Montana Code Annotated 2023



Part 24. Mediation

Disputes -- Jurisdiction -- Settlement Requirements -- Mediation

39-71-2401. Disputes -- jurisdiction -- settlement requirements -- mediation. (1) A dispute concerning benefits arising under this chapter, other than the disputes described in subsection (2), must be brought before a department mediator as provided in this part. If a dispute still exists after the parties satisfy the mediation requirements in this part, either party may petition the workers' compensation court for a resolution.

(2) A dispute arising under this chapter that does not concern benefits or a dispute for which a specific provision of this chapter gives the department jurisdiction must be brought before the department.

(3) An appeal from a department order may be made to the workers' compensation court.

(4) Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, before a party may bring a dispute concerning benefits before a mediator, the parties shall attempt to settle as follows:

(a) The party making a demand shall present the other party with a specific written demand that contains sufficient explanation and documentary evidence to enable the other party to thoroughly evaluate the demand.

(b) The party receiving the demand shall respond in writing within 15 working days of receipt. If the demand is denied in whole or in part, the response must state the basis of the denial.

(c) Upon motion of a party or upon the mediator's own motion, the mediator has the authority to dismiss a petition if the mediator finds that either party did not comply with this subsection (4). A decision dismissing a petition under this subsection (4)(c) must be in writing and must state in detail the grounds for dismissal. The mediator's decision may be reviewed by the workers' compensation court upon motion of a party.

(d) This subsection (4) does not relieve a party of an obligation otherwise contained in this chapter.

History: En. Sec. 8, Ch. 464, L. 1987; amd. Sec. 1, Ch. 427, L. 1989; amd. Sec. 64, Ch. 613, L. 1989; amd. Sec. 10, Ch. 558, L. 1991; amd. Sec. 29, Ch. 416, L. 2005; amd. Sec. 1550, Ch. 56, L. 2009.