May 26, 2004

Mr. Thomas J. Murphy
Attorney at Law
P.O. Box 3226
Great Falls, MT 59403-3226

Mr. Kelly M. Wills
Attorney at Law
P.O. Box 7909
Missoula, MT 59807-7909

Mr. David A. Hawkins
Special Assistant Attorney General
Montana State Fund
P.O. Box 4759
Helena, MT 59604-4759

Re: Stavenjord v. Montana State Fund
WCC No. 2000-0207

Dear Counsel:

After reviewing the stipulation and briefs in this case, I want further briefing regarding the existence of a common fund. In particular, I wonder if the benefitted claimants would constitute a certifiable class if the case had been brought as a class action. If not, then I wonder whether a common fund exists. Please provide me with simultaneous briefs as to whether the class of claimants benefitted by the decision constitute a certifiable class under class action principles. Then address whether a common fund can exist if the class would not be certifiable.

Recognizing that a class action analysis is difficult and will require time for research, analysis and writing, I will set the initial deadline for opening briefs as June 28, 2004, with reply briefs due July 16, 2004. If you need more time let me know.

I would also like to set oral argument concerning the common fund issue as I believe it will be helpful. To keep things moving, I am setting the argument on July 22, 2004 at 10:00 a.m. in Helena.


Mike McCarter
c: Mr. Larry W. Jones (Courtesy Copy)