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 15 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

August

OP 19-0051   MARYLAND CASUALTY COMPANY, Petitioner, v. THE ASBESTOS CLAIMS COURT, and THE HONORABLE AMY EDDY, Asbestos Claims Court Judge, Respondent.. Oral Argument  is set for Wednesday, August  14, 2019, at 9:30 a.m. in the Courtroom of the Montana Supreme Court, Joseph P. Mazurek Justice Building, Helena, Montana.

In March 2018, the Asbestos Claims Court (ACC) selected Ralph Hutt—one of 884 plaintiffs in another case against Maryland Casualty Company (MCC)—to file a separate case against MCC in the ACC. In this case, Hutt alleged in part that MCC was negligent in providing industrial hygiene services because of actions it took while providing workers’ compensation insurance coverage to W.R. Grace in Libby. After MCC moved for summary judgment on this issue, the ACC ruled that as a matter of law, MCC owed a duty of care to warn Grace’s workers about the hidden hazard of asbestos exposure.


September

DA 19-0077   ALEXIS NUNEZ and HOLLY McGOWAN, Plaintiffs and Appellees, v. WATCHTOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY OF NEW YORK, INC.; CHRISTIAN CONGREGATION OF JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES and THOMPSON FALLS CONGREGATION OF JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES, Defendants and Appellants. __________________________________ WATCHTOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY OF NEW YORK, INC.; CHRISTIAN CONGREGATION OF JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES and THOMPSON FALLS CONGREGATION OF JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES, Third-Party Plaintiffs, and Appellants, v. MAXIMO NAVA REYES and IVY McGOWAN-CASTLEBERRY, Third-Party Defendants and Appellees. Oral Argument; is set for September, 13, 2019, at 10:00 a.m. in the Northern Hotel, Billings Montana.

In 2004, two congregants informed the Elders of the Thompson Falls Congregation that congregant Maximo Reyes had sexually abused them when they were children. The Thompson Falls Elders contacted the Elders at the Christian Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses and the legal department at Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc. (Watchtower) for advice. Per the advice they received, the Thompson Falls Elders kept the matter confidential and did not report it to authorities.