may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat.§ 480A.08, subd. 3 (1996).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
Auto-Owners Insurance Company,
Filed December 31, 1996
Hennepin County District Court
File No. 9518705
James S. Ballentine, David J. Moskal, Schwebel, Goetz, Sieben & Moskal, P.A., 5120 IDS Center, Minneapolis, MN 55402-2246 (for Appellant)
Considered and decided by Kalitowski, Presiding Judge, Crippen, Judge, and Harten, Judge.
Mokhtar Makhloufi challenges the district court's determinations that: (1) he impermissibly split his no-fault claim; and (2) the arbitrator exceeded his authority by stating Makhloufi could renew his wage loss claim after the hearing was closed. He also challenges the grant of an injunction as a remedy for violating the rule against splitting a no-fault claim. We affirm.
Here, Makhloufi filed a single petition, seeking to recover claims for both medical expenses and lost wages. Makhloufi sought to dismiss his wage loss claim because his witness failed to appear. Makhloufi argues that because he did not dismiss his claim for the purpose of splitting his medical expenses and wage losses to meet the jurisdictional limit, Charboneau should not apply to bar his claim. We disagree.
The supreme court, in ruling that a no-fault claim may not be divided, did not limit its ruling to the facts of Charboneau. In addition to eliminating manipulation of jurisdictional limites, the rule against splitting no-fault claims also avoids a multiplicity of lawsuits and wasteful litigation. Id. Given the broad holding in Charboneau, we conclude the district court did not err in deciding Makhloufi impermissibly split his no-fault claim when he sought and obtained a dismissal without prejudice of his claim for lost wages, and proceeded to arbitrate his claim for medical expenses.
Makhloufi also argues the district court erred in deciding he withdrew his wage loss claim at the arbitration hearing. He contends he asked for a continuance, not a dismissal, of his wage loss claim. However, the arbitrator's award and his letter to the senior case administrator indicate otherwise. In the award, the arbitrator stated "CLAIMANT requested to withdraw his claim for wage loss without prejudice or dismiss without prejudice." In his letter to the senior case administrator, the arbitrator clarified his award by saying that "the wage [loss] claim was withdrawn without prejudice." We conclude the record supports the district court's finding that Makhloufi withdrew his wage loss claim at the arbitration hearing.
Pursuant to arbitration rules, "the arbitrator may for good cause extend any period of time established by these rules, except the time for making the award." Minn. R. No-Fault Arb. 28. Here, the arbitrator did not extend the time for Makhloufi's wage loss claim. Rather, he dismissed the claim and gave Makhloufi the option to renew it within 60 days of the award. Makhloufi's no-fault claim was closed on July 17, 1995, as evidenced by the senior case administrator's letter to the parties which stated: "[t]he hearings in the above matter were declared closed on July 17, 1995, by the direction of the arbitrator." In compliance with Minn. R. No-Fault Arb. 30, the arbitrator issued his award within 30 days from the date of closing the hearing. We conclude the district court did not err in determining the arbitrator exceeded his authority when he purported to grant Makhloufi an option to renew his wage loss claim after the hearing was closed.