Statutes and Statutory Interpretation: Procedural

Hand v. UEF [11/30/04] 2004 MT 336 (No. 03-346) WCC erred when it retroactively applied the 1999 version of section 39-72-602 to a procedural event occurring when section 39-72-602, MCA (1997) was in effect.
Dostal v. Uninsured Employers' Fund [12/22/10] 2010 MTWCC 38 Statutes of limitation are procedural.  The Montana Supreme Court held in Fleming v. Int’l Paper Co., 2008 MT 327, ¶¶ 26, 28, 346 Mont. 141, 194 P.3d 77, that procedural statutes are not an exception to the rule that the statutes in effect on the date of the accident or injury control in workers’ compensation cases.

Seger v. Magnum Oil, Incorporated [10/29/99] 1999 MTWCC 67 Self-insured employer's motion to dismiss injured worker's claim for denial of reemployment preference under section 39-71-317, MCA (1999) denied. Although employer argued WCC lacked jurisdiction, section 39-71-317, MCA (1999) gives the WCC "exclusive jurisdiction to administer or resolve a dispute concerning the reemployment preference." Even though claimant's injury occurred prior to passage of the 1999 statute, the WCC has jurisdiction where precedent indicates legislatures may change the forum for resolution of pending disputes without enacting a "retroactive" law. Although the WCC was initially concerned the change in jurisdiction may impact an accrued substantive right to jury trial, further consideration indicates the reemployment preference is a creation of statute to which no right to jury trial attached.

Sears v. Travelers Ins. [4/8/97] 1997 MTWCC 18 Section 39-71-609, MCA (1995), allows termination of TTD benefits on the date the worker has been released to work in some capacity, without 14-days notice to any party. While claimant argues the 1993 statute applies because that statute was in effect on his date of injury, Buckman v. Montana Deaconess Hospital, 224 Mont. 318, 321, 730 P.2d 380, 382 (1986), that rule applies only to substantive provisions, not to provisions governing procedure.
Maggs v. State Compensation Ins. Fund [05/16/95] 1995 MTWCC 36 Where Wolfe v. Webb, 251 Mont. 217, 226-227 (1992) holds that a statute changing the forum authorized to resolve a particular dispute is a procedural change applying to cases that arose prior to the change, the 1989 statute applies to claimant’s 1991 claim, with that statute conferring original jurisdiction on the Department of Labor and Industry to resolve claimant’s argument that the insurer is estopped from relying on the one-year claim-filing statute of limitations of section 39-71-601, MCA (1989).