Montana Rules of Civil Procedure - by section

 

 
Rule 6

Bailey v. Uninsured Employers' Fund [12/14/10] 2010 MTWCC 34 Section 39-71-520(2), MCA, requires that a petition to this Court must be filed within 60 days of the mailing of the mediator’s report.  Rule 6(e), M.R.Civ.P., does not apply to this time limit because the statute does not rely on “service” as the basis for commencing the 60-day time period.  Therefore, delivering the report by mail does not add three additional days to the time limit.

 
Rule 8
Kratovil v. Liberty Northwest Ins. Corp. [09/07/07] 2007 MTWCC 38 While Mont.R.Civ.P. 8(c) provides that a statute of limitations defense must be pled as an affirmative defense, ARM 24.5.302(1)(a) requires a respondent to set out its contentions in its response, and therefore the Court will not consider a statute of limitations defense if it is not listed in the contentions.
 
RULE 11
 
O'Brien v. State Fund [2/10/98] 1998 MTWCC 6 Where section 39-71-2907, MCA, refers to unreasonable delay in payment of "benefits," insurer's conduct in causing delay in release of third-party settlement proceeds does not give rise to a statutory penalty. However, sanctions under section 39-71-2914, MCA (1991), a statutory version of Rule 11, are available in workers' compensation proceedings. Claimant may be entitled to sanctions where State Fund's assertion of "equittable subrogation" in claimant's recovery in a third-party malpractice case, maintained in its response to petition, but abruptly dropped prior to trial, raises a prima facie issue as to whether the assertion was well founded and in good faith. Because the facts on that issue are insufficiently developed, a briefing schedule and hearing on sanctions was set.
 
RULE 12
Oster v. State Compensation Ins. Fund [10/31/95] 1995 MTWCC 85 - Rule 12(b) For purposes of ruling on a motion to dismiss, all well-pleaded facts are deemed admitted and the Court looks to whether claimant has stated a claim on which relief can be granted. Where Montana requires only notice pleading, and petitioner alleges she is permanently totally disabled, inherent in those allegations are allegations that she has reached MMI and is unable to work, along with other factual predicates to PTD status.
 
 
RULE 15
Murphy v. Montana State Fund [12/23/10] 2010 MTWCC 39 This Court follows M.R.Civ.P. 15(a) in determining whether to permit parties to amend pleadings.  Petitioner objected to Respondent’s motion to amend its response to add a contention that Petitioner failed to meet the time requirements of § 39-71-603, MCA, on the grounds that Respondent cannot prevail on this defense.  The likelihood of success of defending a claim on particular grounds is not a basis for precluding an amendment otherwise permissible under M.R.Civ.P. 15(a), and Petitioner’s argument as to the merits of Respondent’s defense is premature.
Wood v. Montana State Fund [12/06/07] 2007 MTWCC 53 Leave to amend petition granted where Petitioners sought to allege specific contentions in support of their allegations that they are entitled to attorney fees and a penalty, where Petitioners had prayed for attorney fees and a penalty in their initial petition and they learned additional facts which go to Respondent’s alleged unreasonableness in adjusting the claim during the post-petition deposition of Respondent’s claims adjuster.

Shell v. Valor Ins. Co. [03/24/06] 2006 MTWCC 12 Rule 15(a), Mont. R. Civ. P., provides that a party may amend its pleading once as a matter of course at any time before a responsive pleading is served and otherwise by leave of court, said leave to be freely given when justice so requires. A document captioned as a “Response to Motion” which fails to substantively address the motion within the body of the brief is insufficient to constitute substantive opposition to that motion, and thus as provided for in Rule 24.5.316 ARM, the failure of an adverse party to timely file an answer brief may be deemed an admission that the motion is well taken.

Lanz v. Liberty Northwest Ins. Corp. [08/03/05] 2005 MTWCC 44 An amended petition adding a new party does not relate back to the original petition for statute of limitations purposes where there is no showing that the new party was, within the limitations period, aware of the filing of the petition and knew, or should have known, that the petitioner had made a mistake concerning its identity, or where the petition failed to name fictitious respondents whose true identities were unknown. Rule 15(c), Mont. R. Civ. P. and § 25-5-103, MCA (1999).
 
 
RULE 24

McCoy v. Travelers Casualty & Surety Co. [04/07/14] 2014 MTWCC 3A Rule 24(b)(2)  The Court agreed with the Department that, since it has the right to enter into reciprocal agreements with other states under § 39-71-402, MCA, it had clear justification to intervene in a matter in which this Court interpreted the 2007 Montana-North Dakota Reciprocal Agreement.

 
 
RULE 26
 

Vulk v. Employers Compensation Ins. Co. [05/15/14] 2014 MTWCC 13 Since Rule 26 disclosers filed in court are a matter of public record and their production would not create a privacy issue, the Court denied Respondent’s motion for a protective order against Petitioner’s interrogatory which requested production of all Rule 26 disclosures filed in State or Federal District Court on behalf of an IME physician.  However, the Court limited the scope of the discovery request to the last three years and only those disclosures which are in the possession of Respondent or of the IME physician.

Vandervalk v. Montana State Fund [07/23/09] 2009 MTWCC 24 A subpoena duces tecum served for the purpose of obtaining documents concerning the State’s records and litigation materials involving a prescription drug is not reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence in a workers’ compensation case where the claimant’s stated reasons for wanting the records have no clear connection to his workers’ compensation claim.

