Oral Argument Schedule
The majority of cases before the Montana Supreme Court are decided based upon the written briefs submitted by the parties. However, the Court may decide that a case requires further discussion, in addition to what the parties have argued in their written briefs. In such cases, oral arguments are scheduled in open session before the Court. Approximately 30 cases a year are scheduled for oral argument.
Oral arguments are tightly structured and timed. The counsel for each party is allowed limited time to make an argument. The times typically range from 20 to 40 minutes and are set forth by the Court in the order setting oral argument.
While this format allows the counsel brief opportunity to further develop their arguments, it also gives the Court an opportunity to ask questions of the attorneys on points which the Court needs clarification.
A majority of oral arguments take place in the Montana Supreme Court Courtroom, located at 215 N. Sanders, Helena, Montana. The Court does schedule a few arguments to be heard in different cities around the State.
All of the oral arguments are open to the public.
DA 12-0130 ROBERT JACOBSEN, and all others similarly situated, Plaintiff and Appellee, v. ALLSTATE INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendant and Appellant.
Jacobsen was injured in an automobile accident. He entered a settlement agreement with Allstate, the insurer for the at-fault driver. When his injuries then proved more serious than initially diagnosed, Jacobsen claims Allstate delayed reopening his claim, causing him emotional distress.
In the order from which this appeal is taken, the District Court certified a class of plaintiffs, represented by Jacobsen, who claim Allstate’s “fast track” claim settlement system maliciously violates the rights of all claimants who are not represented by legal counsel. Noting that Jacobsen has not challenged the fairness of his settlement, Allstate states the issue on appeal as whether a court may certify a class to pursue claims that are different and distinct from the individual claims of the named plaintiff.
United Policyholders has filed a “friend of the court” brief, as has the United States Chamber of Commerce.
ORAL ARGUMENT has been set for Wednesday, May 8, 2013, at 9:30 a.m. in the Courtroom of the Montana Supreme Court, Justice Building, Helena. Oral argument times shall be 40 minutes for the Appellant and 30 minutes for the Appellee.
OP 12-0429 METRO AVIATION, INC., et al., Plaintiffs, v. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Defendant.
This case arises out of a crash of an air ambulance plane near Bozeman, in which the pilot and both passengers were killed. One of the victim’s survivors settled with Metro, the owner of the plane, without litigation. Another sued Metro and the pilot in state court. That case settled before trial.
Metro then filed suit in federal district court against the United States of America, arguing that the negligence of United States air traffic controllers was the sole proximate cause of the accident. The federal judge has asked the Montana Supreme Court to answer three questions of law regarding the effects of the above two settlements on Metro’s rights under Montana’s contribution statute, § 27-1-703, MCA, and Montana’s common law of indemnification.
ORAL ARGUMENT has been set for Tuesday, May 14, 2013, at 9:30 a.m. in the Courtroom of the Montana Supreme Court, Justice Building, Helena. Oral argument times shall be 30 minutes for the Plaintiffs and 25 minutes for the Defendant.
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