Mude v. Fox Bros. of Sanborn, No. WC 13-5650 (June 2, 2014)
In Mude, the WCCA found that an insurer who was not a party to the Stipulation for Settlement had not been prejudiced and had no standing to petition for vacation of the Award.
In January 2013, the employee filed a Claim Petition alleging a specific injury to his wrists in 2006, with SFM on the risk, and a Gillette injury culminating on May 23, 2012 where Midwest Family Mutual Insurance (MFMI) was on the risk. Prior to the settlement conference, MFMI notified the parties that they would not consider a settlement unless the employee resigned from his employment. Subsequently, the employee pursued settlement with SFM only.
The employee and SFM filed a Stipulation for Settlement on October 18, 2013 settling the employee’s prior injury on a full, final and complete basis and withdrawing the 2012 Gillette claim.
MFMI filed a petition for contribution as well as an objection to the Stipulation for Settlement. Nevertheless, the Stipulation was considered and approved by the Compensation Judge. MFMI subsequently file a notice of appeal seeking vacation of the Award on Stipulation.
Insurers who are not a party to a Stipulation for Settlement lack standing to seek vacation of the Award on Stipulation unless they can show they were actually prejudiced by said Stipulation for Settlement. MFMI asserted that had been prejudiced because the Stipulation lacked Pierringer language, preserving its potential claims for contribution against SFM.
The WCCA concluded that MFMI was only objecting to the prospect that the employee would pursue a claim for the alleged 2012 Gillette injury. However, since the employee had withdrawn that claim, this does not constitute prejudice. Moreover, the stipulation would not preclude MFMI from seeking a contribution against SFM if any such litigation arose. The appeal was dismissed.