Articles Posted in Personal Injury

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Workers’ Compensation Court of Appeals (WCCA) that Plaintiff’s injury “arose out of” her employment under the “increased-risk” test the Court applied in Dykhoff v. Xcel Energy, 840 N.W.2d 821 (Minn. 2013). Plaintiff, an employee of Relator, fell down a set of stairs as she was leaving work. The workers’ compensation judge held that the injury did not arise out of employment. The WCCA reversed, determining that the compensation judge applied the incorrect test to determine whether the stairs were hazardous and that the correct test was whether the stairs posed an “increased risk” as opposed to a “neutral risk.” Because the stairs alone increased Plaintiff’s risk of injury, the WCCA concluded that her injury arose out of her employment. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) an injury arises out of employment when there is a causal connection between the injury and the employment; and (2) applying that rule, there was a causal connection between Plaintiff’s injury on the stairway and her employment. View "Roller-Dick v. CentraCare Health System" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Workers’ Compensation Court of Appeals (WCCA) that the compensation judge failed fully to consider the extent to which each of Respondent’s employers sought to shift liability to the other employer and that it was error to deny Respondent’s motion for fees under Minn. Stat. 176.191(1). In 2015, Respondent filed a workers’ compensation claim for work-related aggravations to a low-back condition resulting from a work-related injury in 2009. Between the 2009 injury and later aggravations sustained in 2014 and 2015, Respondent’s employer and its insurer changed. When Respondent sought benefits for later aggravations sustained in 2014 and 2015, her 2009-employer and her new employer disputed whether the aggravations were a continuation of the 2009 injury or subsequent injuries for which the new employer and its insurer were liable. The compensation judge held the new employer liable for reasonable benefits for the later injuries but denied Respondent’s claim for fees under section 176.191(1). The WCCA reversed the denial of the motion for fees. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the efforts by each employer to shift responsibility to the other employer greatly increased the burden on Respondent’s counsel to provide effective representation, and therefore, Respondent was entitled to receive reasonable attorney fees under the statute. View "Hufnagel v. Deer River Health Care Center" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals reversing the district court’s grant of partial summary judgment in favor of Father on Son’s personal injury suit, holding that the Recreational-Use Statute, Minn. Stat. 604A.20-.27, did not apply to the facts of this case. Son was injured after he fell from a deer stand on Father’s property. The district court ruled that Father was entitled to recreational-use immunity, which allowed Son to proceed to trial to seek recovery under the trespasser exception to the statute. Based solely on the trespasser theory, the jury concluded that Son was ninety-five percent negligent. The court of appeals remanded the case for a new trial, holding that because Father did not offer his land for use by the public, the Recreational-Use Statute did not apply. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that where the usage of Father’s property was limited to immediate family, section 604A.22 did not apply to this case because the land was not offered for public use. View "Ouradnik v. Ouradnik" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

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At issue was whether an indemnity clause in a rental agreement required the renter to indemnify the rental company for the rental company’s negligence. The Tower Tap & Restaurant entered into an agreement to rent folding picnic tables from London Road Rental Center, Inc. for an event. Plaintiff injured his hip at Tower Tap’s event after one of the rented tables collapsed on him. Plaintiff sued Tower Tap and London Road. London Road filed a cross-claim against Tower Tap, seeking contractual indemnity based on the indemnity clause in the rental agreement. The district court granted summary judgment to London Road, concluding that the clause unequivocally covered liability for London Road’s own negligence. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the indemnity clause did not include express language that clearly and unequivocally showed the parties’ intent to transfer such liability to Tower Tap. View "Dewitt v. London Road Rental Center, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed and remanded in part the decision of the Workers’ Compensation Court of Appeals (WCCA) upholding the decision of the compensation judge ordering that Atlas Staffing, Inc. and its insurer, Meadowbrook Claims Services, pay workers’ compensation benefits to Anthony Gist. The compensation judge found that Gist’s exposure to silica, a known cause of end stage renal disease (ESRD), during his employment with Atlas was a substantial contributing factor to his kidney disease. In the consolidated appeals brought by Appellants and Fresenius Medical Care, which treated Gist after Appellants denied coverage and accepted payments from Medicaid and Medicare for the costs of that treatment, the Supreme Court held (1) the compensation judge did not abuse her discretion by relying on a certain medical report to find that work-related silica exposure was a substantial contributing factor to Gist’s kidney failure; (2) under 42 C.F.R. 447.15, a provider cannot recover payment from third parties for any services billed to Medicaid after the provider has accepted payment from Medicaid for those services; and (3) the WCCA erred when it dismissed Fresenius’s cross-appeal as untimely. View "Gist v. Atlas Staffing, Inc." on Justia Law

