Montana Code Annotated 2021



Part 1. Rules


Rule 13. Discovery.

A. SCOPE AND LIMITS. There shall be no formal discovery except pursuant to court order as provided by these rules.

(1) Either party may make a motion for an order to obtain discovery through the use of requests for production, depositions and written interrogatories, regarding any matter, not privileged, that is relevant to the subject matter involved in the pending action, whether it relates to the claim or defense of the parties seeking discovery or to the claim or defense of any other party, including the existence, description, nature, custody, condition, and location of any books, documents, or other tangible things and the identity and location of persons having knowledge of any discoverable matter. It is not a ground for objection that the information sought is inadmissible at the trial if the information sought appears reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence.

(2) Any motion for formal discovery must include a statement that informal discovery was requested but was unsuccessful.

(3) (a) The frequency or extent of use of the discovery set forth in this rule must be limited by the court if it determines that:

(i) the discovery sought is unreasonably cumulative or duplicative or is obtainable from some other source that is more convenient, less burdensome, or less expensive;

(ii) the party seeking discovery has had ample opportunity by discovery in the action to obtain the information sought; or

(iii) the discovery is unduly burdensome or expensive, taking into account the needs of the case, the amount in controversy, limitations on the party's resources, and the importance of the issues at stake in the litigation.

(b) The court may act upon its own initiative after reasonable notice or pursuant to Rule 9 or 14.

(4) The type and extent of discovery, as well as the appropriate timeframes, must be determined by the court. Either party may request, or the court may order on its own, a hearing on the motion for discovery.

(5) Deposition will be allowed only upon written motion and at the discretion of the judge and if allowed must be taken as provided in Rules 26 and 28 through 30 of the Montana Rules of Civil Procedure.

B. SANCTIONS. If a party, or an officer, director, or managing agent of a party, or party's attorney fails to comply with this rule or a discovery order issued by a justice or city court, the court may award, against the party or attorney in violation, reasonable expenses, including attorney fees caused by failure to comply. Upon a showing of serious abuse of the discovery process the court may dismiss the action or grant default judgment as an appropriate sanction, in addition to or in lieu of a monetary sanction. If the court finds that the failure was substantially justified or that other circumstances make an award of expenses unjust, the court is not required to impose sanctions. Nothing in these rules is meant to interfere with the inherent contempt powers of the court.

History: En. Sup. Ct. Ord. February 9, 1990, eff. June 1, 1990; amd. Sup. Ct. Ord. June 24, 1997, eff. Oct. 1, 1997.