Billings Gazette, Billings, MT: A Wolf Point businessman has been ordered to pay $1.27 million to the estate of a Fort Peck tribal member who died in a house fire in 2004.
The suit against Marvin Presser, the owner of High Plains Motors, was filed by the parents and siblings of Sloan Follett. He and Sayra Mahto, who was renting a house at 221 Edgar St. in Wolf Point from Presser, were killed when the house was destroyed by a fire on April 27, 2004. The house was on the Fort Peck Reservation.
The tribal court had already ruled in 2009 that Presser was liable for the fire, and last week, after a day-and-a-half trial on damages, a six-person jury awarded the Follett estate a judgment of $1,271,000. Presser was also ordered to pay legal fees of $6,315 to the plaintiffs’ attorney, David Irving of Glasgow.
Presser said he intends to appeal the judgment and finding of liability to the Fort Peck Tribal Court of Appeals and beyond that to U.S. District Court if necessary.
See The Missoulian’s article “Fort Peck fire victim’s family awarded $1.2 million by tribal court”
See also Great Falls Tribune article “Tribal Court awards fire victim’s family $1.3M“