Lon Dale

Lon J. Dale

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“Give the best possible personal attention to the details of a client's needs while providing economical services.”
CONTACT

Lon J. Dale

Lon J. Dale

Practice Areas

Admissions

  • State Bar of Montana
  • Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribal Court
  • All U.S. District Courts in Montana
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. Supreme Court

Education

  • University of Montana (J.D., 1971)
  • University of Montana (B.A., 1968)
CONTACT

Lon J. Dale

Lon has engaged in an active civil litigation practice representing plaintiffs, defendants , individuals, businesses, and insurance companies for over 45 years. The result is a significant variety of judicial decisions at both the trial and appellate level. Lon has been lead counsel in more than 40 jury cases tried to verdict, and participated as lead counsel of record in more than 50 cases decided by Montana’s Supreme Court. Although appellate oral argument before the Montana Supreme Court is discretionary and relatively rare (about 2% of cases filed), over the span of four decades, Lon has orally argued more than 20 appellate cases. Some of Lon’s notable reported appellate cases are set forth in his “Representative Cases” section, including the often nationally cited Oliver v. Stimson decision that established a common law tort remedy in Montana for spoliation of evidence. Litigation, albeit at trial by presentation of evidence and witness testimony, or navigating through the extensive technicalities presented by appellate rules and procedures, requires attention to details while advising and assisting clients with understanding the intricacies of judicial processes. The Firm’s team approach utilizing devoted attorneys and paralegal professionals has well served the needs of the Firm’s many clients. For over 30 years, Lon has worked with a talented and caring paralegal, Annabelle (AB) Blade, in a dedicated and focused representation of the Firm’s clients. The Firm believes in and practices the importance of long-term relationships with both clients and staff, many of whom have received or provided professional services spanning decades.

PERSONAL BACKGROUND

Lon was raised in Teton County where his parents were farmers, carrying on a family tradition of his Norwegian paternal grandparents and Swedish maternal grandparents, both of whom were homesteaders in North Central Montana. Lon spent his adolescent years assisting his parents with their farm operations. Today, Lon and wife Pam own and lease out his paternal grandparent’ land holdings. After graduation from Choteau High School, Lon matriculated to the University of Montana, graduating with a degree in Political Science and History. Lon was then commissioned in the U.S. Army through the University’s ROTC program and ultimately separated with a rank of Captain. Having been admitted to University of Montana School of Law, Lon was employed summers during law school as a Forest Service smokejumper. In 1970, Lon and Pam Close of Spokane were married and are fortunate to live and raise their family in Missoula where Pam was a high school teacher, retiring after 34 years of service. The Dales are blessed with two sons, Kyle and Blane who also now reside in Missoula with their own families. Kyle is a physician specializing in interventional radiology, and his wife Liz is a pharmacist. Kyle and Liz are parents of Charlotte and Jack who enjoy many of Montana’s outdoor activities with their parents and grandparents. Blane is a licensed professional engineer specializing in mining reclamation, and his wife Megan is a school teacher. Blane and Megan have two young boys, Foster and Lawrence, who are just beginning their Montana journeys. After completion of active duty, Lon was employed as a Missoula Deputy County Attorney for four years while engaging in civil practice that evolved into Lon and Mike Milodragovich starting what is the present law firm in 1975. Missoula and Montana have not only provided Lon and his family with participation in successful businesses, but also the opportunity to pursue many Montana avocations now enjoyed by the fifth generation of Montana Dales. Lon holds life memberships in Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, National Rifle Associaton, National Smokejumper Association, Trout Unlimited, Pheasants Forever, Boone and Crockett Club, Back Country Hunters and Anglers, and Montana Chapter of North America Wild Sheep. The 2017 hunting season was memorable for the harvesting of a record book Rocky Mountain sheep. Fishing Montana’s streams and lakes, hunting Montana’s forests and fields, training dogs for upland bird hunting, and recreating on Montana’s vast lands remain year around activities now enthusiastically enjoyed by all members of the Dale family. While enjoying all of the rewards of family, friends, and community, Lon still maintains an active litigation practice, benefitting from decades of established business, personal, and professional relationships.


Representative Cases

  • In re Estate of Bennett,
    2013 MT 230. Clarified parental wrongful death claims.
  • Gonzales et al. v. Montana Power Company,
    2010 MT Certified. Class action for manipulating and mishandling workers' compensation claims.
  • Oliver v. Stimson,
    1999 MT 328. Established spoliation as separate remedy.
  • Hunt v. K-Mart Corporation,
    1999 Mont. 125. Largest plaintiff's verdict in Ravalli County.
  • Larson v. Squire Shops, Inc.,
    228 Mont. 377, 742 P.2d 1003 (1987). Leading case for workers' compensation domiciliary care.
  • Britton v. Farmers Insurance Group (Truck Insurance Exchange),
    221 Mont. 67, 721 P.2d 303 (1986). Leading case on bad faith.
  • Workman v. McIntyre Construction, et al.,
    190 Mont. 5, 617 P.2d 1281 (1980). Changed Montana's case law on demonstrative evidence.

Associations

  • American Board of Trial Advocates (member by invitation, Montana chapter)
  • Western Montana Bar Association
  • American Bar Association — Section on Tort and Insurance Practice
  • Defense Research Institute
  • American Association for Justice
  • Montana Trial Lawyers Association
  • Trial Lawyers for Public Justice
  • The National Trial Lawyers — Top 100

Awards & Recognitions

  • Lon has received an AV Preeminent rating by Martindale Hubbell.

  • Mountain States Super Lawyers Listing for General Litigation, 2007 through 2017.


Professional Background

  • Lon was a former Deputy County Attorney for Missoula County, and an original shareholder of the law firm.