Montana Code Annotated 2023



Part 1. Rules

Order Of Trial

Rule 19. Order of trial.

In a nonjury trial or in a jury trial after the jury has been impaneled, the trial must proceed in the following order, unless the court, for good cause, otherwise directs:

(1) The party on whom rests the burden of the issues may briefly state a case and the evidence by which the party expects to sustain it.

(2) The adverse party may next briefly state a defense and the evidence the party expects to offer in support of it, or the party may reserve the opening statement for the beginning of the case.

(3) The party on whom rests the burden of the issues must first produce evidence. The adverse party will then produce evidence.

(4) The parties will then be confined to rebutting evidence unless the court, for good reasons, in furtherance of justice, permits them to offer evidence in their original case.

(5) The court shall charge the jury with its duties, instructing it in all matters of law that it finds necessary for the jury's information in rendering a verdict. Proposed instructions may be offered to the court by the parties. Instructions shall be offered if ordered at the pretrial conference.

(6) (a) The order for final argument is plaintiff, defendant, and rebuttal by plaintiff of defendant's argument. No further argument is allowed. If several defendants having several defenses appear by different counsel, the court shall determine their relative order in the evidence and argument.

(b) In arguing the case to the jury, a party or counsel may argue and comment upon the law of the case as given in the instructions of the court, as well as upon the evidence in the case.

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