HELENA – Montana’s Attorney General Austin Knudsen exercised his supervisory powers today on the Matt Kelley v Rocking R Bar case. Knudsen ordered District Attorney Marty Lambert to immediately dismiss the case against the Bozeman deal, which had refused to adhere to the mandate that shops close at 10:00 p.m.
“The ten o’clock closing rule is contrary to common sense. This type of transgression is devastating for Montana workers and small businesses, ”said Attorney General Knudsen. “Our action today sends a clear message that we must safely reopen our economy and not allow overzealous local governments to take Montana companies and their employees hostage.”
“This announcement will bring stability and security to Montana businesses. They will no longer have to fear law enforcement for just serving their customers,” said John Iverson of the Montana Tavern Association.
On November 28, 2020, the Gallatin County Attorney’s Office announced that they had taken legal action against the Rocking R Bar for allegedly failing to comply with local and state health regulations.
“The Rocking R Bar is also in violation of the governor’s policy regarding the 10pm closing time. That’s what we’re talking about,” said Gallatin County attorney Marty Lambert.
“The Bozeman Police have checked numerous bars in Bozeman. The investigative efforts here didn’t just focus on the Rocking R Bar. They checked a number of bars every night. The Rocking R Bar in Bozeman town, the Rocking R, is the only one that doesn’t close at 10pm, ”said Lambert.
Governor Greg Gianforte issued a policy on Wednesday lifting hours of operation restrictions for businesses in Montana.
Full text of the letter:
Dear District Attorney Lambert:
According to MCA § 2-15-501 (5), the attorney general is obliged to “exercise supervisory powers over district attorneys in all matters relating to the tasks of his offices”. In accordance with that authority, I hereby exercise my supervisory powers with respect to the Matt Kelley v. Rocking R Bar, Gallatin County Cause No. DV-20-1278B, from.
I command and direct you to resolve the above action under Rule 41 (a) (1) (A) (ii) of the Montana Code of Civil Procedure. The rejection of the lawsuit removes procedurally all sufficient grounds for the interim injunction issued on December 18, 2020. For this reason, I also instruct you to coordinate with the defendant to ensure that the lawsuit can be filed at the same time as or before the filing of the lawsuit. Specified notice of termination – a motion to dissolve the injunction and an affidavit in accordance with MCA Section 27- 19-401.
Thank you for your quick attention on this important matter.
Austin Knudsen Attorney General of Montana