Montana Judge Rules on Case – 24 Years Later

By Beacon Staff

GREAT FALLS – The wheels of justice grind slowly, but this may be a record.

In Montana’s Toole County, retired District Judge Ronald McPhillips this week issued a ruling in a lawsuit that was left hanging for nearly a quarter-century.

The judge ruled against Milan Ayers, who contended that former partner James Rubow swindled him out of his share of a natural gas field.

The lawsuit was filed March 31, 1983. The last entry in the clerk’s register was in March 1985. Then the file disappeared from the clerk’s office.

After the Great Falls Tribune wrote about it, McPhillips found the case documents in an old briefcase at home. The state Supreme Court said McPhillips could rule on the case, and on Monday he ruled that Rubow did not breach his agreement with Ayers.

Ayers says he’s uncertain whether he’ll appeal.

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