Citizens File Suit Against City of Billings
by Tim Ravndal
Action was filed in district court against the City of Billings for allegedly charging customers fees outside the law on their utility bills.
Six district judges in Yellowstone County have recused themselves from hearing a case filed in their jurisdiction. The judges are not required to disclose any reason for recusing themselves from hearing a case in Montana. Never the less, the city made a statement to the court that all six judges live within the city limits and would therefore be potential plaintiffs creating a conflict of interest.
One other judge in the district, Don Harris, was removed from the case by the city after initially hearing it. However, the city filed a challenge against Harris, so the case has now been remanded to the Eighth Judicial District court before Judge Greg Pinski in Great Falls, Montana.
When seven judges are removed from hearing a case we need to ask more questions.
A half dozen Billings residents recognized erroneous charges or franchise fees were being collected from the rate payers on their utility bills.
Attorney Matthew G. Monforton and co-counsel Kristen Juras are leading the charge for accountability on behalf of the people. As this could result in a class action suit against the city of Billings Montana those injured could be eligible for millions of dollars in relief.
Tim Ravndal, with Redoubt News, talks to Attorney Monforton about the case. Explaining that the case revolves around an illegal sales tax on services they provide to their citizens, and how the Montana Supreme Court has routinely struck down this type of taxation.
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