U S Supreme Court: Possible Appeal and Current Legal Timelines

March 25, 2016

On March 11, MTCIA attorney, Jim Goetz, filed a Motion for Reconsideration of the recent Montana Supreme Court decision. The motion requested two things.

  • That the court postpone the effect of its decision until the end of the 2017 Montana Legislative session
  • That the Court reconsider its Opinion upholding the 3 patient limit

We’ve requested the first in order to create the opportunity for the MT Legislature to address the issues raised by the Court’s Opinion and remedy the burden that will be placed on patients, particularly the elderly and those extremely infirm who do not have the option of providing for themselves. This request is supported by an Affidavit from DPHHS attesting to the fact that it will take four months to do the work to make the program conform to the Court’s decision.

We’ve requested the second as it would be an important step in assuring that those in need retain access to the medicine they have come to count on.

On March 15, the Montana Attorney General’s Office responded to this request, opposing the Motion. But even in its opposition, the AG’s Office admits that DPHHS will need some time to comply with the Court’s decision.

As of today, the Montana Supreme Court has not taken action on the motion.

In the meantime, the MTCIA has requested that Mr. Goetz investigate the possibility of an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. Jim Goetz has had three cases accepted by the Supreme Court and has argued two before it. He is well-qualified to assess and forward this request. Though an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court is always a long shot, Mr. Goetz believes there are some intriguing issues in our case that may catch the Court’s attention. He will report back to the MTCIA in three to four weeks on this possibility. According the U.S. Supreme Court’s rules, we have 90 days to appeal from the date of the Montana Supreme Court’s decision.

As always, the MTCIA is exploring all options to keep the doors open for the people of Montana.