Procedure: Motion To Dismiss

MONTANA SUPREME COURT DECISIONS
Glaude v. State Compensation Ins. Fund, 271 Mont. 136, 894 P.2d 940 (05/04/95) A complaint should not be dismissed for failure to state a claim unless it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief. A motion to dismiss has the effect of admitting all well-pleaded allegations in the complaint. In considering the motion, the complaint is construed in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, and all allegations of fact contained therein are taken as true.
Glaude v. State Compensation Ins. Fund, 271 Mont. 136, 894 P.2d 940 (05/04/95) When reading section 39-71-117(4), MCA (1993) along with section 39-71-405(1), MCA (1993), there is a set of facts under which claimant could recover benefits, requiring the lower court to deny respondent’s motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim on which relief could be granted. If the alleged employer is determined to be an interstate or intrastate common motor carrier and neither of the exceptions in section 39-71-117(4)(a) or (b), MCA (1993) apply, then the alleged employer may be claimant’s statutory employer. If that determination is made, then applying section 39-71-405(1), MCA, the insurance of the contractor above the alleged employer may cover claimant’s alleged injury.
 
MONTANA WORKERS' COMPENSATION COURT DECISIONS
Charlson v. Montana State Fund [07/01/10] 2010 MTWCC 23 Where Petitioner responded to a mediator’s report and recommendation by letter and agreed with the mediator that additional information needed to be obtained, but indicated that he would file a petition for hearing, Respondent’s contention in its motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction that Petitioner’s counsel “essentially agreed with the mediator’s recommendation” was meritless.

Stokes v. Liberty Mutual [07/16/09] 2009 MTWCC 21 Motions to dismiss are granted only where the allegations of the petition or complaint either show that the claimant is not entitled to relief of any sort, or discloses an “insuperable bar” to recovery. Where a pro sé claimant’s prayer for relief can reasonably be construed as fitting within relief available under the WCA, the insurer’s motion to dismiss is denied.

Miller v. Liberty Mutual [04/25/08] 2008 MTWCC 18 Motions to dismiss will be granted only where the allegations of the petition or complaint either show that the claimant is not entitled to relief of any sort, or disclose an “insuperable bar” to recovery. Where Petitioner in his Petition for Trial asked the Court to hold Respondent liable for certain medical benefits, Respondent has not proven its alleged grounds for dismissal: that this Court lacks jurisdiction because no benefits are directly at issue.
Fleming v. International Paper Co. [07/08/05] 2005 MTWCC 35 For purposes of the motion, all well-pleaded allegations of the petition are deemed true.

Fleming v. International Paper Co. [07/08/05] 2005 MTWCC 35 Motions to dismiss are viewed with disfavor and will be granted only where the allegations of the petition or complaint either shows that the petitioner is not entitled to relief of any sort or discloses an “insuperable bar” to recovery, such as the running of the applicable statute of limitations.

Re: Baarson v. Montana State Fund [4/3/03] 2003 MTWCC 24 Once a petition has been filed the insurer is entitled to its day in Court and the Court will not dismiss the petition without prejudice over the insurer's objection. See Profitt v. Watts, 140 Mont. 265, 370 P.2d 878 (1962).
Steck v. Liberty Mutual Northwest [3/10/03] 2003 MTWCC 17 Motion to dismiss based on statute of limitation is appropriate where the petition demonstrates on its face that it is time barred.
UEF v. Big Sky Petroleum [10/21/02] 2002 MTWCC 50 Where issue is of first impression and may be subject to an appeal, the Court may allow discovery and trial of the issue even if skeptical of its merits if the issue, especially when subparts of the issue have not been fully briefed and an appeal is possible.
Butte v. Ace Ins. [5/29//01] 2001 MTWCC 27 The estate of the deceased worker is not a potential beneficiary of death benefits under section 39-71-721 and therefore has no standing to maintain an action for benefits under that section. Therefore, a petition brought on behalf of the estate for death benefits must be dismissed.
Butte v. Ace Ins. [5/29//01] 2001 MTWCC 27 Where the petition affirmatively shows that the petitioner is not entitled to benefits, it will be dismissed.
Butte v. Ace Ins. [5/29//01] 2001 MTWCC 27 Whatever the caption of a motion filed in response to a petition, where the motion challenges the standing of the petitioner to recover benefits based on the face of the petition, the motion will be treated as a motion to dismiss.
Synthetic Technologis Corp. v. UEF [4/06/01] 2001 MTWCC 13 Dismissal for lack of prosecution inappropriate and unnecessary where two and a half year delay has in part been due to the parties waiting for a decision in another case and where the remainder of the delay was caused by belief that the parties had a settlement agreement which was to be reduced to writing. More appropriate remedy is to schedule case for trial with no further continuances.
Synthetic Technologies Corp. v. ERD, UEF [1/14/99] 1999 MTWCC 5 Where appeal from decision of DOL was tendered to the WCC as a hybrid appeal/ petition failing to include a certificate of service on the opposing party as required by ARM 24.5.350, the Clerk of the WCC refused to file the document and returned it to counsel. Because this was the 30th day after the decision below, respondent moved to dismiss the appeal, arguing it was not timely under section 2-4-702(2)(a), MCA. The WCC denied the motion to dismiss, holding that section 2-4-702(2)(a), MCA, while a jurisdiction statute, was satisfied by the document appellant attempted to file. The Clerk of Court should have filed that document, then required compliance with Court rules. Although service was not made on the opposing party within 30 days, section 2-4-702, MCA only requires "prompt" service, not service within 30 days as a matter of jurisdiction of the appellate court.
Beaulieu v.UEF [3/2/98] 1998 MTWCC 16 In response to petition filed against both the Uninsured Employers' Fund and a corporation, the corporation admitted that it was the insurer for claimant's employer. It then moved to dismiss the UEF and argued that the WCC did not have jurisdiction to determine insured vs. uninsured status. WCC held that the corporation could not frustrate claimant's desire to have the WCC determine which entity should adjust his claim. The corporation's admission carries no more weight than any other allegation in a pleading. Motion denied.
Jensen v. State Fund [1/12/98] 1998 MTWCC 1 Employer's motion to dismiss on ground that claimant was not an employee and faked his fall denied where not supported by "appropriate supporting documents and affidavits" as required by ARM 24.5.316(3).
Russell v. Protective Ins. Co. [12/27/95] 1995 MTWCC 111 Where insurer moves to dismiss petition because the mediation process has not been completed, an alternative to dismissal is vacating the pending trial date. In either event, the petition cannot be scheduled for trial until the mediation process has been completed through issuance of a recommendation by the mediator and rejection of that recommendation by one or both parties.
Oster v. State Compensation Ins. Fund [10/31/95] 1995 MTWCC 85 The Court will not convert respondent's motion to dismiss into one for summary judgment where no sworn and admissible evidence has been presented.
Oster v. State Compensation Ins. Fund [10/31/95] 1995 MTWCC 85 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.
Maggs v. State Compensation Ins. Fund [05/16/95] 1995 MTWCC 36 Dismissal on statute of limitations grounds is appropriate “when the complaint on its face establishes that the claim is barred by the statute of limitations, and the usual requirement that such a defense be affirmatively pled need not be followed.” See, Beckman v. Chamberlain, 673 P.2d 480, 482 (1983).