Rafes v. Butts, DA 20-0485

CitationDA 20-0485
Case DateSeptember 07, 2021
CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Montana

2021 MT 225N

DAVID RAFES, Plaintiff and Appellant,

ANDY BUTTS, Defendant and Appellee.

No. DA 20-0485

Supreme Court of Montana

September 7, 2021

Submitted on Briefs: August 18, 2021

Appeal From: District Court of the Sixth Judicial District, In and For the County of Park, Cause No. DV 2019-74 Honorable Brenda Gilbert, Presiding Judge

For Appellant: David Rafes, Self-represented, Bozeman, Montana

For Appellee: Page C. Dringman, Dringman Law Firm, PLLC, Big Timber, Montana



¶1 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 Montana Reports.

¶2 David Rafes (Rafes) appeals the August 28, 2020 Decision and Order Granting Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment from the Sixth Judicial District Court, Park County, concluding Rafes's claims to be barred by time, as well as principles of res judicata and claim preclusion. We affirm and find no error by the District Court in granting Butts's Motion for Summary Judgment.

¶3 We review a district court's decision to award summary judgment de novo. Babcock Place L.P. v. Berg, Lilly, Andriolo & Tollefsen, P.C., 2003 MT 111, ¶ 14, 315 Mont. 364, 69 P.3d 1145. Summary judgment is only proper when "the pleadings, the discovery and disclosure materials on file, and any affidavits show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." M. R. Civ. P. 56(c)(3). The party moving for summary judgment has the initial burden of proving there are no genuine issues of material fact that would permit the non-moving party to succeed on the merits of the case. Babcock Place L.P., ¶ 15. If the moving party meets this burden, then the non-moving party must provide substantial evidence that raises a genuine issue of material fact in order to avoid summary judgment in favor of the moving party. Babcock Place L.P., ¶ 15.

¶4 Rafes filed the current Complaint against Andy Butts (Butts) on May 21, 2019, alleging fraud and negligence in connection with the construction of the log home located in Ken Dan Acres outside of McLeod, Montana. Rafes contracted with Butts in 1999 to build the log home. The home was initially planned to be built in Colorado, but the height design of the home exceeded subdivision limitations. The home was then constructed in Montana. It is unclear exactly when the construction was completed but such occurred prior to it being listed for sale in 2003. The Complaint asserts Butts deceived Rafes as to what the actual value of the home would be in Montana when it was completed and deceived Rafes into relocating the home to Montana by leading him to believe the height design of the home could not be changed. Rafes also asserts Butts was negligent in failing to obtain engineering requirements to build the home in Montana. Butts sought summary judgment, asserting the claims to be barred by time, res judicata, and claim preclusion.

¶5 Rafes previously...

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