Emanuel v. Great Falls School Dist., DA 08-0282.

Citation2009 MT 185, 209 P.3d 244, 351 Mont. 56
Case DateMay 27, 2009
CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Montana
209 P.3d 244
2009 MT 185
351 Mont. 56
Patty EMANUEL and Patty Emanuel as Parent and Natural Guardian of Andrew Emanuel, Plaintiff and Appellant,
v.
GREAT FALLS SCHOOL DISTRICT, Alice Robbins (aka Alice Horak), Merritt Robbins, Daniel Robbins, Brandon Sand and Does A Through Z Inclusive, Defendants and Appellees.
No. DA 08-0282.
Supreme Court of Montana.
Submitted on Briefs February 19, 2009.
Decided May 27, 2009.

[209 P.3d 246]

For Appellant: Randy Lee Tarum; Tarum Law Office; Great Falls, Montana.

For Appellees: David C. Dalthorp; Gough, Shanahan, Johnson & Waterman, PLLP; Helena, Montana.

Justice W. WILLIAM LEAPHART delivered the Opinion of the Court.


¶ 1 Patricia Emanuel, et al. (hereinafter "Emanuel") appeals from the Order of the Eighth Judicial District Court, Cascade County, granting summary judgment in favor of the Great Falls School District, et al. (hereinafter "GFSD"); and from the court's order denying her motion to add Dick Kloppel as a party defendant. We affirm.

¶ 2 We consider the following issues on appeal:

¶ 3 1. Did the District Court err in granting summary judgment in favor of GFSD on Emanuel's negligence claim on the basis that GFSD owed no duty to Emanuel?

¶ 4 2. Did the District Court abuse its discretion in denying Emanuel's motion to add Dick Kloppel as a party defendant?

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

¶ 5 Daniel Robbins (hereinafter "Robbins") started his freshman year at CMR High School in Great Falls, Montana, in the fall of 2001. In January 2002, he turned in a typing assignment containing his New Year's Resolution List. The list contained several violent themes, including a resolution to "[g]et a drivers license so I can do those horrible things people like to read about in the paper." Robbins's teacher brought the list to the attention of the administration, resulting in Robbins's mother being called in for a conference with Robbins and the school counselor, Jesse O'Hara (hereinafter "O'Hara"). This meeting did not end well, and resulted in Robbins's mother stating that O'Hara should be removed as Robbins's counselor. A subsequent meeting was conducted with Principal Kloppel, Associate Principal Gregoire, Robbins, and both his parents. At the meeting, Kloppel expressed his opinion that while the list was inappropriate and must be taken seriously, Robbins was a normal kid. Both the administration and Robbins's parents left the meeting with the impression that the list was a teenage attempt at black humor, and that Robbins understood it was inappropriate. There were no allegations that the list contained any specific threats. The meeting resulted in the participants agreeing to monitor Robbins's grades, and try to get him into some different classes.

¶ 6 Following the meeting, it was O'Hara's impression that he was no longer Robbins's counselor, and that Kloppel, who had a masters degree in counseling, would be dealing with Robbins. However, neither Kloppel nor anyone else at CMR took any subsequent action with respect to Robbins. Approximately seventeen months later, on the evening of May 27, 2003, Robbins purposely ran over Emanuel as she was jogging past CMR High School, on the way from her home to the store. The passenger in Robbins's vehicle, Brandon Sand, told police that when Robbins spotted Emanuel jogging, he planned to run her over, and then engage in necrophilia with her corpse.

¶ 7 Emanuel filed suit against GFSD, alleging, in pertinent part, that GFSD was negligent in its handling of Robbins subsequent to its discovery of the resolution list, and was thus liable for her injuries. GFSD moved for summary judgment, asserting that it was under no duty to protect Emanuel from the criminal acts of a third person, here Robbins. The District Court agreed, finding that because there was no "special relationship" between GFSD and Robbins or GFSD and Emanuel, GFSD was under no duty to protect Emanuel from Robbins. The court ultimately granted summary judgment in GFSD's favor.

¶ 8 Emanuel also filed a Motion for Leave to File Second Amended Complaint, seeking to add Kloppel as a named defendant. The District Court denied this motion, finding

209 P.3d 247

that such an amendment would be futile because: 1) Kloppel was entitled to qualified immunity as a school district employee; and 2) because Emanuel sought to sue Kloppel in his official capacity, he was not an indispensable party pursuant to M.R. Civ. P. 19(a). Emanuel appeals from these orders.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

¶ 9 We review a district court's grant of summary judgment de novo, and apply the same criteria applied by the district court pursuant to M.R. Civ. P. 56(c). Pennaco Energy, Inc. v. Mont. Bd. of Envtl. Review, 2008 MT 425, ¶ 17, 347 Mont. 415, 199 P.3d 191. A district court may grant summary judgment only when no genuine issues of...

