|MINNEAPOLIS PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY|
Workers Compensation:STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN SUPREME COURT
Mark D. Schmitt,
Innovative Lawn Systems, Inc.,
American Interstate Insurance Co.,
West Bend Mutual Insurance Co.,
MN. Dept. of Labor & Industry,
Voc. Rehab. Unit, MN. Dept. of
Human Services, St. Paul Radiology,
and Special Compensation Fund.
Considered and decided by the court en banc.
JURISDICTION - SUBJECT MATTER; INSURANCE - COVERAGE. Where, contrary to the insurer's assertion, the claim before the compensation judge related not to a claim for negligence or breach of contract against the insurer's agent but to direct claims by the employee for workers' compensation benefits and by the employer for insurance coverage, the coverage issue before the compensation judge was clearly ancillary to the employee's claim for benefits and therefore fell within the purview of the compensation judge's jurisdiction, as had been implied though not explicitly addressed in several precedent cases.
INSURANCE - COVERAGE. Where the employer's owner was unsophisticated in business matters and relied upon the employer's insurance agent to provide the employer with all necessary business insurance, where that agent issued certificates of insurance coverage to that owner indicating that workers' compensation insurance was in place, where it was reasonable for that owner to rely on those representations, and where that owner did rely on those representations to the employer's detriment, the compensation judge's conclusion that the insurer was estopped from denying coverage of the employer against the injured employee's claims was not clearly erroneous and unsupported by substantial evidence.
ATTORNEY FEES. Where the insurer refused to defend the employer against the employee's claims on grounds that it was not liable for coverage, where the employer sought reimbursement of attorney fees payable to an attorney independently retained for its defense, and where that claim for reimbursement constituted a claim for damages for breach of contract against the insurer, the compensation judge's denial of the employer's claim for attorney fees was affirmed, pursuant to the Minnesota Court of Appeals' holding in Sazama Excavating v. Wausau Insurance Companies, 521 N.W.2d 379 (Minn. App. 1994), pet. for rev. denied (Minn. Oct. 27, 1994).
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Michael E. Douglas, Attorney at Law, Saint Paul MN. All Rights
Minnesota Law Firm representing Personal Injury, Car / Auto Accident, Workers Compensation, Medical Malpractice, Social Security Disability claims.
Dedicated to Injured Workers, Victims of Negligence, Car Accidents, Victims of Fraud, and those in need of legal assistance.