NICHOLE BLUM, Employee, v. MADISON LUTHERAN HOME and FARM BUREAU MUT. INS. CO., Employer-Insurer/Appellants.
WORKERS= COMPENSATION COURT OF APPEALS
JANUARY 6, 2003
JURISDICTION - SUBJECT MATTER. The Workers= Compensation Court of Appeals does not have subject matter jurisdiction to consider an appeal from an administrative conference decision issued pursuant to Minn. Stat. ' 176.239.
Determined en banc.
Compensation Judge: John Ellefson
DAVID A. STOFFERAHN, Judge
The employer and insurer appeal from an interim decision issued at an administrative conference held pursuant to Minn. Stat. ' 176.239. We dismiss the appeal for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.
Nichole Blum, the employee, sustained an injury to her low back while working as a nursing assistant for Madison Lutheran Home on September 21, 2001. The injury was admitted by the employer and workers= compensation benefits were paid. As of February 11, 2002, the employee was working for the employer on a light duty basis, incurring a wage loss, and receiving temporary partial disability benefits.
The employee was terminated from her employment on February 11, 2002, and the employer filed a Notice of Intention to Discontinue workers= compensation benefits on February 13, 2002. The employer alleged Athe employee was terminated for misconduct and failure to follow company procedures. EE is also non-cooperative with the rehab plan to return to work with pre-injury employer.@ The NOID indicated that temporary partial disability benefits were being discontinued.
The employee requested an administrative conference pursuant to Minn. Stat. ' 176.239, which was held before Compensation Judge John Ellefson on March 18, 2002. In an Order on Discontinuance pursuant to Minn. Stat. ' 176.239, the compensation judge found there were not reasonable grounds to discontinue the employee=s Awage replacement benefits@ and ordered the employer to Areinstate temporary total disability benefits as of February 11, 2002.@ After some correspondence with the compensation judge on the order, the employer appealed, alleging that the compensation judge exceeded his jurisdiction and authority in his order and arguing that the nature of the judge=s decision rendered it subject to review by this court under Minn. Stat. ' 176.442.
Minn. Stat. ' 176.442 gives this court jurisdiction to consider a decision or determination of the Commissioner of Labor and Industry which affects a right, privilege, benefit or duty which is imposed or conferred under Chapter 176 of the statute, except for decisions which may be heard de novo in another proceeding, Aincluding but not limited to a decision from an administrative conference under section 176.102, 176.103, 176.106, 176.239 or a summary decision under section 176.305.@ Minn. Stat. ' 176.239, subd. 8, provides that an employer who disagrees with a determination under that section may file a petition to discontinue under Minn. Stat. ' 176.238 for a de novo hearing. By the plain language of the statute, this court does not have jurisdiction to consider the employer=s appeal from the order of the compensation judge in this matter.
We are mindful of the employer=s concerns. It has been ordered to pay benefits to the employee which were not at issue when it filed its NOID. However, even if the employer were able to establish irreparable harm from the order of the compensation judge, we would not be able to consider its appeal. This is not a court of equity and we have only the jurisdiction given by statute. Minn. Stat. ' 175A.07, subd. 3. Finding no jurisdiction here, we dismiss the appeal.
 There was no hearing on the record in this matter. The facts set out in this decision come from the pleadings and the undisputed facts in the parties= briefs.
 The employee=s motion to dismiss the appeal on subject matter jurisdiction grounds was initially denied by Order dated September 19, 2002. The court reconsidered the motion following the review of the parties= briefs. The issue of subject matter jurisdiction may be raised at any time. Hemmesch v. Molitor, 328 N.W.2d 444, 35 W.C.D. 541 (Minn. 1983).