Settlements: Contracts

MONTANA SUPREME COURT DECISIONS
Gamble v. Sears, 2007 MT 131, 337 Mont. 354, 160 P.2d 537 A settlement agreement is a contract; therefore, the court applies contract law to determine whether an agreement is valid and enforceable.
Wiard v. Liberty Northwest Ins. Corp., 2003 MT 295 Noting that laws existing at the time a contract is formed become part of the contract, the Supreme Court held that a settlement reserving medical benefits to pro se claimant memorialized in DLI standardized petition form incorporated the 60-month limitation set forth in section 39-71-704(1)(d), MCA (1991).
 
MONTANA WORKERS' COMPENSATION COURT DECISIONS
Montana State Fund v. Simms [12/29/10] 2010 MTWCC 40 Settlement agreements are contracts and must be construed and enforced as such.  A settlement agreement is binding at the time the parties agree to settle the case and need not have Department approval before it is a legally binding settlement agreement.
Narum v. Liberty Northwest Ins. Corp. [06/04/08] 2008 MTWCC 30 The full and final settlement entered into by the parties is a contract and governed by contract law. Where the settlement agreement provides for medical benefits to be left open and acknowledges the parties’ awareness that a hip replacement may become necessary, Respondent is liable for further medical benefits related to Petitioner’s left hip.
Murer v. Montana State Fund [10/03/06] 2006 MTWCC 32 Although the contract was not enforceable until after Department of Labor and Industry approval, it was nevertheless binding on the parties prior to DLI’s determination. Therefore, the date on which the parties entered into the settlement agreement should be used to determine the party’s eligibility for benefits.
Fahrenbruck v. Montana Power [4/24/03] 2003 MTWCC 29 Where there is consideration for a full and final compromise settlement which releases the insurer from further liability for permanent partial disability benefits, that settlement bars any claim for such benefits absent proof of mutual mistake of fact or law, or some other legal ground which would permit the Court to set aside the agreement.
Crawford v. Liberty [2/05/02] 2002 MTWCC 7 Settlement agreements are contracts. Kienas v. Peterson, 191 Mont. 325, 328, 624 P.2d 1, 2 (1980). As a general proposition, upon rescission of a contract, each party is required to restore everything of value received from the other. 28-2-1713, MCA.