<%@LANGUAGE="JAVASCRIPT" CODEPAGE="1252"%> Gary Galetti

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IN THE WORKERS' COMPENSATION COURT OF THE STATE OF MONTANA

1998 MTWCC 75A-1

WCC No. 9806-7991


GARY GALETTI

Petitioner

vs.

MONTANA POWER COMPANY

Respondent/Insurer/Employer.


ORDER DENYING MOTION TO AMEND PETITION

On October 5, 1998, petitioner filed a motion to amend his petition to add the following sentence at the end of paragraph six of his petition:

Respondent MPCís handling of this claim is also unreasonable in that it is part of a practice and pattern of improperly denying medical benefits.

Respondent has not replied within the time permitted by the Courtís rules, nonetheless the motion is denied.

Paragraph six of the petition already alleges that MPC unreasonably denied medical benefits. A penalty and attorney fees may be awarded only when the insurerís adjustment of a claim is unreasonable. §§ 39-71-612 and -2907, MCA. The petitioner must prove that the conduct was unreasonable in this case. If the conduct was not unreasonable the Court cannot award a penalty or attorney fees no matter how unreasonable the insurerís adjustment practices are in other cases. If the insurerís denial of benefits in this case is unreasonable, no further inquiry is necessary. The amounts awardable are not dependent on the degree of the culpability of the insurer. Thus, the insurerís adjustment practices in other cases is irrelevant.

SO ORDERED.

DATED in Helena, Montana, this 19th day of October, 1998.

(SEAL)


\s\ Mike McCarter
JUDGE


c: Mr. Chris J. Ragar
Mr. W. Wayne Harper
Submitted: October 19, 1998

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