(1) The court shall appoint masters or examiners when, in the judgment of the court, justice will be served.

(2) The court appoints masters pursuant to M. R. Civ. P. 53. Masters utilize the procedures set forth in M. R. Civ. P. 53 insofar as they relate to a trial without a jury.

(3) The court appoints examiners pursuant to 2-4-611, MCA. Examiners serve pursuant to 2-4-611, MCA. However, the time delays inherent in the procedures set forth in 2-4-621 and 2-4-622, MCA, are not appropriate in Workers' Compensation Court proceedings within the meaning of 39-71-2903, MCA. In lieu thereof, the court utilizes the following procedure in cases where it appoints a hearing examiner.

(a) Following submission of the case, the hearing examiner submits proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law to the judge. The court does not serve the proposed decision of the hearing examiner upon the parties until after the judge has ruled thereon. The judge decides whether to adopt the proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law of the hearing examiner based solely upon the record and pleadings made before the hearing examiner. The court does not reject or revise findings of fact made by a hearing examiner unless the court first determines from a review of the complete record, and states with particularity in the order, that the findings of fact were not based upon competent substantial evidence or that the proceedings on which the findings were based did not comply with essential requirements of law. The court may, upon its own motion, reconsider or alter conclusions of law and interpretations of statutes or rules written by a hearing examiner. Subject to the provisions of this subsection, the court enters its order and judgment adopting the decision of the hearing examiner.

(b) Any party aggrieved by a decision of a hearing examiner adopted pursuant to this rule may obtain review thereof by filing a motion pursuant to ARM 24.5.344. Upon the filing of such a motion by any party, the court, in its discretion, liberally grants the opportunity for oral argument as to whether it should: amend the decision; hear additional evidence; or grant a new trial.

(4) An examiner may, during or at the conclusion of a trial or a pretrial conference, advise the parties that an interlocutory order for payment of benefits or other relief to a party appears to be justified and promptly submit such an order for approval by the judge.

History: 2-4-201, MCA; IMP, 2-4-201, 39-71-2901, MCA; NEW, 1983 MAR p. 1715, Eff. 11/26/83; TRANS, from ARM 2.52.340, 1989 MAR p. 2117, Eff. 12/22/89; AMD, 1994 MAR p. 675, Eff. 4/1/94; AMD, 2014 MAR p. 2829, Eff. 3/1/15.