v. Ailer

Supreme Court of Montana

February 6, 2018

STATE OF MONTANA, Plaintiff and Appellee,
v.
MATTHEW RYAN AILER, Defendant and Appellant.

          Submitted on Briefs: December 6, 2017

         APPEAL FROM: District Court of the First Judicial District, In and For the County of Lewis And Clark, Cause No. CDC-2014-98 Honorable Kathy Seeley, Presiding Judge

          For Appellant: Nick K. Brooke, Colin M. Stephens, Smith & Stephens, P.C., Missoula, Montana

          For Appellee: Timothy C. Fox, Montana Attorney General, Ryan Aikin, Assistant Attorney General, Helena, Montana

          Daniel Guzynski, Mary E. Cochenour, Special Deputy Lewis and Clark County Attorneys, Helena, Montana

          OPINION

          Mike McGrath Chief Justice

         ¶1 This is an appeal from a First Judicial District Court order denying Matthew Ailer's (Ailer) motion in limine to exclude evidence at trial that his wages were being garnished, and an order requiring Ailer to pay $64, 025.34 in restitution plus statutory and administration fees. We affirm.

         ¶2 We restate the issues on appeal as follows:

1. Whether the District Court erred when it denied Ailer's ineffective assistance of counsel claim.
2. Whether evidence that Ailer's wages were being garnished is a "bad act" and inadmissible character evidence pursuant to M. R. Evid. 404(b).
3. Whether the District Court had substantial evidence to support its restitution order.

         PROCEDURAL AND FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         ¶3 In May 2011, Ailer was involved in an accident on Highway 93 while driving a van for Garden City Janitorial as one of its janitors. Garden City Janitorial has a workers' compensation insurance policy from the Montana State Fund (State Fund). On May 18, 2011, Ailer filed a claim with the State Fund, reporting that he injured his arm in the crash. Ailer asserted his symptoms worsened even after receiving continued medical treatment. Ailer was ultimately released to full-duty employment by Dr. Stephen Powell on October 4, 2011.

         ¶4 On October 6, 2011, Ailer began seeing a physical therapist, Kristen Green. Ailer asked Green for a note to give to his employer that would restrict him from lifting a heavy floor burnisher while at work. Green wrote a letter and Ailer gave it to his employer, Cory Miller. The day after receiving this letter, Miller trained Ailer and Ailer's coworker, ...


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