ERIC M. MADSON, Employee, v. MINNEAPOLIS POLICE DEP’T, CITY OF MINNEAPOLIS, SELF-INSURED, Employer.
WORKERS’ COMPENSATION COURT OF APPEALS
APRIL 20, 2010
JURISDICTION; MEDICAL TREATMENT & EXPENSE. The question of whether the commissioner properly asserted jurisdiction over a claim for payment of a medical expense is moot where the appellant did not raise the issue of jurisdiction at the administrative conference, the appellant then requested a formal hearing, and the matter was subsequently heard de novo by a compensation judge at the Office of Administrative Hearings.
JURISDICTION - SUBJECT MATTER. For claims related to a work injury, the Workers’ Compensation Act abrogates common law remedies in the judicial court substituting instead an administrative, “quasi-judicial” process. This process is the exclusive forum for resolving disputes for claims for compensation benefits provided by the act, including medical expenses. Because there is an exclusive administrative remedy, the Hennepin County Conciliation Court lacked subject matter jurisdiction to determine the employee’s claim for workers’ compensation medical benefits. A lack of subject matter jurisdiction can be raised at any time, by any party, or by the court. Subject matter jurisdiction cannot be conferred by consent of the parties or by waiver.
JURISDICTION - SUBJECT MATTER; EVIDENCE - RES JUDICATA. Where the conciliation court lacked subject matter jurisdiction to hear the employee’s claim for payment of a medical expense, its default judgment dismissing the employee’s claim with prejudice did not have res judicata effect and did not bar the employee’s claim for workers’ compensation medical benefits in the workers’ compensation courts.
Determined by: Johnson, C.J., Stofferahn, J., and Pederson, J.
Compensation Judge: James F. Cannon
Attorneys: Caroline Bell Beckman, Erickson, Bell, Beckman & Quinn, Roseville, MN, for the Respondent. Thomas J. Miller, Office of the Minneapolis City Attorney, Minneapolis, MN, for the Appellant.
THOMAS L. JOHNSON, Judge
The self-insured employer appeals the compensation judge’s decision that a judgment entered by the Hennepin County Conciliation Court does not bar the employee’s claim for payment of medical benefits under the Workers’ Compensation Act. We affirm.
Eric M. Madson, the employee, sustained a personal injury on January 5, 2007, arising out of his employment as a police officer for the employer, the City of Minneapolis Police Department, then self-insured for workers’ compensation liability. The employer paid the employee’s medical expenses for treatment and evaluation on the day of the injury. On January 10, 2007, the employee underwent a stress echo test at Hennepin Faculty Associates. The employer refused to pay the medical bill for the test.
On September 8, 2008, the employee filed a claim in the Hennepin County Conciliation Court against the City of Minneapolis seeking payment of the bill for the stress echo test. The case was scheduled for trial on February 6, 2009. Counsel for the employer appeared at the hearing but the employee did not appear. On February 9, 2009, a Notice of Judgment was issued by the conciliation court stating, “As to the original claim, ERIC M. MADSON; against CITY OF MINNEAPOLIS; is DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE so that no new action may be started.” (Resp. Ex. 3.) The court’s order was stayed by statute through and including March 4, 2009, to allow time for an appeal. No appeal was taken.
On January 16, 2009, while the conciliation court case was pending, the employee filed a Medical Request with the Department of Labor and Industry seeking payment for the January 10, 2007, stress echo test. Following an administrative conference, the matter was heard by a compensation judge at the Office of Administrative Hearings. In a Findings and Order served and filed October 27, 2009, the compensation judge concluded the Hennepin County Conciliation Court lacked jurisdiction to adjudicate the employee’s workers’ compensation claim and concluded the doctrine of res judicata did not, therefore, bar the employee’s claim before the compensation judge. The self-insured employer appeals.
1. Jurisdiction of the Commissioner
The appellant first contends the question of whether the City of Minneapolis was liable for the medical bill in question is one of primary liability over which the commissioner of the Department of Labor and Industry lacked jurisdiction, citing Jackson v. Red Owl Stores, Inc., 375 N.W.2d 13, 38 W.C.D. 170 (Minn. 1985) and Minn. Stat. § 176.103, subd. 2.
The employee filed a Medical Request in January 2009 pursuant to Minn. Stat. §§ 176.106 and 176.135, subd. 1.(e), which provide for a determination by the commissioner in an administrative conference. The appellant asserts it denied the employee’s injury arose out of his employment and the commissioner, therefore, lacked jurisdiction to resolve the employee’s claim. We are not persuaded by this argument.
