Demarais v. United Parcel Servs., Inc.

Demarais v. United Parcel Servs., Inc., WC12-5465 (W.C.C.A. Jan. 3, 2013)

The Employee settled his workers’ compensation case with the Employer and Insurer.
The parties submitted a Stipulation for Settlement to the Office of Administrative
Hearings, and an Award on Stipulation was then served and filed. The proof of service
attached to the Award indicated that it was sent to all of the parties, including the
Employer, the Insurer, and the Employer and Insurer’s attorney. The Employer and
Insurer did not issue payment within 14 days as required by law. The employee’s
attorney sent a copy of the Award to the defense attorney. The Insurer then immediately
issued the checks, and the Employee and his attorney received the checks two days after
the Employee’s attorney had contacted the defense attorney.

The Employee filed a claim petition seeking penalties for late payment of benefits,
pursuant to Minn. Stat. § 176.225. The compensation judge found that the Employer,
Insurer, and their attorney did not receive the Award until the date it was sent to them
by the Employee’s attorney. Because the Insurer promptly issued the payments once it
received the Award, there had been no unreasonable delay in payment, and the Employer
and Insurer were not liable for a penalty under Minn. Stat. § 176.225. The Employee

The W.C.C.A. found that substantial evidence supported the compensation judge’s
findings. This evidence included the testimony of the employer, insurer, and their
attorney that none of them had received a copy of the Award until the day the
Employee’s attorney sent it to them. It is up to the compensation judge to determine
whether the testimony of a witness is credible. Further, the W.C.C.A. disagreed with the
Employee’s argument that the Employer and Insurer had an affirmative duty to inquire
into the status of the issuance of the Award. The W.C.C.A affirmed the compensation
judge’s decision that no penalties were due.