Conflict of Laws
Professor Chuck Willey
This subject was on the July 2009 Montana Bar Exam, and is eligible to be on future Bar Exams. It deals with the actions and transactions of an increasingly mobile population which involve the laws of two or more jurisdictions. It covers both the Restatement and the other major analytical systems for determining whose law applies. In this multi-jurisdictional context it ties together and applies many other subject areas, including torts, insurance law, contracts, transactions involving both real estate and personal property, jurisdictional requirements, constitutional constraints, Indian law and the conflicts between state and tribal courts, conflicts between state and federal jurisdiction, family law (dissolution and child custody and visitation), estate-related law (wills, trusts and probate), and workers compensation. Examples include: an auto accident in Montana involving both Montana residents and residents of another state who were insured in another state; (The Montana and North Dakota Supreme Courts recently issued diametrically opposed opinions on the same set of facts in this context); crimes and commercial transactions between Indians and non-Indians, both on and off-reservation; conflicts between a Montana trial court and an out-of-state Bankruptcy Court; transactions in which Montana land, or equipment to be used in Montana, is financed out-of-state; a deficiency judgment obtained upon a foreclosure of a Montana mortgage which is sought to be enforced in another state; an Oregon insurance company providing workers' compensation insurance seeking to capture part of the employee's recovery for a truck driver's injury occurring in Montana; a dispute between a Montana probate personal representative and an out-of-state decedent or trustee; or a dispute between citizens of State A and State B concerning the validity of a divorce, child custody or visitation. The course will cover national, international and Montana cases.