Arnold V Yellowtone Mountain Club Summary

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Summary judgment is appropriate when the moving party can show that there is no genuine issue of material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Cecil v. Cardinal Drilling Co., 244 Mont. 405, 409, 797 P.2d 232, 234 (1990); Mont. R. Civ. P. 56(c). A material fact involves the elements of the cause of action or defenses at issue to an extent that necessitates resolution of the issue by a trier of fact. Arnold v. Yellowstone Mountain Club, LLC, 2004 MT 284, ¶ 15, 323 Mont. 295, 100 P.3d 137. The moving party has the initial burden of proving no genuine issue of fact. Once this is met, the burden shifts to the opposing party to present material evidence that is not “mere conclusory or speculative,”
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Good cause is defined as “reasonable job-related grounds for dismissal based on a failure to satisfactorily perform job duties, disruption of the employer’s operation, or other legitimate business reason.” Mont. Code Ann. § 39-2-903(5). A legitimate business reason is, “. . . a reason that is neither false, whimsical, arbitrary or capricious. . .," and the reason must have some logical relationship to the needs of the business. Buck v. Billings Mont. Chevrolet, Inc., 248 Mont. 276, 281-82, 811 P.2d 537, 541 (1991). To overcome summary judgment for good cause, Chigurh must prove that he was neither let go for economic reasons nor for managerial discretion. However, the undisputed evidence proves that Chigurh was let go for both financial reasons (associated with not executing Wells’s agreement to return to his executive chef position) and for the discretion BWO has in terminating managerial employees. As a matter of law, Chigurh cannot overcome summary judgment because the undisputed facts prove BWO had good cause to terminate…show more content…
Unlike in Cecil where the record arguably showed the employer would not have suffered economic hardship, here the undisputed facts prove that BWO would have likely suffered immense economic hardship. If Wells would not have been reinstated as executive chef, the litigation costs alone would have greatly affected the economic vitality of BWO. On top of litigation costs, BWO would have likely had to pay Wells’s salary for an undetermined time, which at the time was $87,500 per year. Compl. ¶ 4, Feb. 12, 2016. Paying this amount alone would greatly have decreased the profitability of BWO, and coupled with the possibility of having to pay Wells an additional $100,000 for the full market value of his former stock, the only reasonable choice was to reinstate Wells as executive

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