Attorney Fees of Landowners In Montana
Attorney fees under the provisions of Section 25-10-711, MCA:
As a matter of law, the State does not have a right to make its promise to pay the landowners' expenses illusory.
The State had a duty to evaluate Defendants' claim for litigation expenses in good faith. This is not to say that the State cannot contest the litigation expenses for the value case claimed by the landowners.
However it cannot properly engage in a full-fledged lawsuit over the litigation expenses in the value case without first thoroughly investigating the basis for the landowners' claim of litigation expenses and without first objectively evaluating that claim.
To hold otherwise would give the power to the State to undermine its promise to pay reasonable and necessary litigation expenses. Full-fledged litigation over the expenses and attorney fees in the value case is extremely expensive.