The Employee appealed the Compensation Judge’s Order which dismissed his claims under the Minnesota Workers Compensation Act (MWCA), under the grounds that relief should be sought under the federal Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act (LHWCA).
The Employee suffered an admitted injury while working at the Duluth Ore Docks on January 29th, 2006. This employment is under the jurisdiction of both the MWCA and the LHWCA. Payments were initiated under the LHWCA. Benefits were again reinitiated under the LHWCA after an aggravation of his condition in 2014. However, a third low back surgery was denied under the LHWCA. The Employee therefore sought relief under the MWCA, and was denied by the Compensation Judge.
On appeal, the Workers Compensation Court of Appeals reversed the Compensation Judge noting that the LHWCA and the MWCA have concurrent jurisdiction and that the petitioner may choose the most convenient forum and law. The Court relied heavily upon the Sun Ship United States Supreme Court case and the Jacobson case from the Minnesota Supreme Court, providing a useful review of the case law on the subject.