Limitations Periods: Petition Filing

MONTANA SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

Boyd v. Zurich American Ins. Co. [03/16/10] 2010 MT 52 A claimant is not required to prove causation through medical expertise or opinion prior to pursuing a claim for benefits.

Boyd v. Zurich American Ins. Co. [03/16/10] 2010 MT 52 Where the insurer’s letter firmly established a denial of benefits and the existence of a “dispute over liability,” the two-year statute of limitations was triggered.
Preston v. Transportation Ins. Co. [12/01/04] 2004 MT 339 (No. 02-522) Petition for meditation before the Department of Labor pursuant to section 39-71-2401, MCA, et seq., is not commencement of an action for purposes of meeting the two-year statute of limitations for filing a claim to reopen a workers’ compensation settlement.
 
WORKERS' COMPENSATION COURT DECISIONS

Nelson v. Montana Schools Group Ins. Auth. [01/09/14] 2014 MTWCC 1 The Court concluded that a Petition for Hearing was timely filed after rejecting Respondent’s argument that its denial of Petitioner’s request to change treating physicians triggered the statute of limitations to run.  Denying a request to change treating physicians is not a categorical denial of benefits which would trigger the statute of limitations.

Bell v. Montana State Fund [08/02/11] 2011 MTWCC 23 Where an insurer accepted a claim and then later sent a letter denying a specific medical bill, the insurer cannot construe that letter as a general denial of liability and thereby raise a statute of limitations defense to other elements of the claim under § 39-71-2905(2), MCA.
Johnson v. Montana State Fund [07/22/11] 2011 MTWCC 22 Even though Respondent indicated that it would continue to investigate Petitioner’s claim, it denied his claim and consistently maintained its denial from a certain date forward. This denial firmly established the existence of a “dispute over liability” and triggered the two-year statute of limitations found in § 39-71-2905(2), MCA.
Dostal v. Uninsured Employers' Fund [12/22/10] 2010 MTWCC 38 The correct statutes of limitations to apply to a workers’ compensation claim are those statutes which were in effect on the date of the claimant’s industrial injury.  Where Petitioner was injured while the 1991 statutes were in effect, the limitations now found within § 39-71-520, MCA, do not apply because they did not exist in the 1991 WCA.
Bailey v. Uninsured Employers' Fund [12/14/10] 2010 MTWCC 34 Section 39-71-520(2), MCA, requires that a petition to this Court must be filed within 60 days of the mailing of the mediator’s report.  Rule 6(e), M.R.Civ.P., does not apply to this time limit because the statute does not rely on “service” as the basis for commencing the 60-day time period.  Therefore, delivering the report by mail does not add three additional days to the time limit.
Boyd v. Zurich [08/12/09] 2009 MTWCC 26 Section 39-71-2905(2), MCA, unambiguously requires that “a petition for hearing . . . must be filed within 2 years after benefits are denied.” Where a claim was denied on October 27, 2006, and the claimant obtained a medical opinion in support of his claim on June 19, 2008, and the statute was tolled for 79 days while the case was in mediation, the claimant had until January 14, 2008, to file a petition in this Court. Since the claimant did not petition this Court until May 8, 2009, his claim is time-barred.
Baker v. Transportation Ins. Co. [02/01/07] 2007 MTWCC 6 It would make little sense for this Court to require Petitioner to attempt to resolve a dispute concerning medical benefits when the entire claim was denied based on an ostensible running of the statute of limitations. It would have been futile for Petitioner to attempt any further piecemeal resolution of the claim after the claim was denied in its entirety based on a statute of limitations. Courts do not require exhaustion of administrative remedies when doing so would be futile. Mountain Water Co. v. Montana Dept. of Pub. Serv. Regulation, 2005 MT 84, 326 Mont. 416, 420, 110 P.3d 20, 22.
Auchenbach v. UEF [03/29/06] 2006 MTWCC 13 The Court found the elements of estoppel by silence and equitable estoppel satisfied where the UEF had a statutory duty to notify the mediation unit of its acceptance or rejection of a mediation recommendation within twenty-five days under § 39-71-520(2), MCA, failed to notify the mediation unit of its acceptance or rejection, let the sixty-day statute of limitation for filing a petition with the Court under § 39-71-2411(6), MCA, run on a pro sé claimant, and moved to dismiss based on the claimant’s failure to file her claim within sixty days of the mailing of the mediator’s recommendation.
Auchenbach v. UEF [03/29/06] 2006 MTWCC 13 As a fundamental matter of equity, the Court cannot allow a party to sit on its hands while a time limitation runs on a pro sé petitioner while, at the same time, ignoring its own affirmative statutory duty to act.
Re: Annetta Laundry [08/12/05] 2005 MTWCC 49 Where an insurer initially denies a claim but thereafter agrees to pay medical bills under section 39-71-615, MCA (1999), the subsequent agreement supercedes the original denial, in effect rescinding it, and places the claim in a status of being neither accepted nor denied. Therefore, until there is a second denial pursuant to section 39-71-615(3), MCA (1999), the two-year limitations period for filing a petition in the Workers’ Compensation Court does not commence running.
Kessel v. Liberty Northwest Ins. Corp. [08/04/05] 2005 MTWCC 45 In occupational disease cases, the two-year limitations period prescribed by section 39-71-2905(2), MCA (1995-2003), begins to run only after the medical panel evaluation required in section 39-72-602, MCA (2001), has been held, a panel report issued, and the insurer has denied liability after reviewing the report. The limitations period is not triggered by a pre-panel denial of liability.
Fleming v. International Paper [07/08/05] 2005 MTWCC 34 The statute requiring the claimant to petition the Workers’ Compensation Court for benefits within two years of an insurer’s denial of benefits, § 39-71-2905(2), MCA (1997-2003), is tolled during mediation. See Preston v. Transportation Ins. Co., 2004 MT 339, 324 Mont. 225, 102 P.3d 527.
Steck v. Liberty Mutual Northwest [3/10/03] 2003 MTWCC 17 Petition seeking medical benefits is time barred under section 39-71-2905(2), MCA, where commenced more than 2 years after the denial of the benefits. However, the bar does not extend to medical benefits which were not within the scope of the denial.
James v. UEF [10/22/02] 2002 MTWCC 51 Section 39-71-520, MCA, requires that following a benefits determination by the Uninsured Employers' Fund an aggrieved party must request mediation within 90 days, otherwise the determination is final. Since mediation is a prerequisite to filing a petition in the Workers' Compensation Court, 39-71-2401(1), -2408(1), and -2905, MCA, a failure to request mediation within 90 days bars the Court from reviewing the UEF determination.