39-71-107, MCA


American Zurich Ins. Co. v. District Court (Todd) [03/13/12] 2012 MT 61 Generally, the attorney-client privilege extends only to communications between an attorney and a client, though it may extend to another party involved in a joint effort with respect to a common legal interest.  The privilege does not extend to correspondence issued by an insurer’s attorney to the insurer’s adjuster, when the adjuster shares that letter with the employer.  The employer is not a co-litigant, it has no liability in a workers’ compensation claim, it is not a party to the action, and it has no shared common interest with the insurer in the adjustment of the claim.  The adjuster has authority to act on behalf of the insurer pursuant to § 39-71-107, MCA, including the authority to waive the attorney-client privilege by sharing the attorney’s letter with the employer.


Baldwin v. Old Republic Ins. Co. [06/21/12] 2012 MTWCC 20 Under § 39-71-107, MCA, prompt claims handling practices are necessary to provide appropriate service to injured workers, all claims filed pursuant to the WCA must be examined by a claims examiner in Montana, and insurers must maintain the documents related to each filed claim in Montana.  Where a claimant has waited six months for an insurer to provide discovery answers to which it admits she is entitled, the insurer is ordered to supplement its discovery answers.

Stewart v. MACo Workers' Compensation Trust [05/15/08] 2008 MTWCC 22 In the absence of a statute which sets forth permissible copy charges for a claimant’s request of his own claim file, § 39-71-107(3), MCA, offers some guidance to the Court in mandating that a claim file must be maintained in a manner that makes it accessible to the claimant. A prohibitively expensive claim file is not truly accessible to a claimant. An insurer may charge a reasonable amount – the same amount as is commonly charged by businesses in the community which offer photocopy services to the public where the claim file is maintained.

[2001] Hernandez v. ACE USA [4/24/03] 2003 MTWCC 32 By giving its insured veto power over settlements, the insurer violated section 39-71-107(3), MCA (2001), which requires appointment of a resident adjuster with settlement authority.