Recent Legal Orders And Briefs  
MTLA Petition to MT Supreme Court re Extending SOLs  


KS Supreme Court Strikes Damage Caps  
The Kansas Supreme Court, in Hilburn, struck down the state's statutory cap on noneconomic damages in personal injury cases. The high court ruled that capping damages that an injured person is allowed to receive in a lawsuit violates the right to trial by jury set out in the Kansas Constitution's Bill of Rights. In a well written decision, the court found the limitation intrudes upon the jury's determination of the compensation owed.  
Ridley Payments - No Offsets   

Uhlig (4th, Judge Halligan - 12/31/2018 - submitted by MTLA member Dom Cossi) Order obtained by Paul Sharkey again confirming that third party insurance does not get to prematurely reduce its Ridley payments by collateral sources.

Order on Cross-motions for Summary Judgment

Fuchs  (18th, Judge McElyea - 6/13/2018 - submitted by MTLA member Dom Cossi) Order that possible collateral source payments do not relieve insurer of obligations to pay medicals under Ridley. Defendant Old Republic refused to advance medical payments until they were provided all documentation about what other sources had paid/were available to pay.  Plaintiff filed a dec action and insurer filed a Counterclaim, both over whether Old Republic may refuse to advance medical bills if other sources were available to pay.  Plaintiff moved to dismiss Old Republic’s Counterclaim because, taking all their facts as true, their claim could not lie as a matter of law - the judge agreed. 

Plaintiff's Brief, Defendant's Brief, Plaintiff Reply

Defense Medical Exams  
Rincker (4th, Judge Deschamps - 5/24/2018 - submitted by MTLA member Anders Blewett) Defendant sought motion to compel IME exam by Dr. Stratford, Plaintiff did not object to IME, but did object to Stratford as the IME. Judge Deschamps, citing Simms case, denied Stratford as IME, and ordered parties to submit names of possible IMEs with Court to choose from those submitted.

Briefing on IME by Plaintiff and Defendant. Plaintiff's includes as exhibits other orders regarding IMEs.
Punitive Damages  
Peterson (4th, Judge Townsend - 1/12/2018 - submitted by MTLA member Ryan R. Shaffer) Defendant made a post-verdict motion to apply the punitive damages cap in MCA 27-1-220 (3) (cap of 3% of defendant’s net worth). Judge Townsend, ruled that the Defendant failed to provide credible and reliable information establishing its net worth and denied the motion to reduce the punitive damages award.So long as Section 27-1-220 (3) is the law, the question of whether a defendant provides credible evidence of its net worth is an important issue for plaintiffs seeking punitive damages. In our case, serving discovery and making evidentiary motions was key.  
Thelen (20th, Judge Manley - 3/1/2018 - submitted by MTLA member Nate Wagner)   Received a jury award in Polson that included $749,000.00 in punitive damages.  Judge Manley issued his FOF/COL holding the statutory cap on punitive damages found in Mont. Code Ann. § 27-1-220(3) to be unconstitutional in violation of Article II, Section 26 (right to trial by jury), Article II, Section 4 (equal protection), and the substantive due process provisions of the Montana Constitution.  The Court also found that the Defendants could not invoke the cap because they failed to present evidence of their net worth at trial, under the holding of Blue Ridge Homes v. Thein, 2008 MT 264.  

Stipulated Judgments - Post Tidyman's
Abbey Land & Moodie Orders 

If you are considering stipulating to a judgment after an insurer’s breach of its duty to defend, and are reviewing the Tidyman’s II decision, you may wish to also review several orders recently issued by Montana district courts on the subject. I’m attaching three orders: two from Judge Amy Eddy in the Abbey Land case; and one from Judge Beth Best in the Moodie case. Both of these cases are on remand from the Montana Supreme Court.
John Amsden

Judge Townsend's Scheduling Order - Tidyman's after remand  

Stacking Orders

Stillwater County

Madison County

Ethics Opinions Re Indemnification & Settlement Agrreements  
Ethics opinions that it is unethical for a lawyer to ask another lawyer to sign an indemnification agreement as requirement for settlement.  
2011 letter from J. McDonald with opinions attached
2012 Maryland Opinion
Public Duty Doctrine  
MTLA Amicus Brief - Public Duty Doctrine - October 2011 - Kichnet v Butte-Silver Bow  
Atmospheric Trust Litigation  
Original Petition (Barhaugh, et al v. State, Case Number OP 11-0258) filed with Montana Supreme Court on May 4, 2011; for filings in this case, search the MT Supreme Court at the Court's docket website

Exhibits to the Petition and other information.
Blue Cross Subrogation  
Decision, September 24, 2009 - MT Supreme Court upholds Judge Honzel's decision.  
Decision, December 18, 2008, by Judge Honzel upholds Insurance Commissioner John Morrison's authority and decision to invalidate Blue Cross policy exclusion language that says it doesn't have to pay medical benefits if there is automobile insurance  
Blue Cross Opening Brief  
Commissioner Response Brief  
Blue Cross ReplyBrief  
More Orders, Briefs, Motions of interest to MTLA Members