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(1) The court has divided the state into six geographic areas. Generally, the court holds trials in the places designated in (3) except for trials in the Butte venue, which the court holds in Helena unless the parties request otherwise. Upon agreement of the parties and consent of the court, or upon order of the court, the court may hold a trial at any time and any place. The court attempts to accommodate parties' requests for special trial settings; however, the court reserves the discretion to determine the time and place of all trials.

(2) The court commences trials on Monday of the week set for trial. The court convenes in each area four times per year unless the court finds good cause to cancel a trial term. Court is in session or recess at the convenience of the court. The court regularly prepares a schedule that sets deadlines, the dates for pretrial conferences and trials, and the location of the pretrial conferences or trials in each area.

(3) The court has named each of the six areas designated for trial schedule purposes for the principal city in the counties making up the area as follows:

(a) Kalispell area:

(i) Flathead and Lincoln.

(b) Missoula area:

(i) Lake, Mineral, Missoula, Ravalli, and Sanders.

(c) Butte area:

(i) Beaverhead, Deer Lodge, Granite, Jefferson, Madison, Powell, Silver Bow, Gallatin, Park, Sweet Grass, and Wheatland.

(d) Billings area:

(i) Big Horn, Carbon, Golden Valley, Musselshell, Petroleum, Stillwater, Treasure, Yellowstone, Carter, Custer, Dawson, Fallon, McCone, Powder River, Prairie, Richland, Rosebud, Wibaux, Daniels, Garfield, Phillips, Roosevelt, Sheridan, and Valley.

(e) Great Falls area:

(i) Blaine, Cascade, Chouteau, Fergus, Glacier, Hill, Judith Basin, Liberty, Pondera, Teton, and Toole.

(f) Helena area:

(i) Broadwater, Lewis and Clark, and Meagher.

(4) Upon receipt of a petition regarding a dispute meeting the requirements of these rules, the court issues a scheduling order fixing deadlines for discovery, the filing of pretrial motions, preparation of a pretrial order and other pretrial matters; setting the date of the final pretrial conference; and setting a trial at a time that allows 75 days' notice. The court may, for good cause, hold a trial over to the next regular trial date or specially set the trial for a different time and/or place.


History: 2-4-201, MCA; IMP, 2-4-201, 39-71-2901, MCA; NEW, 1983 MAR p. 1715, Eff. 11/26/83; AMD, 1987 MAR p. 1618, Eff. 9/25/87; TRANS, from ARM 2.52.310, 1989 MAR p. 2177, Eff. 12/22/89; AMD, 1990 MAR p. 847, Eff. 5/1/90; AMD, 1994 MAR p. 27, Eff. 1/14/94; AMD, 2003 MAR p. 650, Eff. 4/11/03; AMD, 2014 MAR p. 2829, Eff. 3/1/15; AMD, 2018 MAR p. 305, Eff. 3/15/18.

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