Oral Argument Schedule
The majority of cases before the Montana Supreme Court are decided based upon the written briefs submitted by the parties. However, the Court may decide that a case requires further discussion, in addition to what the parties have argued in their written briefs. In such cases, oral arguments are scheduled in open session before the Court. Approximately 30 cases a year are scheduled for oral argument.
Oral arguments are tightly structured and timed. The counsel for each party is allowed limited time to make an argument. The times typically range from 20 to 40 minutes and are set forth by the Court in the order setting oral argument.
While this format allows the counsel brief opportunity to further develop their arguments, it also gives the Court an opportunity to ask questions of the attorneys on points which the Court needs clarification.
A majority of oral arguments take place in the Montana Supreme Court Courtroom, located at 215 N. Sanders, Helena, Montana. The Court does schedule a few arguments to be heard in different cities around the State.
All of the oral arguments are open to the public.
DA 13-0472 LYLE PHILLIPS, ANNE DEE RENO, TURNER ASKEW, and BEN WHITTEN, Plaintiffs and Appellees, v. CITY OF WHITEFISH, Defendant, Third-Party Plaintiff, and Appellant, and THE BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS OF FLATHEAD COUNTY, Defendant, Third-Party Defendant and Appellee, and DAN WEINBERG and ED McGREW, individually and on behalf of LET WHITEFISH VOTE, a ballot committee lawfully organized under the laws of Montana; MARY PERSON and MARILYN R. NELSON, Intervenors and Appellants. ORAL ARGUMENT has been set for Friday, April 11, 2014, at 10:00 a.m. at the George Dennison Theater, University of Montana, Missoula, Montana, with an introduction to the oral argument beginning at 9:30 a.m. Oral argument times shall be 40 minutes for the Appellants and 30 minutes for the Appellees.
This case arises from long-term issues between the City of Whitefish and Flathead County regarding land use regulation in a 2-mile-wide “donut” surrounding Whitefish city limits. In this case, the District Court invalidated a 2011 City referendum which repealed a city-county resolution on the subject. The City appeals, arguing that (1) the post-election challenge to the referendum was filed too late; (2) the District Court erred when it determined that the resolution was an administrative act that was not repealable through the referendum process; and (3) the effect of the repeal of the referendum should be to return the City and County to a 2005 interlocal agreement under which the City had zoning and planning jurisdiction for the “donut.”
DA 12-0638 STATE OF MONTANA, Plaintiff and Appellee, v. KARLYLE STEVEN LEE PLOUFFE, Defendant and Appellant. ORAL ARGUMENT has been set for Wednesday, April 16, 2014, at 9:30 a.m. in the Courtroom of the Montana Supreme Court, Justice Building, Helena, Montana. Oral argument times shall be 30 minutes for the Appellant and 25 minutes for the Appellee.
OP 14-0096 STATE OF MONTANA, Petitioner, v. MONTANA NINTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT, TETON COUNTY, THE HONORABLE ROBERT OLSON, DISTRICT JUDGE, Respondent. ORAL ARGUMENT has been set for Monday, April 28, 2013, at 10:00 a.m. in the Strand Union Building, Ballroom A on the campus of Montana State University, Bozeman, Montana, with an introduction to the oral argument beginning at 9:30 a.m. Oral argument times shall be 40 minutes for the Petitioner and 30 minutes for the Respondent.
DA 13-0610 TINA MALCOMSON, Petitioner and Appellee, v. LIBERTY NORTHWEST, Respondent and Appellant. ORAL ARGUMENT has been set for Tuesday, May 6, 2014, at 10:00 a.m. at the Auditorium of the Library/Auditorium Building, Montana Tech of the University of Montana, Butte, Montana, with an introduction to the oral argument beginning at 9:30 a.m. Oral argument times shall be 40 minutes for the Appellant and 30 minutes for the Appellee.