Articles Posted in Montana

Medical malpractice is a hot issue in Montana as its legislature considers various malpractice related bills. What struck me is this quote:

Robert Stears, a diagnostic radiologist from Billings, said he gets calls from doctors far too often that end with “Bob I’m sorry I had to order this test. I know it’s going to be normal, but you know how it is.” Stears said covering bases in his line of work often means exposing patients to undue radiation for tests that have a one-in-a-thousand probability of finding an illness.

So our friend Bob agrees to expose patients to undue radiation because he wants to help the referring doctor cover himself to avoid a medical malpractice lawsuit. Bob, do you realize what you are admitting here? Other than me, does anybody?

In Kipfinger v. Great Falls Obstetrical & Gynecological Associates, the Montana Supreme Court reinstated a medical malpractice birth injury lawsuit against the remaining defendant, who had not yet settled the claim.


A pregnant woman arrived at Benefis Hospital in Great Falls, Montana, past her expected due date. An independent OB/GYN on call examined the patient’s prenatal records and found nothing significantly noteworthy. An attending nurse placed an electronic fetal heart rate monitor (EFM) on the woman’s abdomen, producing a fetal heart rate (FHR) record in relation to her contractions. This data can indicate whether the fetus is sufficiently oxygenated or at risk of hypoxic brain injury due to low oxygen supply.

In this post, we will provide an overview of the law of personal injury in Montana. We will also provide summaries of recent jury verdicts and publicly reported settlements in Montana injury cases.

Montana 3-Year Statute of Limitations in Injury Cases

Like all states, Montana has a strict deadline for how long a plaintiff can wait before filing a civil lawsuit. This law is known as a statute of limitations. If the plaintiff does not file their case before the statute of limitations expires, they will lose their right to sue.

In an unreported opinion last month, the Supreme Court of Montana decided an appeal of an order granting a motion for judgment as a matter of law in favor of a doctor in Yellowstone County. The court found that the patient failed to present expert testimony that the doctor breached the standard of care in obtaining informed consent before performing surgery.

Facts of Greene v. McDowell

The Montana Supreme Court decided Higgins v. Augustine yesterday. This lawsuit involved a dispute over whether a doctor had breached the standard of care during a circumcision.

The lawsuit alleged that the doctor was negligent in performing the procedure, causing the child to suffer an injury, and sought damages. The case went to trial, and the jury returned a verdict in favor of the doctor. However, the plaintiff appealed the District Court’s decision to exclude specific evidence related to a witness’s expert testimony.

During the trial, the expert witness testified that the injury suffered by the child was not consistent with the use of the correct tools and suggested that the doctor may have used incorrect scissors or misused the correct scissors. However, the plaintiff had not adequately disclosed the witness’s opinion promptly, leading the defendant to move for its exclusion. The District Court agreed, and the plaintiff appealed this decision.

The Montana Supreme Court affirmed an $850,000 award to the parents of a baseball player who tragically died after being struck by a ball hit with an aluminum baseball bat.

If your kids are playing baseball – particularly if they are pitching – you have thought about these facts. An 18-year-old boy is pitching in an American Legion baseball game and gets hit in the head. Just an awful case that makes you question whether or not your kids should be playing any sport. There is no completely safe game.

Continue reading

Contact Information