Audit Services, Inc. v. Systad, 91-244

Docket NºNo. 91-244
Citation826 P.2d 549, 252 Mont. 62
Case DateFebruary 13, 1992
CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Montana

Page 549

826 P.2d 549
252 Mont. 62
AUDIT SERVICES, INC., a Montana Corporation, Plaintiff and
Appellant,
v.
Lloyd SYSTAD, Defendant, Respondent and Cross-Appellant.
No. 91-244.
Supreme Court of Montana.
Submitted on Briefs Nov. 14, 1991.
Decided Feb. 13, 1992.

Page 550

[252 Mont. 63] Dennis Tighe, Cure, Borer & Davis, Great Falls, for plaintiff and appellant.

Greg Skakles, Johnson, Skakles & Kebe, Anaconda, for defendant, respondent and cross-appellant.

WEBER, Justice.

The appellant, Audit Services, Inc. (Audit Services), assignee of claims owed to the Montana Operating Engineers' Trust, brought an action in the Third Judicial District, Deer Lodge County, for contributions allegedly owed by respondent, Lloyd A. Systad (Systad) to the Union's trust funds. The District Court found that Systad had no obligation under the Special Union Agreement to contribute to the trust. Audit Services appeals. Systad cross-appeals on the District Court's order denying attorney's fees. We reverse and remand.

We conclude the following issue is dispositive:

Did the District Court correctly conclude the labor agreement was clear on its face and did not apply to the disputed workers?

Atlantic Richfield Co. (ARCO) contracted with Cleveland Wrecking Company (Cleveland) to demolish buildings and structures at the Anaconda smelter site. Systad, subcontracted with Cleveland to cut salvaged metal from the demolition site into sizes suitable for rail transport from the site.

In July 1983, Systad entered into a compliance agreement with the Montana Operating Engineers, Local Union # 400 which incorporated by reference a Special Union Agreement signed by Cleveland and the Union. The Special Union Agreement required Systad to make contributions to the Operating Engineers' pension and vacation trusts for employers covered under the collective bargaining agreement.

Audit Services claims Systad failed to make $6992.81 in required contributions to the pension and vacation trusts on behalf of three workers: Ron Surina, James Tuss, and John Sladich. Systad claims Surina, Tuss, and Sladich were not covered by the collective bargaining agreement; thus, he was not required to make contributions on their behalf. The agreement provides:

This is an agreement covering the indicated unions and employees engaged in the demolition and salvage at the smelter in Anaconda, Montana and shall cover all employees of the specific classifications [252 Mont. 64] listed and shall be in effect for the term of the employer's work in connection with the project. This agreement does not include or cover any other work. (Emphasis added.)

The classifications listed within the agreement are as follows:
                Crane Oiler, Assistant to Engineer $ 9.58/hr.
                Shovel Oiler, Assistant to Engineer
...

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11 practice notes
  • Estate of Pruyn v. Axmen Propane, Inc., DA 08-0352.
    • United States
    • Montana United States State Supreme Court of Montana
    • 29 Diciembre 2009
    ...duty of the court is to apply the language as written." Carelli, 279 Mont. at 209, 926 P.2d at 761 (citing Audit Services, Inc. v. Systad, 252 Mont. 62, 65, 826 P.2d 549, 551 (1992)). An ambiguity exists when a contract is subject to two different interpretations, and under such circumstanc......
  • Blackfeet Tribe Reservation v. Blaze Construction, CV-95-082-GF-RFC.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Court (Montana)
    • 8 Agosto 2000
    ...416, 420 (1994). Similarly, whether an ambiguity exists in a contract is a question of law. Id., citing Audit Services, Inc. v. Systad, 252 Mont. 62, 826 P.2d 549, 551 The intent of parties to a contract is evaluated only when the agreement is not clear on its face. Id., citing Bain v. Will......
  • Windemere Homeowners Ass'n Inc. v. McCue, 99-328.
    • United States
    • Montana United States State Supreme Court of Montana
    • 30 Noviembre 1999
    ...the language as written." Carelli v. Hall (1996), 279 Mont. 202, 209, 926 P.2d 756, 761 (citing Audit Services, Inc. v. Systad (1992), 252 Mont. 62, 65, 826 P.2d 549, 551). If the terms of the contract are clear, "there is nothing for the courts to interpret or construe" and the court must ......
  • Estate of Hill, In re, 96-235
    • United States
    • Montana United States State Supreme Court of Montana
    • 6 Marzo 1997
    ...question of law whether ambiguity exists in a written agreement. Klawitter, 886 P.2d at 420 (citing Audit Services, Inc. v. Systad (1992), 252 Mont. 62, 65, 826 P.2d 549, 1. Did the District Court err in concluding that the disputed bank accounts were assets of Hill's probate estate and not......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
11 cases
  • Estate of Pruyn v. Axmen Propane, Inc., DA 08-0352.
    • United States
    • Montana United States State Supreme Court of Montana
    • 29 Diciembre 2009
    ...duty of the court is to apply the language as written." Carelli, 279 Mont. at 209, 926 P.2d at 761 (citing Audit Services, Inc. v. Systad, 252 Mont. 62, 65, 826 P.2d 549, 551 (1992)). An ambiguity exists when a contract is subject to two different interpretations, and under such circumstanc......
  • Blackfeet Tribe Reservation v. Blaze Construction, CV-95-082-GF-RFC.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Court (Montana)
    • 8 Agosto 2000
    ...416, 420 (1994). Similarly, whether an ambiguity exists in a contract is a question of law. Id., citing Audit Services, Inc. v. Systad, 252 Mont. 62, 826 P.2d 549, 551 The intent of parties to a contract is evaluated only when the agreement is not clear on its face. Id., citing Bain v. Will......
  • Windemere Homeowners Ass'n Inc. v. McCue, 99-328.
    • United States
    • Montana United States State Supreme Court of Montana
    • 30 Noviembre 1999
    ...the language as written." Carelli v. Hall (1996), 279 Mont. 202, 209, 926 P.2d 756, 761 (citing Audit Services, Inc. v. Systad (1992), 252 Mont. 62, 65, 826 P.2d 549, 551). If the terms of the contract are clear, "there is nothing for the courts to interpret or construe" and the court must ......
  • Estate of Hill, In re, 96-235
    • United States
    • Montana United States State Supreme Court of Montana
    • 6 Marzo 1997
    ...question of law whether ambiguity exists in a written agreement. Klawitter, 886 P.2d at 420 (citing Audit Services, Inc. v. Systad (1992), 252 Mont. 62, 65, 826 P.2d 549, 1. Did the District Court err in concluding that the disputed bank accounts were assets of Hill's probate estate and not......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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