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The “actual notice” provision of the Civil Damages Act, see Minn. Stat. 340A.802(2), popularly known as the Dram Shop Act, requires actual notice of sufficient facts to put a liquor licensee on inquiry notice of a possible claim, not actual notice of a possible claim. In addition, the statute’s plain language does not require notice of certain indispensable facts but, rather, requires notice only of “sufficient facts.” Lastly, actual notice to a licensee’s liquor-liability attorney is notice to the licensee under section 340A.802(2). Appellants brought claims against Respondent, a liquor licensee, under the Civil Damages Act for damages arising out of the death of Mary Jo Meyer-Buskey in an automobile accident caused by a drunk driver. The district court granted summary judgment for Respondent, finding that Appellants failed to provide timely notice of their claims and that the correspondence of Appellants’ attorney with Respondent’s liquor-liability attorney did not qualify as “actual notice” under section 340A.802(2). The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the district court erred in granting summary judgment to Respondent. View "Buskey v. American Legion Post #270" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

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The Supreme Court reversed the grant of summary judgment in favor of Defendant in this action alleging that Defendant, as a landowner, violated his duty of care to his invitee, a four-year-old boy. The boy wandered off during a family party on Defendant’s property and suffered severe brain damage from a near-drowning in the Mississippi River. The district court granted Defendant’s motion for summary judgment on the ground that the harm to the boy was not foreseeable to Defendant. The court of appeals affirmed on the ground that Defendant was not liable because the danger was “obvious” to the boy. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) there were disputed facts regarding whether the danger of swimming in the river should have been obvious to the boy; and (2) the issue of foreseeability was one to be decided by a jury. View "Senogles v. Carlson" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

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The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the Workers' Compensation Court of Appeals (WCCA) to reverse the denial of Respondent's claim for ankle-fusion surgery. Respondent, who was injured during the course of her employment, filed a workers’ compensation claim petition for ankle-fusion surgery. The compensation judge denied Respondent’s claim for the ankle-fusion surgery. The WCCA reversed. Respondent’s employer appealed, arguing that the WCCA exceeded the scope of its review when it reversed the compensation judge’s decision to deny benefits to Respondent. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the compensation judge’s finding was “supported by evidence that a reasonable mind might accept as adequate,” and therefore, the WCCA clearly and manifestly erred in rejecting this finding. View "Mattick v. Hy-Vee Foods Stores" on Justia Law

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The Workers’ Compensation Court of Appeals (WCCA) clearly and manifestly erred by rejecting the findings of the compensation judge and overturning the determination that Respondent failed to establish her claim for benefits by a preponderance of the evidence. Respondent filed a claim for workers’ compensation benefits after falling and injuring her shoulder while rushing up a staircase at the workplace of her employer. The compensation judge denied the claim. The WCCA reversed the compensation judge’s decision. The Supreme Court reversed the WCCA’s decision and reinstated the compensation judge’s decision, holding (1) the WCCA impermissibly substituted its own view of the evidence for that of the compensation judge; and (2) the findings of the compensation judge were supported by substantial evidence that a reasonable mind would accept as adequate. View "Kubis v. Community Memorial Hospital Ass’n" on Justia Law

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The Workers’ Compensation Court of Appeals (WCCA) was correct in concluding that Respondent’s injury was compensable. Respondent, who was employed by the University of Minnesota, slipped and fell on any icy sidewalk when walking from her workplace to a parking ramp owned and operated by the university. The compensation judge denied Respondent’s claim for workers’ compensation benefits, concluding that Respondent’s injury did not “arise out of” her employment. The WCCA reversed, concluding that Respondent was in the course of her employment when she was injured. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Respondent’s injury was compensable because it both arose out of, and was in the course of, her employment. View "Hohlt v. University of Minnesota" on Justia Law