Montana Code Annotated 2023



Part 1. Rules

Entry Of Judgment

Rule 21. Entry of judgment.

A. GROUNDS. A judge shall enter judgment in the docket of the court in the following circumstances:

(1) Offer to compromise before trial. If the defendant, at any time before the trial, offers in writing to allow judgment to be taken against the defendant for a specified sum, the plaintiff may immediately have judgment therefor, with the costs then accrued. However, if the plaintiff does not accept the offer before the trial and fails to recover in the action a sum in excess of the offer, the plaintiff cannot recover costs. In such a case, costs must be adjudged against the plaintiff and, if the plaintiff recovers, be deducted from the plaintiff's recovery. The offer and failure to accept may not be given in evidence or affect the recovery except as to costs.

(2) Judgment of dismissal without prejudice. Judgment that the action be dismissed without prejudice to a new action may be entered with costs against the plaintiff in the following cases:

(a) when the plaintiff voluntarily dismissed the action, at or before the close of the plaintiff's evidence, when there is no counterclaim;

(b) when the plaintiff fails to amend the complaint within the time allowed by the court;

(c) for improper venue under Rule 3B of these rules.

(3) Judgment by confession. Judgment by confession must be as provided for in Title 27, chapter 9.

(4) Judgment on pleadings. After the pleadings are closed but within a time as not to delay the trial, any party may move for judgment on the pleadings. Matters outside the pleadings may not be presented to the court. A court may grant judgment on the pleadings for either party. The court may only grant judgement on the pleadings if the pleadings themselves construed in the light most favorable to the party opposing the judgment, show that it would be impossible for the party against whom the judgment is entered to prevail at trial.

(5) Summary judgment. Either party may move for, and the judge may grant, summary judgment on one or more of the issues raised by the pleadings. In so moving, responding to the motion, and ruling on the motion, the parties and the court shall follow the procedures specified in Rule 56 of M.R.Civ.P.

(6) Upon verdict. After a trial by jury, the judge shall enter judgment at once in conformity with the verdict.

(7) After trial by judge. When the trial is by the judge, the judge shall enter judgment within 30 days.

(8) By default.

(a) (1) When a party against whom a judgment for affirmative relief is sought has failed to answer or reply as provided by these rules upon written motion by the plaintiff or counterclaiming defendant, the judge or clerk must enter the default against such party.

(2) When a default has been entered against a defendant for failure to answer and if the plaintiff's claim against the defendant is for a sum certain or for a sum that can by computation be made certain, upon the plaintiff's written request stating the amount due, the judge or clerk must enter judgment for that amount and costs against the defaulted defendant.

(b) If in order to enable the court to enter judgment or to carry it into effect it is necessary to determine the amount of damages or to establish the truth of any allegation by evidence, the court may conduct hearings it considers necessary and proper.

(c) A judgment by default shall not be different in kind from or exceed in amount that prayed for in the demand for judgment in the complaint or counterclaim.

B. MULTIPLE DEFENDANTS. The court shall enter judgment only against those over whom it has obtained jurisdiction.

History: En. Sup. Ct. Ord. February 9, 1990, eff. June 1, 1990; Rule 21C disapproved, Sec. 3, Ch. 285, L. 1991; amd. Sup. Ct. Ord. June 24, 1997, eff. Oct. 1, 1997.