17-8-406. Complaint by person -- civil action. (1) A person may bring a civil action for a violation of 17-8-403 on behalf of the person and the governmental entity. The action must be brought in the name of the governmental entity. The action may be dismissed only if the court and the government attorney give written consent to the dismissal and provide their reasons for consenting to the dismissal.
(2) A copy of the complaint and written disclosure of substantially all material evidence and information that the person possesses must be served on the government attorney pursuant to Rule 4(c)(2)(C), (c)(2)(D), and (d) through (s) Montana Rules of Civil Procedure. The complaint must be filed under seal and must remain under seal for at least 60 days. The complaint may not be served upon the defendant until the court orders that it be served.
(3) Within 60 days after receiving the complaint and the material evidence and information, the government attorney may elect to intervene and proceed with the action or to notify the court that the government attorney declines to take over the action. If the government attorney declines to intervene or take over the action, the person bringing the action has the right to conduct the action. The government attorney may, for good cause shown, move the court for extensions of the time during which the complaint remains under seal.
(4) The defendant may not be required to respond to any complaint until 20 days after the complaint is unsealed and served upon the defendant pursuant to Rule 4(c)(2)(C), (c)(2)(D), and (d) through (s) Montana Rules of Civil Procedure.
(5) If the government attorney proceeds with the action, the government attorney has the primary responsibility for prosecuting the action and is not bound by an act of the person bringing the action. The person bringing the action has the right to continue as a party to the action subject to the limitations set forth in this part.
(6) If the government attorney elects not to proceed with the action and the person who initiated the action conducts it:
(a) the person who initiated the action shall, upon the government attorney's request, serve the governmental entity with copies of all pleadings filed in the action and shall supply the government attorney with copies of all deposition transcripts at the government attorney's expense;
(b) the court, without limiting the status and rights of the person initiating the action, may permit the government attorney to intervene at a later date upon a showing of good cause.
(7) When a person files a civil action pursuant to this section, no person other than the government attorney may intervene or bring a related action based on the facts underlying the pending action.
(8) Upon a showing by the government attorney that unrestricted participation during the course of the litigation by the person initiating the action would interfere with or unduly delay the government attorney's prosecution of the case or would be repetitious, irrelevant, or for purposes of harassment, the court may in its discretion impose limitations on the person's participation, including but not limited to:
(a) limiting the number of witnesses the person may call;
(b) limiting the length of testimony of witnesses called by the person;
(c) limiting the person's cross-examination of witnesses; or
(d) otherwise limiting the participation of the person in the litigation.
History: En. Sec. 6, Ch. 465, L. 2005; amd. Sec. 5, Ch. 64, L. 2009.