MATTHEW M. ROSENDALE, Montana State Auditor, Plaintiff and Appellant,
VICTORY INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendant and Appellee.
Submitted on Briefs: September 19, 2018
District Court of the Sixteenth Judicial District, In and For
the County of Custer, Cause No. DV 18-18 Honorable Michael B.
Hayworth, Presiding Judge.
Appellant: Benjamin C. Tiller, Special Assistant Attorney
General, Office of the Commissioner of Securities and
Insurance, Montana State Auditor, Helena, Montana
Appellee: Linda M. Deola, Morrison, Sherwood, Wilson &
Deola, PLLP, Helena, Montana
Jeremiah Shea, Justice.
Appellant Matthew M. Rosendale (Commissioner) appeals the
Order of the First Judicial District Court, Lewis and Clark
County, granting Victory Insurance Company's (Victory)
Motion to Change Venue. We address the following issue:
Whether the District Court erred in granting
Victory's Motion to Change Venue on the basis that the
venue provision in § 33-2-1118, MCA, controlled over the
venue provision in § 25-2-124, MCA.
AND FACTUAL BACKGROUND
Victory is a Montana workers' compensation insurance
company with its principal office located in Custer County.
Keith Brownfield is Victory's president and chief
executive officer. The Judy Bretsch Trust (Trust) is a living
trust formed under the laws of South Dakota and is a Victory
On September 19, 2017, the Commissioner filed a Complaint in
the First Judicial District Court, Lewis and Clark County,
against Victory, Brownfield, and the Trust, seeking statutory
fines and to enjoin Victory pursuant to alleged violations of
Montana's Holding Company Act. The Commissioner argued
venue was proper in Lewis and Clark County because the
Commissioner sought statutory fines pursuant to §
25-2-124, MCA, and injunctive relief pursuant to §
On October 4, 2017, Victory filed a Motion to Change Venue.
In its Motion, Victory argued § 33-2-1118, MCA, requires
the injunction claim be filed in Custer County and
necessitates a transfer of the entire action to Custer
County. On February 28, 2018, the District Court granted
Victory's Motion to Change Venue, holding that §
33-2-1118, MCA, controlled and that venue was proper in
Custer County. The Commissioner appeals.
Whether a county is the proper venue for trial is an issue of
law involving the application of the venue statutes to the
pleaded facts. Farmers Union Ass'n v. Paquin,
2009 MT 305, ¶ 5, 352 Mont. 390, 217 P.3d 74. This
Court's review of a district court's grant or denial
of a motion for change of venue is ...