A Publication Hiccup

February 3, 2015 § 2 Comments

Last week the Meridian Star newspaper failed to publish legal notices scheduled for Tuesday, apparently by oversight. The paper called the lawyers who had had items scheduled and offered to republish any way the lawyers directed.

This caused some heart palpitations that influenced two lawyers to seek out my position on the matter, since estates assigned to me were affected. Each were running second and third publications. They had directed the paper to publish on three consecutive Tuesdays, and were concerned about the variation in days.

Before getting to a response, let’s look at the two most commonly invoked provisions on point:

  • MCA 91-7-145(2) states that notice to creditors in an estate, conservatorship, or guardianship ” … shall be published for three consecutive weeks.” The requirement clearly is that the publication be made once in each of three consecutive weeks. The day is immaterial.
  • MRCP 4((a)(4)(b) for process by publication is even clearer. It specifically provides that ” … publication of said summons shall be made once in each week during three consecutive weeks …” Again, the specific day of the week is immaterial.

So the answer, simply, is that so long as the paper publishes your notice or process one time in each of three consecutive weeks, regardless of the days when the notices are published, you have met the requirement of the statute and the rule.

There are other notice statutes. When you must comply with one, follow the express language of the statute.

Sometimes we get caught up in old habits, like telling the clerk at the paper to “Run this the next three Wednesdays …” and that’s how we always do it because that’s how we’ve always done it. But it’s the specific language of the statute or rule that controls, not force of habit.

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