Montana Code Annotated 2023



Part 7. Protection of Livestock and Agricultural Resources

Payment Of Damages To Department Of Livestock

69-14-711. Payment of damages to department of livestock. (1) If livestock are killed by railroad corporations in violation of 69-14-701 and if the owner of the livestock does not claim or assert a claim against the railroad or railroad corporation for the value of the livestock killed within 6 months from the date the animal is killed, the department of livestock shall demand from the railroad or railroad corporation payment in damages for livestock. The department shall institute and prosecute, in the name of the state, actions against the railroad or railroad companies in a court of competent jurisdiction to recover damages if the railroad fails, neglects, or refuses to make payment of the amount of the claim filed by the department.

(2) The money recovered must be paid to the department and must be held by the department for a period of 2 years after the date of its receipt. If the lawful owner of the animal killed does not present and prove the owner's claim to the net proceeds received from the animal killed within the 2 years, the money must be paid to the state treasurer and credited to the stock estray fund. If the owner of the animal killed proves the owner's claim within the 2 years, the department may pay the claimant the amount of money to which the claimant is entitled for the animal killed by the railroad or railroad company, the damages for which have been collected by the department.

(3) In actions prosecuted under this section for the recovery of the value of livestock killed, the prevailing or successful party shall recover all costs. If the owner of an animal killed has not presented a claim against the railroad or railroad company that caused it to be killed, a settlement made by the department constitutes a bar against an action by the owner of the animal.

History: En. Sec. 1, Ch. 183, L. 1907; Sec. 4315, Rev. C. 1907; amd. Sec. 2, Ch. 99, L. 1919; re-en. Sec. 6546, R.C.M. 1921; re-en. Sec. 6546, R.C.M. 1935; amd. Sec. 16, Ch. 315, L. 1974; R.C.M. 1947, 72-407; amd. Sec. 2044, Ch. 56, L. 2009.