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Kyle Gray

Of Counsel

401 North 31st Street, Suite 1500, Billings, MT 59101

Kyle Gray specializes in complex civil litigation and appellate advocacy with an emphasis on environmental litigation, including environmental insurance coverage litigation.

She has participated in Superfund trial litigation and has trial experience in a variety of environmental, property, and business matters. Kyle has extensive appellate experience, including a wide array of cases briefed or argued to the United States Supreme Court, the Ninth and Tenth Circuit Federal Courts of Appeals, and the Montana and Wyoming Supreme Courts.

Prior to joining Holland & Hart, Kyle clerked for United States District Court Chief Judge Clarence A. Brimmer.

Experience

  • Environmental and natural resources litigation 
  • Environmental insurance coverage litigation 
  • Other insurance coverage litigation 
  • Superfund trial litigation 
  • Appellate work 
  • Navigable waters title disputes 
  • Natural resource property tax disputes 
  • Bank bad faith litigation 
  • Products liability litigation 
  • Constitutional disputes

Client Results

  • PPL Montana, LLC v. Montana, __ U.S. __, 132 S.Ct.1215 (2012). In a title dispute between a power company and the State of Montana over ownership of the beds and banks of the upper Missouri, Madison, and Clark Fork rivers, the United States Supreme Court reversed a $41 million judgment for back rent to Montana against our client , ruled that the State does not own the lands under five hydroelectric power sites along the Great Falls reach of the Missouri River, and reversed and remanded for further proceedings on the issue of navigability at the time of Montana’s statehood in 1889 and corresponding title to the riverbeds under five other hydroelectric dams.

  • Britton v. Brown, 2016 MT ISSN, 2016 WL 34330924 (Mont. 2016). In a partition action involving property on Flathead Lake, the Montana Supreme Court affirmed the lower court regarding a septic easement contested between family members, in favor of our clients.

  • Cloud Peak Resources, LLC v. Montana Department of Revenue, 340 P.3d 1258 (Mont. 2015). In a dispute regarding the appropriate methodology for determining the market value of coal shipped by rail, the Montana Supreme Court disagreed with the Montana Department of Revenue and held that it had incorrectly imputed revenue from non-arms’ length sales contracts in a manner that had improperly increased the amount of property tax assessed against the coal company,  and ordered a refund in favor of our client.

  • Pacific Hide & Fur Depot v. Great American Ins. Co., 23 F.Supp.3d 1208 (D.Mont. 2014). In a dispute over insurance coverage for cleanup costs incurred at an asbestos site subject to Montana’s Comprehensive Environmental Cleanup and Responsibility Act (“CECRA”), the Montana federal court held that administrative proceedings commenced by the State of Montana under CECRA triggered the insurer’s duty to defend its insured, a potentially liable party, and that the insurer’s denial of our client’s claim was a breach of contract entitling our client to the full amount of its CECRA consent decree payment, defense costs and fees, and to its attorney fees incurred in this coverage litigation.

  • Pacific Hide & Fur Depot v. Great American Ins. Co., 2013 WL 5652045 (D.Mont. 2013). In a dispute over insurance coverage at a site containing asbestos wastes, the court denied summary judgment motions filed by three insurers against our client seeking an early trigger date for their statute of limitations defenses, and ruled instead in our client’s favor that Montana’s breach of contract limitations period does not commence at notice of the existence of the contamination, but at the earliest on the date our client’s defense demand was denied by its insurers.

  • Over the course of her career, Kyle has been involved in the litigation and settlement of a wide variety of complex disputes between private citizens and their governments, including:

    • Bresnan Communications, LLC v. State of Montana, 315 P.3d 921 (Mont. 2014) – in a dispute regarding state and federal communications taxes and fees appealed by the Department of Revenue to the Montana Supreme Court, after filing a petition for writ of certiorari in the United States Supreme Court (with co-counsel Bancroft PLLC), and preparing a Citizens Initiative (I-172) for the 2014 Montana ballot, this matter was settled to the mutual satisfaction of the parties. 
    • State of Montana v. Atlantic Richfield Company, No. CV-89-39-BU (D. Mont.) – in decades-long federal litigation regarding the environmental consequences of the activities of the Anaconda Company and its century-long development of the copper and other natural resources from “the richest hill on earth,” this Superfund litigation involving the State of Montana, the United States and the corporate successors of the Anaconda Company was settled to the mutual satisfaction of the parties in a Consent Decree entered by the federal district court in 2008. 
    • Marshall v. State of Montana, 975 P.2d 325 (Mont. 1999) – in a dispute over the constitutionality of an initiative (CI-75) on the 1998 Montana ballot requiring a super-majority legislative vote for raising taxes, Kyle represented the ACLU of Montana and presented argument, along with the Governor of Montana and the Montana Solicitor, to the Montana Supreme Court. The Court later agreed with the Petitioners and declared the initiative unconstitutional under several provisions of the Montana Constitution.
    • Many Horses v. State of Montana, No. CV-93-37-BU (D. Mont.) – in a class action dispute between women inmates incarcerated in the Montana Women’s Correctional Center and the State of Montana filed by the ACLU National Prison Project, after years of litigation the matter was settled to the mutual satisfaction of the parties, including the agreement of the State of Montana to construct a new women’s correctional facility in Billings. Kyle was Montana counsel for the women inmates in the early 1990’s litigation, and again represented women inmates in the late 2000’s in federal court litigation alleging gender discrimination. This latter matter also settled, with the State of Montana agreeing in 2013 to allow qualifying female inmates to attend the prison-avoidance “boot camp” program that the Department of Corrections had earlier limited to male inmates only. Fish v. Montana, No. CV 11-0099-BLG (D. Mont.).

News

Publications

Education

Bar Admissions

Court Admissions

Recognition

  • The Best Lawyers in America© Lawyer of the Year, Appellate Practice- Billings, 2018
  • The Best Lawyers in America© Appellate Practice, 2011-2019; Insurance Law, 2016-2019
  • Bar Register of Preeminent Women Lawyers based on Martindale-Hubbell®, AV Preeminent® Rating, 2013 
  • Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, Natural Resources & Environment 
  • Frank I. Haswell Award for Outstanding Contribution to Montana Lawyer Magazine, Honorable Mention, 2016

Professional and Civic Affiliations

  • ACLU of Montana, Litigation Committee, Member 
  • American Bar Association, Environment, Energy and Resources Section, Member
  • Montana Bar Association, Women’s Law Section, Member 
  • Wyoming Bar Association, Member
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