Duehn v. Connell Car Care, Inc.

Duehn v. Connell Car Care, Inc, Court of Appeals Case No. WC16-6000 (March 20, 2017)

This is a case that was heard by the WCCA who affirmed all but one decision of the compensation judge based on substantial evidence under Hengemuhle. However, the issue of intervenors being extinguished if they failed to file for intervention status within 60 days of receiving notice was reversed and addressed specifically by the WCCA.

Sanford Health was put on notice first on May 12, 2015 and then again on August 24, 2015 but did not file a Motion to Intervene until March 14, 2016 which is well beyond the 60 day requirement.  The compensation judge allowed Sanford Health to intervene and awarded reimbursement of its medical expenses. The WCCA indicated that the plain language of Minn. Stat. §176.361, Subdivision 2(a) clearly requires a Motion to Intervene be filed within 60 days of receiving notice and once a party decides to intervene, they become a party and must abide by the proper statutes. Thus, the WCCA denied Sanford Health’s intervention and denied any reimbursement to them.

The employee attempted to assert a claim for treatment directly, but the WCCA rejected that argument indicating that “although an intervenor’s claims may be inextricably connected with those of the employee, those claims belong to the intervenor, not the employee.” So, if an employee’s attorney wants to represent the claims of an intervenor, he/she must unequivocally indicate at the hearing that he/she is representing the employee and the intervenor. Since the employee’s attorney here did not do so, the intervention claims were denied.