Montana Supreme Court Decisions

Seven justices serve on the Montana Supreme Court, which reviews appeals directly from district courts. There is no intermediate appellate court in the state. The Supreme Court also reviews appeals from the workers’ compensation and water courts. It must review any case that is appealed from any of these courts. In other words, it does not have discretion to decide whether to review a case. The Montana Supreme Court also holds original jurisdiction over writs of habeas corpus and cases that have not yet reached the district courts in which the dispute is entirely legal rather than factual. It has a constitutional mandate to oversee the operations of lower courts in the state. The Court must issue each of its decisions in writing, and any justice who dissents from the decision must issue a written dissenting opinion.

Each justice on the Supreme Court serves an eight-year term. A candidate to serve on the Court must be a U.S. citizen who has been a resident of Montana for at least two years. They also must have been admitted to practice law in Montana for at least five years. While they are serving on the Supreme Court, they must continue to reside in Montana. Candidates run in a general non-partisan election, and a justice may run for reelection when their term expires. If no opponent challenges the reelection of a justice, they will need to win a retention election to stay on the Court.

The Governor of Montana may appoint an interim justice if a vacancy arises in the middle of a term. This process starts when the Montana Judicial Nominating Commission provides the Governor with a list of three to five nominees. The Governor has 30 days to choose a nominee from this list, or otherwise the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court will make the decision. The Montana Senate must confirm the appointment. The interim justice then must run in the next general election after they have been appointed to stay on the Court.

Browse Opinions From the Montana Supreme Court

Recent Decisions From the Montana Supreme Court
Wangerin v. Dep't of Revenue  
Date: November 29, 2022
Citation: 2022 MT 236
Docket Number: DA 22-0081

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court affirming the decision of the Montana Department of Revenue (MDOR) denying Appellant's petition to adopt a proposed administrative rule construing Mont. Code…

Pfeil Acquisitions LLC v. Gallatin County Conservation District  
Date: November 29, 2022
Citation: 2022 MT 237
Docket Number: DA 22-0158

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the district court affirming the decision of the Board of Supervisors of the Gallatin Conservation District (GCD) that a waterway within property owned by Appellant constituted a…

Pennell v. Nationstar  
Date: November 22, 2022
Citation: 2022 MT 235
Docket Number: DA 22-0057

Justia Opinion Summary: In this foreclosure action arising under the Small Tract Financing Act (STFA), the Supreme Court affirmed the order of the district court granting Defendant's motion for summary judgment and denying Plaintiffs' cross…

Netzer v. State  
Date: November 16, 2022
Citation: 2022 MT 234
Docket Number: DA 22-0109

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed in part and remanded in part the order of the district court denying Plaintiffs' application to preliminarily enjoin the State from enforcing House Bill 702, a "vaccination discrimination law,"…

Netzer v. State (Synopsis)
Date: November 16, 2022
Citation: 2022 MT 234
Docket Number: DA 22-0109
State v. Pitkanen  
Date: November 15, 2022
Citation: 2022 MT 231
Docket Number: DA 20-0474

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the judgment of the district court convicting and sentencing Defendant for assault with a weapon, holding that the district court erred in its calculation of…

State v. Spagnolo  
Date: November 15, 2022
Citation: 2022 MT 228
Docket Number: DA 20-0494

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court reversed the district court's sentence on Defendant's convictions for escape and assault on a peace officer, holding that the district court erred in calculating credit for time served and in imposing…

Tai Tam, LLC v. Missoula County  
Date: November 15, 2022
Citation: 2022 MT 229
Docket Number: DA 21-0660

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court reversed the order of the district court granting Defendant's motion to dismiss Plaintiff's complaint making a claim for statutory damages against the Board of County Commissioners pursuant to Mont.…

Broad Reach Power, LLC v. Mont. Dep't of Service Regulation  
Date: November 15, 2022
Citation: 2022 MT 227
Docket Number: DA 22-0035

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the order entered by the district court granting summary judgment to the Public Service Commission (PSC) and dismissing Appellants' claim that Mont. Code Ann. 69-2-102 was unconstitutional,…

Matter of P.R.S., YINC
Date: November 15, 2022
Citation: 2022 MT 232N
Docket Number: DA 22-0177
Clarkston Fire v. Lemieux
Date: November 15, 2022
Citation: 2022 MT 233N
Docket Number: DA 22-0209
In re U.A.C.  
Date: November 15, 2022
Citation: 2022 MT 230
Docket Number: DA 22-0311

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the district court denying Foster Parents' motion to intervene in an abuse of neglect proceeding, holding that abandonment must be alleged before a foster parent is allowed to…

State v. S. Bonko
Date: November 9, 2022
Citation: 2022 MT 225N
Docket Number: DA 20-0341
State v. Larson  
Date: November 9, 2022
Citation: 2022 MT 223
Docket Number: DA 20-0603

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court denying Defendant's motion to suppress evidence confiscated by a adult foster care group home's manager who subsequently turned the evidence over to the…

State v. Dunne  
Date: November 9, 2022
Citation: 2022 MT 226
Docket Number: DA 21-0092

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court denied Defendant's motion to allow withdrawal of his guilty plea and dismiss the underlying matter on double jeopardy grounds, holding that the district court did not err in denying Defendant's motion…

The opinions published on Justia State Caselaw are sourced from individual state court sites. These court opinions may not be the official published versions, and you should check your local court rules before citing to them. We make no warranties or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained on this site, or the information linked to on the state site.