Limitations Periods: Retroactivity

Quick v. Montana State Fund [05/13/09] 2009 MT 162 The Montana Supreme Court upheld the WCC’s conclusion that the severity of the claimant’s condition from the time of his injury was not so readily apparent as to put the insurer on notice of the claimant’s need for domiciliary care where the claimant returned to work for a period of time after the accident, the medical records indicated that the claimant had shown signs of improvement or potential recovery, expert opinions that stated the claimant was suitable for certain types of employment, and test results indicated the claimant possessed an average IQ.
Flynn v. Montana State Fund, 2008 MT 394, 347 Mont. 146, 197 P.3d 1007 While recognizing the advantage of finality and the ease of administration that the adoption of a two-year limitation on retroactivity would serve, the Montana Supreme Court refused to adopt such a limit by analogizing to a statute which the legislature has made applicable only to particular cases. There is no specific statutory cutoff point for most workers’ compensation claims. To apply the two-year statute of limitations found in § 39-71-2905, MCA, would extend the statute beyond the legislature’s clearly intended purpose.
Fleming v. Int'l Paper Co. [09/23/08] 2008 MT 327, 346 Mont. 141, 194 P.3d 77 The WCC erred when it failed to apply the statute of limitation in effect on the claimant’s last day of employment. For almost 75 years, the Montana Supreme Court has held that statutes in effect on the date of the accident or injury control in injury cases. The Supreme Court has applied the same rationale to cases involving occupational disease claims. No exception has been made for statutes of limitation or other procedural statutes and the Supreme Court declines to make an exception now.
Fleming v. International Paper Co. [07/08/05] 2005 MTWCC 35 A statute of limitations is procedural. Therefore, the statute in effect at the time an action or a claim is filed governs its timeliness.
Fleming v. International Paper [07/08/05] 2005 MTWCC 34 Unless some other time is indicated, a statute adopting a new limitations period for bringing an action, or amending an existing statute of limitations, applies to all proceedings that are brought thereafter even though the cause of action arose prior to passage. Statutes of limitations are procedural and not subject to the rule precluding retroactive application of statutes which do not expressly provide for retroactivity. See Fisher v. First Citizens Bank, 2000 MT 314, 302 Mont. 473, 14 P.3d 1228.