It appears from the record that the employer did pay certain of the employee’s medical bills following the January 5, 2007 injury. It is, therefore, unclear whether the City’s defense was that the claimed injury did not arise out of the employment, that the treatment and expense was not causally related to the employee’s personal injury, or that the medical bill was not reasonable and necessary to treat the effects of the employee’s personal injury. If the appellant’s defense was that the employee did not sustain a personal injury arising out of his employment, we agree the commissioner had no jurisdiction to decide liability for the claimed medical bill under Minn. Stat. § 176.106.
The appellant did not, however, raise the issue of jurisdiction at the administrative conference and, following the administrative decision, requested a formal hearing pursuant to Minn. Stat. § 176.106, subd. 7. The matter was then referred to the Office of Administrative Hearings and the parties were afforded a hearing before a compensation judge. Whether the manner by which the case reached the compensation judge was procedurally correct, is not determinative. Rather, the question is whether the parties were afforded reasonable notice and an opportunity to be heard before a decision on benefits was made. See Kulenkamp v. TimesSavers, Inc., 420 N.W.2d 891, 40 W.C.D. 869 (Minn. 1988).
The appellant did not contend at the hearing before the compensation judge, and does not now contend, that the procedure prejudiced or impaired its right to present a defense. Thus, the appellant had reasonable notice and an opportunity to be heard. The compensation judge found the employee sustained a personal injury arising out of his employment on January 5, 2007; found there was no valid issue or dispute concerning primary liability; and found the issue in the case was not one of primary liability but whether the medical treatment was reasonable and necessary. The compensation judge further found the commissioner had jurisdiction to resolve the issue under Minn. Stat. § 176.106, subd. 9. The appellant did not appeal these findings. Accordingly, the question of whether or not the commissioner properly asserted jurisdiction under Minn. Stat. § 176.106 is moot.
2. Subject Matter Jurisdiction
The appellant next contends the employee selected the Hennepin County Conciliation Court as his forum for the adjudication of the dispute. That court issued an order dismissing the employee’s claim with prejudice and, the employer asserts, that dismissal constitutes a final judgment on the merits. The doctrine of res judicata, the appellant contends, bars a second claim by the employee for the same cause of action. Accordingly, the appellant asserts the compensation judge’s decision is legally erroneous and must be reversed. We disagree.
The Hennepin County Conciliation Court is a division of the Fourth Judicial District Court, established pursuant to Minn. Stat. § 491A.01. Subdivision 4 of that statute provides “[t]he conciliation court does not have jurisdiction . . . (9) where jurisdiction is vested exclusively in another court or division of district court.” The respondent asserts Minn. Stat. § 176.021 provides for exclusive jurisdiction in the workers’ compensation system for claims related to a work injury, and the Hennepin County Conciliation Court did not have jurisdiction to determine the employee’s claim.
Jurisdiction of the subject matter means the authority of the court to hear and determine a particular class of actions and the particular questions which the court assumes to decide. Cochrane v. Tudor Oaks Condominium Project, 529 N.W.2d 429 (Minn. App. 1995); Robinette v. Price, 214 Minn. 521, 526, 8 N.W.2d 800, 804 (1943). “Whenever it appears by suggestion of the parties or otherwise that the court lacks jurisdiction of the subject matter, the court shall dismiss the action.” See Minn. R. Civ. P. 12.08(c). A lack of subject matter jurisdiction can be raised at any time, by any party, or by the court itself. Herubin v. Finn, 603 N.W.2d 133 (Minn. App. 1999); Stadum v. Norman County, 508 N.W.2d 217 (Minn. App. 1993), review denied (Minn. Jan. 6, 1994).
Article III of the Minnesota Constitution, Distribution of the Powers of Government, § 1, states “[t]he powers of government shall be divided into three distinct departments: legislative, executive and judicial. No person or persons belonging to or constituting one of these departments shall exercise any of the powers properly belonging to either of the others.” The conciliation court is a judicial court. The workers’ compensation courts are executive agency courts.
The Workers’ Compensation Act, Minn. Stat. ch. 176, originally enacted in 1913, provides both substantive compensation benefits for injured workers and administrative procedures for resolving disputes with respect to claims for the compensation benefits set forth in the act. Since its enactment, it has been recognized that the act created a statutory system of compensation that has no counterpart in common law. Meath v. Harmful Substance Comp. Bd., 550 N.W.2d 275, 277 (Minn. 1996).
Under the 1913 act, the statutory workers’ compensation system became a part of every employment contract. All employers and employees were presumed to have accepted coverage under the act unless written notice was timely given of an election not to be bound by or accept the benefits under the act. In Matheson v. Minneapolis St. Ry. Co., 126 Minn. 286, 148 N.W. 71, 17B W.C.D. 7 (1914), the supreme court upheld the constitutionality of the 1913 statute, challenged on equal protection grounds, because employers and employees could elect to resolve their disputes administratively, pursuant to the act, or bring an action in district court.
