Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Adams v. Two Rivers Apartments, LLLP

Supreme Court of Montana

July 9, 2019

JENNI ADAMS and her minor children DILLON THOMAS, DENVER THOMAS and KENNEDY ADAMS; KAREN DEWALT and her minor children KEENAN DEWALT, TREVOR WOLFF and OSCAR WOLFF; SHAWNA RICH; RYAN HOSTETLER and his minor children JESSY HOSTETLER and DEMON HOSTETLER; BONNIE FOSTER and her minor children AYDEN RAEL and SHAUNA RAEL; MARK BITTERMAN; FRANK THOLT; KRYSTAL CHATTERLEY and her minor children LILLIE RAEDEL and ARIANA CHATTERLEY; JAROD DANIELS and his minor children SHAYNNE FIXEL, JESSE DANIELS and TANNER DANIELS; DEBRA MOORE; LESHA WHITE and her minor children DARYL WHITE and LESHA WHITE and PSALMS WHITE, Plaintiffs,
v.
TWO RIVERS APARTMENTS, LLLP, HRC TWO RIVERS, LLC, HRC COTTAGES INC., THE RICHMAN GROUP, USA INTERNATIONAL HOUSING TAX CREDIT FUND and JOHN DOES 1-5, Defendants. HRC TWO RIVERS, LLC., HRC COTTAGE INC., USA INSTITUTIONAL TWO RIVERS, LLC., Third-Party Plaintiffs and Appellants,
v.
AULTCO CONSTRUCTION, INC., Respondent, Third Party Defendant, Appellee and Cross Appellant.

          Submitted on Briefs: May 15, 2019

          APPEAL FROM: District Court of the Fourth Judicial District, In and For the County of Missoula, Cause No. DV-18-39 Honorable Robert L. Deschamps, III, Presiding Judge

          For Appellants: Michael O'Brien, St. Peter Law Office, PC, Missoula, Montana

          For Appellee: Christopher W. Froines, Froines Law Office, PC, Missoula, Montana

          OPINION

          BETH BAKER JUSTICE

         ¶1 HRC Two Rivers LLC and HRC Cottages Inc. (collectively the "General Partners") appeal the Fourth Judicial District Court, Missoula County, order dismissing their Third-Party Complaint against Aultco Construction Inc. as barred by the principles of res judicata and collateral estoppel. The General Partners assert that a prior suit by their partnership entity does not preclude the General Partners from pursuing their claims against Aultco. We affirm.

         PROCEDURAL AND FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         ¶2 Two Rivers Apartments LLLP (Two Rivers Apartments) contracted with Aultco Construction Inc. (Aultco) to build an eight-plex apartment building in St. Regis. HRC Two Rivers LLC and HRC Cottages Inc. are general partners of Two Rivers Apartments. USA Institutional Two Rivers LLC is a limited partner of Two Rivers Apartments.[1] In 2015, Two Rivers Apartments filed suit against Aultco, alleging negligent construction resulting in mold in the attic of the apartments (the "Two Rivers case"). After two years, the parties signed a mutual release and settlement agreement and agreed to dismiss with prejudice. The District Court so ordered.

         ¶3 The apartment tenants then filed suit against Two Rivers Apartments and the General Partners, alleging that Two Rivers Apartments failed to give them the statutorily required disclosure of mold testing and its results. The General Partners filed a Third-Party Complaint against Aultco for contribution and indemnity if the General Partners were found liable for damages caused by Aultco's negligent conduct.

         ¶4 Aultco moved to dismiss the Third-Party Complaint based on res judicata. The District Court granted Aultco's motion on the grounds of either res judicata or collateral estoppel. Reasoning that Aultco's negligence in this case has been litigated, settled, and dismissed with prejudice, and considering that the entities are so intertwined as effectively to be one, the court held that res judicata and collateral estoppel had been satisfied.

         STANDARDS OF REVIEW

         ¶5 We review de novo a district court's ruling on a M. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss. W. Sec. Bank v. Eide Bailly, LLP, 2010 MT 291, ¶ 18, 359 Mont. 34, 249 P.3d 35. We also review de novo a district court's interpretation and application of a statute; the court's application of claim preclusion or issue preclusion is a question of law that we review for correctness. Brilz v. Metro. Gen. Ins. Co., 2012 MT 184, ¶ 13, 366 Mont. 78, 285 P.3d 494.

         DISCUSSION

         ¶6 The District Court concluded that, because of their interest in Two Rivers Apartments, the General Partners had the opportunity to be included as plaintiffs in the Two Rivers case but chose not to be. The court reasoned that the President of both Two Rivers Apartments and of each of the General Partners, Jim Morton, testified in his deposition that he was the person who made the decision to bring the previous lawsuit against Aultco-choosing whom to include as parties in the original suit but providing no explanation why the General Partners were not named. The District Court concluded further that the General Partners "are so intertwined with Two Rivers [Apartments] as to be the same entity." Because "[t]he matter of Aultco's negligence in ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.