Motl v. BannanAnnotate this Case
In 2014, the Montana Commissioner of Political Practices (COPP) issued a decision finding sufficient evidence that Terry Bannan had violated Montana’s campaign practices laws during the 2010 primary election and that civil adjudication of the violations was warranted. The COPP forwarded the sufficiency decision to the Lewis and Clark County Attorney for consideration. Bannan filed an action for declaratory relief in the Gallatin County District Court alleging that the COPP acted unlawfully by referring its sufficiency findings to the Lewis and Clark County Attorney rather than the Gallatin County Attorney. The Lewis and Clark County Attorney waived his right to participate in the action, citing Mont. Code Ann. 13-37-124(2). Thereafter, the COPP filed an enforcement action against Bannan in the Lewis and Clark County District Court. Bannan filed a motion to dismiss, contending that the COPP was obligated to assert its claims in the Gallatin County declaratory judgment action. The district court in Lewis and Clark County denied Bannan’s motion to dismiss. Bannan appealed. The Supreme Court dismissed Bannan’s appeal as premature, holding that Bannan’s appeal must be characterized as one seeking relief from the denial of a motion to dismiss, and orders denying motions to dismiss are not appealable.