2-4-501, MCA

Thompson v. State, 2007 MT 185, 338 Mont. 511, 167 P.2d 867 The WCC does not have jurisdiction to issue a declaratory judgment ruling in the particular context of this case. Unlike the general jurisdiction granted to district courts over “all cases in law and in equity,” the WCC is a court of limited jurisdiction. It is an administrative tribunal governed by MAPA and allocated to the Department of Labor and Industry for administrative purposes. As such, courts of limited jurisdiction have only such power as expressly conferred by statute, and the applicable statutes here (§§ 2-4-501, 39-71-2905(1), MCA) authorize the WCC to issue declaratory rulings only in the context of a dispute concerning benefits under the Workers’ Compensation Act and only as to the applicability of any statutory provision, rule, or order of the agency to that dispute.
Thompson v. State of Montana and Liberty Northwest Ins. Corp. and Montana State Fund [04/28/06] 2006 MTWCC 19 While Respondent urges this Court to interpret § 2-4-501, MCA, to mean that the WCC’s only authority to issue declaratory rulings is via MAPA, ARM 24.5.351 – the rule provided for under § 2-4-501, MCA – does not specifically limit the WCC to MAPA. Section 2-4-501, MCA, does not state that the WCC may not issue declaratory judgments under the auspices of the UDJA; it merely commands the WCC to promulgate a rule setting forth a procedure to dispose of those actions for declaratory judgment concerning the applicability of statutory provisions, rules, or orders of the WCC. Respondent asks the Court to read limiting language into a statute that is not there.