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10 practice notes
  • Md. Cas. Co. v. Asbestos Claims Court, OP 19-0051
    • United States
    • Montana United States State Supreme Court of Montana
    • March 25, 2020
    ...at issue. Gourneau ex rel. Gourneau v. Hamill , 2013 MT 300, ¶ 12, 372 Mont. 182, 311 P.3d 760 ; Emanuel v. Great Falls Sch. Dist. , 2009 MT 185, ¶ 13, 351 Mont. 56, 209 P.3d 244 ; Fisher , ¶¶ 21-26 ; Prindel , ¶¶ 34-43 ; LaTray , ¶¶ 24-26 ; Lopez , ¶¶ 26-31 ; Mang , 153 Mont. at 437-38, 45......
  • Wittman v. City of Billings, DA 20-0609
    • United States
    • Montana United States State Supreme Court of Montana
    • July 5, 2022
    ...rel. Gourneau v. Hamill, 2013 MT 300, ¶ 12, 372 Mont. 182, 311 P.3d 760 (internal citations omitted); Emanuel v. Great Falls Sch. Dist., 2009 MT 185, ¶¶ 13-14, 351 Mont. 56, 209 P.3d 244 (internal citations omitted); Fisher v. Swift Transp. Co., 2008 MT 105, ¶¶ 21 and 23-26, 342 Mont. 335, ......
  • Wittman v. City of Billings, DA 20-0609
    • United States
    • Montana United States State Supreme Court of Montana
    • July 5, 2022
    ...rel. Gourneau v. Hamill , 2013 MT 300, ¶ 12, 372 Mont. 182, 311 P.3d 760 (internal citations omitted); Emanuel v. Great Falls Sch. Dist. , 2009 MT 185, ¶¶ 13-14, 351 Mont. 56, 209 P.3d 244 (internal citations omitted); Fisher v. Swift Transp. Co. , 2008 MT 105, ¶¶ 21 and 23-26, 342 Mont. 33......
  • Advocates for Sch. Tr. Lands v. State, DA 21-0314
    • United States
    • Montana United States State Supreme Court of Montana
    • March 8, 2022
    ...¶7 We review a district court's denial of a motion to amend a complaint for abuse of discretion. Emanuel v. Great Falls Sch. Dist., 2009 MT 185, ¶ 18, 351 Mont. 56, 209 P.3d 244. But we review de novo whether the movant's proposed amendment would be futile. United States v. United Healthcar......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
10 cases
  • Wittman v. City of Billings, DA 20-0609
    • United States
    • Montana United States State Supreme Court of Montana
    • July 5, 2022
    ...rel. Gourneau v. Hamill , 2013 MT 300, ¶ 12, 372 Mont. 182, 311 P.3d 760 (internal citations omitted); Emanuel v. Great Falls Sch. Dist. , 2009 MT 185, ¶¶ 13-14, 351 Mont. 56, 209 P.3d 244 (internal citations omitted); Fisher v. Swift Transp. Co. , 2008 MT 105, ¶¶ 21 and 23-26, 342 Mont. 33......
  • Md. Cas. Co. v. Asbestos Claims Court, OP 19-0051
    • United States
    • Montana United States State Supreme Court of Montana
    • March 25, 2020
    ...at issue. Gourneau ex rel. Gourneau v. Hamill , 2013 MT 300, ¶ 12, 372 Mont. 182, 311 P.3d 760 ; Emanuel v. Great Falls Sch. Dist. , 2009 MT 185, ¶ 13, 351 Mont. 56, 209 P.3d 244 ; Fisher , ¶¶ 21-26 ; Prindel , ¶¶ 34-43 ; LaTray , ¶¶ 24-26 ; Lopez , ¶¶ 26-31 ; Mang , 153 Mont. at 437-38, 45......
  • Wittman v. City of Billings, DA 20-0609
    • United States
    • Montana United States State Supreme Court of Montana
    • July 5, 2022
    ...rel. Gourneau v. Hamill, 2013 MT 300, ¶ 12, 372 Mont. 182, 311 P.3d 760 (internal citations omitted); Emanuel v. Great Falls Sch. Dist., 2009 MT 185, ¶¶ 13-14, 351 Mont. 56, 209 P.3d 244 (internal citations omitted); Fisher v. Swift Transp. Co., 2008 MT 105, ¶¶ 21 and 23-26, 342 Mont. 335, ......
  • Advocates for Sch. Tr. Lands v. State, DA 21-0314
    • United States
    • Montana United States State Supreme Court of Montana
    • March 8, 2022
    ...¶7 We review a district court's denial of a motion to amend a complaint for abuse of discretion. Emanuel v. Great Falls Sch. Dist., 2009 MT 185, ¶ 18, 351 Mont. 56, 209 P.3d 244. But we review de novo whether the movant's proposed amendment would be futile. United States v. United Healthcar......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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