In 1921, the legislature created the Industrial Commission and invested in the commission the authority to administer the worker’s compensation laws, including the power to hear and determine eligibility for compensation, medical expenses, and the extent of injury and disability. Section 10 of the 1921 Act provided:
[T]he election hereinafter provided for shall be a surrender by the parties thereto of their rights to any other method, form, or amount of compensation or determination thereof . . . and an acceptance of all the provisions of part 2 of this act. (Emphasis added).
Contemporaneous cases noted the workers’ compensation act abrogated an employee’s or employer’s action in common law, substituting in lieu thereof an administrative proceeding for obtaining compensation for work-related injuries. See, e.g., Frederickson v. Burns Lumber Co., 195 Minn. 660, 221 N.W. 296-97, 8 W.C.D. 3460 (1935); Novack v. Montgomery Ward & Co., 158 Minn. 495, 198 N.W. 294, 2 W.C.D. 156 (1924).
In Steidel v. Metcalf, 210 Minn. 101, 297 N.W. 324 (1941), the supreme court observed,
It is true that the judicial power of the state is by the Constitution vested in the courts of the state, but there has grown up within the state government a system of boards, which though charged with administration, necessarily apply law to facts found by them subject always to review by the courts. It must be conceded that these boards in arriving at their decisions necessarily apply legal principles. For instance, the Industrial Commission does that in determining whether or not the relationship of employer and employe exists and whether or not the Compensation Act applies to certain situations. . . . They are in fact legislative instrumentalities but exercise powers in the determination of rights which at least have the appearance of being quasi-judicial in character.
In 1937, the legislature repealed the provisions providing for an election of remedy and made coverage under the Workers’ Compensation Act compulsory. (Laws 1937, ch. 64). In December 1946, Harriet Breimhorst was injured in a work-related accident. The employee tendered repayment of her workmen’s compensation benefits and commenced a civil action against her employer seeking damages in a district court action. The jury awarded damages and the employer appealed. The supreme court reversed the district court and held the Worker’s Compensation Act was the exclusive remedy for an employee who sustained a work-related injury. The court stated:
[I]t is clear that the intention of [the legislature] was to present to the employers and employe[e]s of the state a comprehensive act embracing their exclusive rights and remedies for accidental or other injuries suffered by the employe[e].
* * *The workmen’s compensation law, insofar as it provides any compensation to an employe[e] . . . injured in the course of his employment, is exclusive of all other remedies. The law contemplates a reciprocal yielding and giving up of rights at common law for the new and enlarged rights and remedies given by the compensation act.
Breimhorst v. Beckman, 227 Minn. 409, 35 N.W.2d 719, 732 (1949) (emphasis added).
Ms. Breimhorst defended the judgment by attacking the constitutionality of the act, contending that with abolition of the right of employers and employees to elect not to be bound by the act the basis for its constitutionality no longer existed. Ms. Breimhorst’s constitutional challenge to the act rested on the grounds that the exclusivity of remedy under the act violated the separation of powers provision of the Minnesota Constitution and deprived her of both the right to trial by jury and an adequate remedy for her injuries.
The supreme court held the delegation by the legislature of quasi-judicial powers to an executive branch agency in the course of its administrative duties did not violate separation of powers principles so long as the agency’s awards and determinations were subject to judicial review by certiorari.
[T]he vesting by the legislature in the industrial commission of quasi-judicial powers - - inclusive of the power to determine facts and apply the law thereto in employment-accident controversies - - is not in violation of state constitutional provisions for the division of the powers of government or for the vesting of the judicial power in the courts, as long as the commission’s awards and determinations are not only subject to review by certiorari, but lack judicial finality in not being enforceable by execution or other process in the absence of a binding judgment entered thereon by a duly established court.
Id. at 734.
In addressing the adequacy of the remedy provided, the court stated that compulsory workmen’s compensation acts provide a remedy that is an adequate substitute for a common law action for damages for work-related injuries. “Although the plaintiff, by becoming subject to the workmen’s compensation act . . . has lost a right to sue at law for all damages incurred from injuries resulting from her employer’s negligence, she has been fully compensated for this loss by receiving in turn a remedy which gives her certainty of compensatory relief, without the [uncertainty and] delay of litigation of [a common law action].” Id. at 735-36.
In decisions subsequent to Breimhorst, Minnesota appellate courts have recognized the exclusive nature of the administrative remedy under the Workers’ Compensation Act for injuries arising out of and in the course of employment. In Cunning v. City of Hopkins, 258 Minn. 306, 103 N.W.2d 876, 21 W.C.D. 282 (Minn. 1960), the supreme court explained:
It was the legislative intent from the beginning that [the employee] should receive his just deserts without the burden of expensive litigation. The amount of recovery which the act prescribes may well be more limited than under common law. The legislative policy implicit in the adoption of the act was that, although limited, the recovery would be more certain, speedy, and definite, and the protection to the worker against the ravages of injury, more inclusive. The right to compensation does not arise out of tort, but exists by reason of the Workmen’s Compensation Act.
