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Common Enterprise defense in an employee’s third party action under Minn Stat. Sec. 176.061. When analyzing the “same or similar hazards” McCourtie factor to determine whether the employer and a third party were engaged in a common enterprise, a court must look at the general risks employees are exposed to and not solely the exact risk that caused the injury at issue. Schirmers v. Cnty. of Anoka, No. A14-2019 (Minn. Ct. App. July 20, 2015) (unpublished)

An employer may, in certain circumstances, raise the defenses of waiver and laches when a plaintiff brings a claim under § 515 of ERISA. Midwest Constr. & Distribution Indus. Benefit Trust v. Ferguson Enterprises, Inc., No. 0:14-CV-00853-ADM-HB (D. Minn. July 14, 2015).

Minnesota courts typically treat appraisal awards as arbitration awards, and a party cannot collect pre-award interest when their contract specifies that the party cannot receive payment on a loss until after the appraisal panel issues an award. Hous. Redevelopment Auth. of Redwood Falls v. Hous. Auth. Prop. Ins., No. 0:14-CV-04741-PAM-HB (D. Minn. July 14, 2015).


Firm News

Congratulations to George W. Kuehner who prevailed at the Supreme Court in Allan v R.D. Offutt Co, (A14-1555, Aug 31, 2015). The decision substantially changes the nature of the threshold requirement an employee must reach before being permitted to assert a workers’ compensation claim for permanent total disablity.

The Supreme Court reversed the WCCA and held that the permanent partial disability rating threshold for bringing a permanent total disability claim (Minn Stat. 176.101 subd 5 (2)) can only utilize ratings that represent a condition that affects the employee’s ablility to find and hold a job. In Allan, the employee attempted to reach the threshold by utilizing a 10% rating for the pre-existing loss of all teeth where the use of dentures replaced the functional loss of the teeth and there was no evidence that the loss of teeth affected his ability to secure employment. The court adopted Mr Kuehner’s argument that the statute clearly requires that the condition(s) represented by the required threshold ratings must combine with the employee’s disability to cause the employee’s permanent total disablity. Ratings representing conditions not impairing an employees vocational capabilities cannot be utilized to reach the required threshhold.


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