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MAJOR VICTORY IN MONTANA SUPREME COURT

BOADLE ROAD BRIDGE CASE

MAJOR VICTORY IN MONTANA SUPREME COURT

BOADLE ROAD BRIDGE CASE

February 2013

In a not so surprising decision, the highest court in Montana has held for PLWA in a case where a landowner, Jones, used every legal and illegal maneuver to keep a public road closed - including tearing out a bridge. PLWA beat him in the Montana Supreme Court repeatedly, but he just keeps coming back with one illegal action after another, and one appeal after another. Finally, the court has, in effect, said enough is enough and sent the case back to District Court for final resolution of damages and court ordered action on the part of the landowner.

HISTORY - As readers and members are no doubt aware , the Boadle Road in Teton County has been an endless saga of the associated landowner, Jones, losing round after round in the courts and defying court rulings. The latest deal was that he tore out a bridge on a public right of way. PLWA went into action and sued for punitive damages, and reconstruction of the offending bridge.

In April of 2012, Judge Nels Swandal ruled that there was, in effect, no foul when Jones destroyed the bridge because the bridge was "personal property". PLWA strongly disagreed with this opinion . We do not see how any "improvement" permanently affixed to the surface of the earth could be deemed personal property, and what's more, how anyone could remove an improvement or bridge on a public right-of-way without the consent of the public - particularly when the Montana Supreme court had told him on two occasions to quit messing with the road and right-of-way.

In May of 2012, the decision was again appealed by PLWA to the Montana Supreme court. .As noted above, the high court threw out the Swandal decision in its entirety. The lower court now has some important decisions make. We anticipate a jury trial. .






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Public Land/Water Access Association Inc. or PLWA, is a citizen group organized and operated under the Montana nonprofit corporation act.

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Articles and Information on this site represent the opinion of the writer and are not intended as legal advice. Legal counsel may be needed in dealing with specific access situations and issues.
     
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