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The Current State of Court Operations in Montana (March 24)
March 24, 2020


Civil Courts

Given Governor Bullock’s recent orders for many businesses to close, as well as the federal guidance to maintain social distancing, Montana’s civil courts have altered their operations accordingly. As of March 24, 2020, the following modifications to court operations are in effect: 

  • Most of Montana’s state trial courts are encouraging civil litigants to continue planned jury trials and/or opt for a bench trial instead. Additionally, all non-essential civil hearings will be continued or handled by telephone or video conference.
  • All federal jury trials set to begin before May 1, 2020, have been vacated and will be reset by the presiding judge. Individual federal judges have the discretion to continue with bench trials and/or conduct hearings by telephone or video conference.
  • All courts, state and federal, remain open for filings but highly encourage litigants to utilize electronic filing, where available.
  • All non-court aspects of your civil case can move forward: discovery requests can be served and answered, and depositions can occur by phone or video. Indeed, several Montana court reporter services are ramping up their ability to conduct remote depositions in order to accommodate the current restrictions on in-person gatherings. 

The State Bar of Montana is maintaining a continuously updated webpage that has links to all current court orders for all of Montana’s state courts: This webpage will be helpful to check on an ongoing basis to determine what restrictions are in place for your specific jurisdiction within Montana. 

For more information on this or other COVID-19 related issues, contact Liz Mellem by calling (406) 333.0530 or send an email to


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