Pallister v. Blue Cross/Blue Shield

Pallister v. Blue Cross/Blue Shield, 2013 MT 149 (June 4, 2013) (5-0) (Rice. J.)

Issue: Whether the district court erred in denying Pallister’s motion for substitution of judge on remand.

Short Answer: No.

Affirmed

Facts: In Pallister I, the Court remanded this class action to allow discovery by Pallister et al., class members who objected to the proposed settlement. 2012 MT 198.

Procedural Posture & Holding: Upon remand, Pallister moved to substitute the presiding district judge. The class representatives objected, as did the defendants. The court denied the motion on the grounds that Pallister is not an “adverse party,” but rather a class member who objects to the proposed settlement.

Reasoning: Pallister is an unnamed class member; he is not a separate party. He therefore cannot establish that he is an adverse party under § 3-1-804(12), the statute governing substitution of district judges in litigation with multiple parties.