A.C., a Minor Child, by her Guardian TANYA CHARLES, f/k/a/ TANYA BORKHOLDER, Plaintiff and Appellee,
DENNIS BORKHOLDER, Defendant and Appellant.
Submitted on Briefs: July 31, 2019
FROM: District Court of the Twenty-First Judicial District,
In and For the County of Ravalli, Cause No. DV-18-226
Honorable Jennifer B. Lint, Presiding Judge.
Appellant: Dustin M. Chouinard, Markette & Chouinard,
P.C., Hamilton, Montana
Appellee: Nathan G. Wagner, Datsopoulos, MacDonald &
Lind, P.C., Missoula, Montana
Jeremiah Shea 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
Dennis Borkholder appeals the Order of the Twenty-First
Judicial District Court, Ravalli County, granting A.C.'s
request, by and through her guardian, Tanya Charles (f/k/a
Tanya Borkholder), for a preliminary injunction to prevent
Borkholder from dissipating his assets while A.C.'s civil
claim for damages against him is pending. We affirm.
A.C. was born in 2001. A.C. lived with her mother, Tanya
Charles, and her stepfather, Borkholder. In 2017, A.C.
participated in a forensic interview at a child advocacy
center during which she disclosed details of sexual abuse she
suffered at the hands of Borkholder. A.C. stated that the
abuse began in 2008 and continued for seven years. Following
the interview, a Ravalli County Sheriff's detective
contacted Charles and informed her of A.C.'s disclosures.
Charles stated that she confronted Borkholder with the abuse
allegations, and Borkholder admitted that he had
inappropriate sexual contact with A.C. Following this
confrontation, Borkholder attempted to castrate himself using
a device designed to castrate animals. On May 3, 2018, the
State charged Borkholder with six counts of felony incest in
violation of § 45-5-507, MCA. Borkholder was arraigned
and pled not guilty.
On August 23, 2017, Charles petitioned to dissolve her
marriage to Borkholder. In pleadings, Charles alleged
Borkholder indicated that if convicted on the charges
involving A.C. and sentenced to prison, Borkholder intended
to turn over all of his assets to his adult children from a
previous marriage. On November 21, 2017, Borkholder filed a
Financial Disclosure detailing all of his assets and
On May 25, 2018, A.C., through Charles, filed a Motion for a
Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) and Preliminary Injunction.
A.C. asked the District Court to enjoin Borkholder from
"transferring, encumbering, or dissipating any of his
assets while this action is pending." On May 29, 2018,
the District Court issued a TRO and Order to Show Cause,
finding that there was a "significant risk that [A.C.]
would suffer immediate and irreparable injury if [Borkholder]
were able to transfer, encumber or otherwise dissipate his
On June 25, 2018, Borkholder filed a Response in Opposition
to [A.C.'s] Motion for TRO and Preliminary Injunction. In
the affidavit filed with his response, Borkholder attested
that he never threatened to transfer or dissipate his assets
to his other children. Borkholder attested that as part of
his estate planning, he executed a will in 2012 that
bequeathed to each of his five children a twenty percent
interest in any business interest and in all business
equipment. He stated that his communications with Charles
before and during dissolution proceedings "related to
preserving [his] business and related assets for [his]
children, not asset transfers related to the claims asserted
against [him] in this matter." Borkholder also detailed
the harm he believed he would suffer if the District Court
granted A.C.'s injunction, including that an injunction
would "severely impair or eliminate [his] ability to
defend [himself] against criminal charges" and would
"severely impair or eliminate [his] ability to comply
with the terms of the Marital and Property Settlement
Agreement . . . ."
On July 5, 2018, the District Court held a show cause hearing
to address the injunctive relief requested. During the
hearing, Charles testified that Borkholder told her that he
executed a new will, and that "if he should pass away
[A.C. and Charles] were in for a big surprise." Charles
testified that Borkholder intended to prevent A.C. and
Charles from receiving any of his assets. Charles'
counsel stated that Borkholder made financial transactions in
violation of the May TRO, and Charles testified that she
witnessed some of Borkholder's assets being sold.
Borkholder's counsel argued that A.C. failed to
demonstrate that a preliminary injunction was necessary.
Borkholder's counsel argued that Borkholder was bound by
his obligations under the Marital and Property Settlement
Agreement, and the agreement provided sufficient protection
from any potential asset transfers. Further, counsel argued
issues of liability had yet to be resolved and pointed out
that Borkholder entered a plea of "not guilty." The
District Court rejected Borkholder's arguments, stating,
"Mr. Borkholder has castrated himself. He's admitted
he did it. Whether he pleads guilty isn't the standard I
need to apply . . . ."
On September 7, 2018, Charles, in her capacity as
Borkholder's former spouse, moved to intervene to modify
the TRO to allow for disbursement of $80, 000 of
Borkholder's assets to satisfy an obligation under the
Final Decree dissolving Charles and Borkholder's
marriage. Charles alleged that when she asked Borkholder ...