may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (1996).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
David D. Horejsi, Jr.,
Friedges Landscaping, et al.,
Michelle Flor, et al.,
Filed July 22, 1997
Hennepin County District Court
File No. 964894
David G. Johnson, 16670 Franklin Trail Southeast, Suite 240, Prior Lake, MN 55372 (for appellant)
Andrea E. Reisbord, Peter G. Van Bergen, Cousineau, McGuire & Anderson, Ch., 600 Travelers Express Tower, 1550 Utica Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55416-5318 (for respondents)
Considered and decided by Harten, Presiding Judge, Parker, Judge, and Davies, Judge.
Appellant David Horejsi Jr. challenges an order of the district court. Concluding that the workers' compensation court was the proper forum for resolution of Horejsi's dispute, the district court dismissed his declaratory judgment claim. We affirm.
D E C I S I O N
A reviewing court is not bound by and need not give deference to a trial court's decision on a purely legal issue. Frost-Benco Elec. Ass'n v. Minnesota Pub. Utils. Comm'n., 358 N.W.2d 639, 642 (Minn. 1984).
Horejsi argues the district court erred in concluding the workers' compensation court was the proper forum for his case. He contends the district court had the authority to determine whether his work-related injury was a direct causative factor of the damages now claimed. He claims that because he did not request the court to interpret the Workers' Compensation Act and assign benefits, this matter was properly before the district court. Therefore, Horejsi argues, the district court erred in dismissing his case.
If an employee suffers a personal injury or death arising out of and in the course of employment, the Workers Compensation Act provides the employee's exclusive remedy. McGowan v. Our Saviour's Lutheran Church, 527 N.W.2d 830, 833 (Minn. 1995); Minn. Stat. § 176.031 (1996). "Where the Act provides the employee's exclusive remedy, the district courts have no jurisdiction." McGowan, 527 N.W.2d at 833 (citing Huhn v. Foley Bros., 221 Minn. 279, 22 N.W.2d 3 (1946)).
Respondents moved for judgment on the pleadings. The district court granted the motion and dismissed Horejsi's claims "without prejudice * * * to pursue those claims in the workers' compensation system." The district court did not address the issue of jurisdiction, but simply concluded that the workers' compensation court was the "proper forum" for Horejsi to pursue this claim, and we agree.
After Horejsi's on-the-job injury, he initially applied for and received benefits under the Workers' Compensation Act. The workers' compensation court is a specialized court with expertise in analyzing injuries and making determinations as to causation, even where, as here, closely occurring work-related and non-work-related injuries are involved. We hold, therefore, that because Horejsi initiated this claim before the workers' compensation court, further determinations as to causation of the injury remain within the purview of the workers' compensation court.
Given the district court's order, the issue of jurisdiction is not before us. We conclude, therefore, that the district court did not err as a matter of law or abuse discretion in deferring to the worker's compensation court for a determination as to causation in this matter.