Montana Code Annotated 2023



Part 6. Contested Cases

Final Orders -- Notification -- Availability

2-4-623. Final orders -- notification -- availability. (1) (a) A final decision or order adverse to a party in a contested case must be in writing. A final decision must include findings of fact and conclusions of law, separately stated. Findings of fact, if set forth in statutory language, must be accompanied by a concise and explicit statement of the underlying facts supporting the findings. Except as provided in 75-2-213 and 75-20-223, a final decision must be issued within 90 days after a contested case is considered to be submitted for a final decision unless, for good cause shown, the period is extended for an additional time not to exceed 30 days.

(b) If an agency intends to issue a final written decision in a contested case that grants or denies relief and the relief that is granted or denied differs materially from a final agency decision that was orally announced on the record, the agency may not issue the final written decision without first providing notice to the parties and an opportunity to be heard before the agency.

(2) Findings of fact must be based exclusively on the evidence and on matters officially noticed.

(3) Each conclusion of law must be supported by authority or by a reasoned opinion.

(4) If, in accordance with agency rules, a party submitted proposed findings of fact, the decision must include a ruling upon each proposed finding.

(5) Parties must be notified by mail of any decision or order. Upon request, a copy of the decision or order must be delivered or mailed in a timely manner to each party and to each party's attorney of record.

(6) Each agency shall index and make available for public inspection all final decisions and orders, including declaratory rulings under 2-4-501. An agency decision or order is not valid or effective against any person or party, and it may not be invoked by the agency for any purpose until it has been made available for public inspection as required in this section. This provision is not applicable in favor of any person or party who has actual knowledge of the decision or order or when a state statute or federal statute or regulation prohibits public disclosure of the contents of a decision or order.

History: (1), (3) thru (6)En. Sec. 13, Ch. 2, Ex. L. 1971; amd. Sec. 15, Ch. 285, L. 1977; Sec. 82-4213, R.C.M. 1947; (2)En. Sec. 9, Ch. 2, Ex. L. 1971; Sec. 82-4209, R.C.M. 1947; R.C.M. 1947, 82-4209(7), 82-4213; amd. Sec. 3, Ch. 347, L. 2005; amd. Sec. 1, Ch. 571, L. 2005; amd. Sec. 2, Ch. 445, L. 2009.