April 18, 2024

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Missoula attorney Datsopoulos left legal legacy | Local News

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Missoula law firm Milton Datsopoulos, whose legal career dealt with issues ranging from student malfeasance to the core of Montana’s mining economic system, has died at 81.

“My sons Kyle and Kevin and their buddies again in superior school would usually say, ‘if you’re responsible, get in touch with Milty,” said Dennis Washington, founder of The Washington Firms, who regarded Datsopoulos his closest pal for 60 yrs. They also experienced a business romance that assisted catapult Washington Firms from a Missoula-based design firm to a multinational company organization.

Evan Barrett of Butte recalls that Datsopoulos performed a pivotal part as an adviser and confidante to Washington when Washington Organizations purchased Butte’s biggest copper mine from ARCO in 1985. The mine became Montana Assets and carries on to work as a key contributor to the regional overall economy.

ARCO had shut down the mines in Butte and instances were grim, Barrett said. Datsopoulos served aid and also participated in a meeting at his household in Missoula in August 1985. Folks joining the discussion about the opportunity mine obtain provided Washington, Barrett, Don Peoples Sr., U.S. Sen. John Melcher and Gov. Ted Schwinden. 

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Datsopoulos was also instrumental in promotions to carry the Butte Drinking water Company into general public ownership and Washington Companies’ acquisition of Montana Rail Hyperlink.

Datsopoulos died March 12. He was born in Missoula and attended Sentinel Large Faculty and the University of Montana. He graduated from the UM Legislation College with honors in 1965. 

Barrett explained Datsopoulos was remarkably regarded by Larry Elison, his former legislation professor at the University of Montana.

“(Elison) stated Milt was the most brilliant pupil he at any time had,” Barrett mentioned.

Datsopoulos shaped his own regulation organization in 1974, which inevitably became acknowledged as Datsopoulos, MacDonald and Lind P.C. There, he represented a wide array of large-profile, indigent and controversial customers.

He served as attorney for a team of plaintiffs who accused the Roman Catholic Diocese of Helena over many years of sexual abuse, resulting in a 2015 settlement for $20 million and commitments by the church to build whistleblower protection procedures.

That very same 12 months, he defended former University of Montana Grizzly football player Beau Donaldson in a rape scenario, in which Donaldson pleaded guilty.

Family members users observed his fondness for holding court just after do the job at Missoula’s Stockman’s Bar on Front Street, wherever “Milt was the only person to have his own button on the Stockman’s Bar income sign-up.” Missoula legal professional and Washington Basis Govt Director Mike Halligan recalled running into Datsopoulos there on an afternoon shortly following Halligan had remaining the point out Legislature in 2003.

“He requested, ‘How occur you have not applied for the government affairs at Washington Corp? You really should utilize.’” Halligan said. “I’d under no circumstances labored at a corporation — just as a non-public attorney or at the courthouse. He explained, ‘I’m likely to speak to Denny and have him just take a glance at you.’ At age of 52, it is difficult to get a job out here. I know his advice meant a whole lot.”

The Datsopoulos family members reveled in his colorful personal lifetime, noting, “All his lifetime, he drove Jaguars, but he by no means minded if they were stolen, which they were extra typically than you can rely on your fingers.” He maintained a appreciate of authentic Greek feta cheese, Scotch whisky, Frank Sinatra and the UM Grizzlies sports teams. In lieu of bouquets, the relatives requests donations in Milt’s title to the Grizzly Scholarship Affiliation. Milt’s assistance will be held on March 26, 2022, at Holy Spirit Episcopal Church at 130 South Sixth Avenue East in Missoula. On the net condolences may well be left at gardencityfh.com.

Duncan Adams contributed to this story.

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