Common Fund Litigation: Jurisdiction

Schmill v. Liberty Northwest Ins. Corp. [07/29/08] 2008 MTWCC 38 Where the Montana Supreme Court has already found a global common fund, the Workers’ Compensation Court is not empowered to dismiss responding insurers from this litigation, but must require their payment of benefits and fees pursuant to the decision.
Stavenjord v. Montana State Fund [04/24/08] 2008 MTWCC 17 With no common fund and no case or controversy remaining, this Court questions whether it has jurisdiction to oversee a notification and identification process as ordered by the Montana Supreme Court.
Stavenjord v. Montana State Fund [01/15/08] 2008 MTWCC 4 After the Montana Supreme Court determined that no common fund existed and remanded the case to this Court to oversee the identification and notification process of potential beneficiaries, the Court questions whether it has the jurisdiction to order Respondent to undertake an identification and notification procedure. With no adversarial party remaining, there is no case or controversy before the Court.
Reesor v. Montana State Fund [07/20/05] 2005 MTWCC 40 If the petitioner’s attorney is not entitled to common fund fees because no common fund exists or application of the common fund doctrine would be unconstitutional, the Court has no further jurisdiction to order payment of benefits to claimants not involved in the main litigation or to order payment of common fund attorney fees. Thus, all legal rulings regarding absolute defenses to a claim of a common fund must be applied to all insurers and self-insurers whether or not they raised the legal defenses which are successful.

Rausch v. Montana State Fund & Ruhd v. Liberty [02/22/05] 2005 MTWCC 9 Where a common fund has been established, the Workers’ Compensation Court has jurisdiction and authority to join insurers to enforce payment of benefits to benefitted claimants and also enforce the common fund attorney fee lien.