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. See the list of scheduled oral arguments below.

All oral arguments are open to the public. 

Click here to see list of previous oral arguments 


2019

February

-- DA 17-0348   STATE OF MONTANA, Plaintiff and Appellee, v. NATHANIEL J. LAKE, Defendant and Appellant. Oral Argument  is set for Wednesday, February 13, 2019, at 9:30 a.m. in the Courtroom of the Montana Supreme Court, Joseph P. Mazurek Justice Building, Helena, Montana.

March

--DA 18-0110   MONTANA ENVIRONMENTAL INFORMATION CENTER and SIERRA CLUB, Plaintiffs and Appellees, v. MONTANA DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY, Defendant and Appellant, and WESTERN ENERGY COMPANY, Defendant/Intervenor and Appellant. Oral Argument  is set for Wednesday, March 13, 2019, at 9:30 a.m. in the Courtroom of the Montana Supreme Court, Joseph P. Mazurek Justice Building, Helena, Montana.

APRIL

--DA 16-0445   CITY OF KALISPELL, Plaintiff and Appellee, v. THOMAS SALSGIVER, Defendant and Appellant. Oral Argument is set for Friday, April 5, 2019, at 9:30 a.m. in the George Dennison Theater, University of Montana, Missoula, Montana, with an introduction to the oral argument beginning at 9:00 a.m.

On March 17, 2015, Thomas Salsgiver was arrested and charged with Partner or Family Member Assault and Criminal Mischief. The Kalispell Municipal Court ordered Salsgiver to personally appear at all court proceedings. Salsgiver was cautioned that failure to appear would waive his right to a jury trial and informed that the next hearing would be May 5. A week later, Salsgiver’s attorney received an Order which also stated, “your personal presence is required” at the May 5 hearing. On May 5, Salsgiver’s attorney personally appeared at the hearing, but Salsgiver did not. Because Salsgiver did not personally appear, the Municipal Court concluded he waived his right to a jury trial.