Montana State Fund board withdraws lawsuit opposing $30M charge

The Montana State Fund’s board of directors has decided to withdraw a lawsuit seeking to stop the state from putting a $30 million charge on some of the fund’s investment holdings.

During an emergency meeting Wednesday afternoon, the board voted 5-2 to pull out of the lawsuit, filed earlier this month in district court in Lewis & Clark County.

The Montana State Fund is the state’s worker’s compensation fund, a quasi-governmental body that insures about 26,000 businesses against on-the-job injuries.

State lawmakers approved a temporary management fee on the fund’s investments during this month’s special legislative session, as a way to help close Montana’s $227 million budget gap. The proposal immediately drew criticism from State Fund president Laurence Hubbard, who argued state law requires the fund’s money be used only for workers’ compensation purposes.