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Spaulding v. Yellowstone County Sheriff

Supreme Court of Montana

April 3, 2018

JOHN EDWARD SPAULDING, Plaintiff and Appellant,
v.
YELLOWSTONE COUNTY SHERIFF, MIKE LINDER, Defendant and Appellee.

          Submitted on Briefs: March 14, 2018

          APPEAL FROM: District Court of the Thirteenth Judicial District, In and For the County of Yellowstone, Cause No. DV 16-0030 Honorable Rod Souza, Presiding Judge

          For Appellant: John Edward Spaulding, self-represented, Deer Lodge, Montana

          For Appellee: Scott D. Twito, Yellowstone County Attorney, Kevin Gillen, Deputy Yellowstone County Attorney, Billings, Montana

          OPINION

          INGRID GUSTAFSON, JUSTICE

         ¶1 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 Montana Reports.

         ¶2 John Edward Spaulding (Spaulding) appeals the Judgment entered in favor of Yellowstone County Sheriff Mike Linder (Linder) by the Thirteenth Judicial District Court pursuant to the court's grant of summary judgment in Linder's favor. We affirm.

         ¶3 On April 16, 2015, the Justice Court of Record, Yellowstone County, issued a Probation or Parole Detention order which provided: IT IS HEREBY ORDERED:

a. That the defendant is committed to the YELLOWSTONE COUNTY DETENTION CENTER for such time as will enable the YELLOWSTONE COUNTY SHERIFF to transport the defendant to the custody of the CASCADE COUNTY SHERIFF.
b. That the defendant be admitted to bail while awaiting transportation in the sum of $20, 000[] CASH or SURETY. Upon posting bail the YELLOWSTONE COUNTY SHERIFF shall release the defendant and forward the bond and a copy of this order to the Clerk of Court, 8TH Judicial District, CASCADE COUNTY, MONTANA . . . and JUDGE GREG PINSKI, A DISTRICT COURT JUDGE.
c. That the defendant shall appear before JUDGE GREG PINSKI . . . on or before APRIL 27, 2015, or within 10 days of release, in the courtroom of said judge . . . .

         ¶4 On January 11, 2016, Spaulding, appearing pro se, filed a civil suit against Linder, alleging Linder violated this order by failing to either release Spaulding from custody within 10 days of April 16, 2015, or transfer him to appear before the Cascade County District Court for the April 27, 2015 appearance.

         ¶5 Linder filed a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, pursuant to M. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6), in which he alleged Spaulding misread the Justice Court order. Linder suggested the District Court might convert his motion to a motion for summary judgment to consider the substance of the Justice Court order in determining whether Spaulding had set forth a viable claim. See Meagher v. Butte-Silver Bow City-Cty., 2007 MT 129, ¶ 16, 337 Mont. 339, 160 P.3d 552 ("Rule 12(b) allows the court to convert a motion to dismiss into a motion for summary judgment when matters outside the pleadings are presented to the court.").

         ¶6 The District Court converted Linder's motion to dismiss to a motion for summary judgment.[1] The District Court reasoned it was appropriate to convert the motion because Spaulding did not object to Linder's attachment of the Justice Court order to his brief, and Spaulding also attached documents outside the pleadings to his response brief. The District Court reviewed the Justice Court order, ...


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