Public Land/Water Access Ass’n, Inc. v. JonesAnnotate this Case
In 2000, Defendant purchased 4,900 acres of property in Teton County known as Boadle Ranch. Thereafter, Defendant prohibited public use of the two main roads transecting the ranch. Public Lands/Water Access Association (PLWA), a Montana non-profit membership organization dedicated to promoting access to public-owned lands, successfully sought in the courts to regain access to these roads for public use. Defendant, however, had not yet removed the gates barricading entrance to the property. Here Defendant appealed the district court’s grant of supplementary declaratory relief to PLWA. PLWA cross-appealed the portion of the judgment denying its motion for reasonable attorney fees and costs. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed and remanded in part, holding that the district court (1) did not err in awarding money damages as supplemental declaratory relief under Mont. Code Ann. 27-8-313; (2) did not fail to consider ownership of Defendant’s railroad car and its suitability as a bridge in fashioning relief, in accordance with PLWA IV; and (3) erred by not awarding PLWA reasonable attorney fees and costs.