Fore v. Transportation Ins. Co. [11/21/08] 2008 MTWCC 49 Where Petitioner requests Respondent to produce 800,000 pages of EPA documents contained on 10 compact disks, and Respondent argues the request is improper because the information is not peculiarly in its possession and the information is public record obtainable under the Freedom of Information Act, the Court fails to appreciate how requiring Petitioner to request compact disks from the EPA that are in Respondent’s possession would be more convenient, less burdensome, or less expensive as required under Mont. R. Civ. P 26(b)(1). Respondent may charge Petitioner a reasonable amount to recoup its cost in copying the disks. A reasonable charge is the same amount as is commonly charged by businesses which offer compact disk copying services to the public.
Re: John David Miller - The St. Paul Travelers Companies Inc. v. Liberty Northwest Ins. Co. [10/26/07] 2007 MTWCC 44 Where Respondent refused Petitioner’s requests for discovery principally relying on Mont. R. Evid. 402 and the definition of relevant evidence, the Court found Respondent’s reliance misplaced. Pursuant to Mont. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(1), the test for what is discoverable is evidence which is relevant or reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence.
Haas v. State Fund [9/1/00] 2000 MTWCC 54 Rule 26(b)(3) Court granted protective order regarding contents of investigator's file and letter from attorney to State Fund to administrator of Tort Claims Unit of State of Montana. Contents of file contained work product and attorney/client communications; claimant had not shown relevance of those materials, much less justification to invade work product. Letter was privileged attorney/client communication.
 
RULE 45

Vandervalk v. Montana State Fund [07/23/09] 2009 MTWCC 24 A subpoena duces tecum which requests 20 years’ worth of State records which pertain in any manner to a particular prescription medication is unduly burdensome as the claimant has taken no reasonable steps to avoid imposing undue burden or expense upon the State.

 
RULE 54(b)

Satterlee v. Lumberman's Mutual, 2007 MT 325 Although Workers’ Compensation Court orders generally contain a one-line entry certifying a judgment as final for purposes of appeal, the Montana Supreme Court requested the WCC designate in the future whether its certification for appeal falls under Admin. R. M. 24.5.348(2) or under Mont. Civ. P. Rule 54(b) as a judgment with remaining issues or parties.

Satterlee v. Lumberman's Mutual, 2007 MT 325 The Montana Supreme Court dismissed the petitioner’s appeal without prejudice after the Workers’ Compensation Court certified its order granting the respondent’s motion for partial summary judgment as final for purposes of appeal. The court held the WCC failed to comply with Mont. Civ. P. Rule 54(b) because: the WCC set forth no rationale or reasoning supporting its decision to certify its order as final; and, two constitutional challenges remained before the WCC.

Kessel v. Liberty [07/10/06] 2006 MTWCC 28 With respect to Rule 54(b) certification, the Montana Supreme Court has held that the lower court must do more than “merely recite the magic words” in certifying a case, but “must clearly articulate the reasons and factors underlying its decision to order a Rule 54(b) certification.” Kohler v. Croonenberghs, 2003 MT 260, ¶ 14, 317 Mont. 413, 77 P.3d 531.
Satterlee v. Lumberman's Mutual [07/12/06] 2006 MTWCC 29 Although Rule 54(b), Mont. R. Civ. P., authorizes the Court to certify certain issues as final for purposes of appeal when remaining issues in the case have not been resolved, the Montana Supreme Court has stated that a court must justify such a certification when other issues remain unresolved. Kohler v. Croonenberghs, 2003 MT 260, 317 Mont. 413, 77 P.3d 531. In the present case, the Court must remove certification because it did not provide justification as required by Rule 54(b).
 
RULE 54(d)
Cardwell v. UEF [06/15/07] 2007 MWCC 22 Where Petitioner is entitled to his costs, an award of costs may be assessed against the uninsured employer under Rule 54(d) of the Montana Rules of Civil Procedure.
 
Rule 60(a)
Hopkins v. Uninsured Employers' Fund [05/24/10] 2010 MTWCC 12 Where the UEF failed to list the indemnification issue as a disputed issue in the final pretrial order, the Court’s omission of whether the employer is obligated to indemnify the UEF was not a “clerical mistake.”  It is not the Court’s prerogative to sua sponte resolve an issue that was not presented for resolution in the final pretrial order.
Michalak v. Liberty Northwest Ins. Corp. [04/24/07] 2007 MTWCC 14A “Clerical mistakes and errors are those errors which misrepresent the court’s original intention.” Muri v. Frank, 2001 MT 29, ¶ 12, 304 Mont. 171, 18 P.3d 1022. Where the Court misidentifies the name of a witness in the original Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law, the error is a clerical error if the correction does not change, in any way, the substance of the Court’s decision, nor does the correction apply different legal rules or factual analyses to the case.
Michalak v. Liberty Northwest Ins. Corp. [04/24/07] 2007 MTWCC 14A The language of Rule 60(a) is unambiguous. A clerical error may be corrected at any time. Therefore, the Court may correct clerical errors pursuant to Rule 60(a) of the Montana Rules of Civil Procedure, even after a party files a notice of appeal to the Montana Supreme Court.
 
Rule 60(b)
Montana State Fund v. Simms [01/09/08] 2008 MTWCC 3 In situations alleging fraud or deception, this Court need no longer look to Mont. R. Civ. P. 60(b) because § 39-71-2909, MCA, as amended in 1995, now covers situations in which fraud or deception is alleged. Therefore under § 39-71-2909, MCA, this Court has the jurisdiction to consider a petition for declaratory ruling which alleges a claimant fraudulently obtained benefits.
Burgan v. Liberty NW [8/20/02] 2002 MTWCC 41 Even if Rule 60(b) of the Montana Rules of Civil Procedure applies to judgments of the Workers' Compensation Court, the claimant is not entitled to set aside a judgment where there is no mistake of fact or where the moving party moves to set aside the judgment more than 60 days after the alleged mistake.