Settlements: Construing


Newlon v. Teck American, Inc. [11/10/15] 2015 MT 317, 381 Mont. 378, 360 P.3d 1134 The tenet of freedom of contract allows a party to a settlement agreement to make a promise that is durable beyond the limits of the 60-months rule.  Therefore, where the parties agreed to settle the claimant’s claim for $25,000 and lifetime medical benefits for his knee and back condition, the claimant was entitled to those benefits notwithstanding a gap of more than 60 months in his treatment.

Murer v. State Compensation Ins. Fund, 283 Mont. 210, 942 P.2d 69 (1997)
(No. 95-542)
Where claimant’s counsel arguing that settlement agreements were ambiguous could have inserted clarifying language, any ambiguities in the agreement must be strictly construed against the party who created the agreement.
Metzler v. Plum Creek [4/9/03] 2003 MTWCC 26 Where settlement agreement is plain on its face, it will be enforced as written.
Broeker v. State Fund [5/3/02] 2002 MTWCC 25 The initial rules governing the interpretation of contracts are similar to those applicable to statutory interpretation. As with statutes, if a contract is clear and unambiguous, it must be interpreted and applied as written.
Broeker v. State Fund [5/3/02] 2002 MTWCC 25 Since a settlement agreement is a contract, the agreement is to be interpreted in accordance with rules governing interpretation of contracts.
Broeker v. State Fund [5/3/02] 2002 MTWCC 25 Where the terms of a settlement agreement expressly encompass only the issues involved in a case in litigation, the settlement applies only to those issues.