Id. at 884.
In Quam v. State, Minnesota Zoological Gardens, 391 N.W.2d 803, 809 n.6, 39 W.C.D. 32, 44 n.6 (Minn. 1986), the supreme court observed that “[w]hile we have strictly confined the power of constitutional review to the judiciary, we have not found the delegation of quasi-judicial powers to executive branch agencies - - including the power to determine facts and apply the law thereto - - to be a violation of the constitutional provision for the separation of the powers of government . . . . See Breimhorst v. Beckman (citation omitted) (legislative grant of adjudicative power to exclusive workers’ compensation system upheld against separation of powers challenge).”
Wojtalewicz & Homan Law Firm v. Linda Schoep, No. C2-99-1146 (Minn. Ct. App., Jan. 18, 2000) (unpublished), involved an attorney lien dispute between two law firms. The appellants argued the district court did not have subject matter jurisdiction over attorney lien actions between law firms where the underlying action was a workers’ compensation matter. They asserted the determination of attorney fees in workers’ compensation cases is, by statute, within the exclusive jurisdiction of the workers’ compensation courts. The court of appeals held that determination of the amount of attorney fees owing in workers’ compensation cases is governed entirely by statute and is within the exclusive jurisdiction of the workers’ compensation court. 
The Worker’s Compensation Act contains two statutory provisions specifically providing for jurisdiction in the district court in proceedings involving workers’ compensation claims or issues. Minn. Stat. § 176.295 provides that an employee may bring an action in district court if the petition for compensation or other notices cannot be served on the employer because the employer is a non-resident or a foreign corporation. That is not the case here. Under Minn. Stat. § 176.301, when a workers’ compensation issue is present in a district court action, the court may try the action itself or refer the matter to the chief administrative law judge for assignment to a compensation judge. This is not a case in which a workers’ compensation issue was collateral to another issue in a district court action. The workers’ compensation issue was the sole issue in this case. Neither statute is applicable in this case.
The Workers’ Compensation Act is entirely statutory and prescribes both the terms of compensation and the administrative procedures for obtaining compensation under the act. In numerous cases involving delegation of authority to executive branch agencies to hear and determine statutory rights and claims, the courts have held that the vesting of exclusive “quasi-judicial” powers in an executive branch agency does not violate separation of powers principles. The Workers’ Compensation Act abrogates common law remedies, including tort and contract actions in the judicial courts, substituting instead an administrative “quasi-judicial” process. This process, by the terms of the statute and in accordance with case law, is the exclusive forum for resolving disputes for claims for compensation benefits provided by the act, including medical benefits. Because there is an exclusive administrative remedy, there is no concurrent jurisdiction in the judicial courts. Accordingly, the Hennepin County Conciliation Court lacked subject matter jurisdiction to hear or determine the employee’s claim for workers’ compensation medical benefits.
The appellant argues, nonetheless, that whether or not the Hennepin County Conciliation Court initially had jurisdiction over the employee’s claim for workers’ compensation benefits, by selecting that forum and failing to appear, the employee consented to the court’s jurisdiction. Therefore, the appellant contends, the conciliation court acquired jurisdiction by the employee’s action and the the principle of res judicata is applicable and bars the employee’s current claim. We disagree. Subject matter jurisdiction cannot be conferred by consent of the parties or by waiver. Hemmesch v. Molitor, 328 N.W.2d 445, 35 W.C.D. 541 (1983).
3. Res judicata
The doctrine of res judicata precludes re-litigation of issues and claims that were decided in an earlier decision. Fischer v. Saga Corp., 498 N.W.2d 449, 48 W.C.D. 368 (Minn. 1993). Res judicata, or more specifically in this case, claim preclusion, is a finality doctrine in which “a final judgment on the merits bars a second suit for the same claim by parties or their privies.” Kaiser v. Northern States Power Co., 353 N.W.2d 899, 902 (Minn. 1984). The doctrine exists to relieve parties of the burden of re-litigating issues already determined in a prior action. Schimp v. Sederstrom, 305 Minn. 267, 233 N.W.2d 292 (1975). The principles of res judicata are applicable in workers’ compensation proceedings and “bar subsequent proceedings to determine claims which were litigated in a prior proceeding.” Alexander v. Kenneth R. LaLonde Enters., 288 N.W.2d 18, 20, 32 W.C.D. 312, 314 (Minn. 1980). The doctrine of res judicata applies to court orders as well as judgments when they are final and subject to appeal. Nelson v. Auman, 221 Minn. 46, 20 N.W.2d 702 (1945); Minn. R. Civ. P. 41.02(c).
When a court lacks jurisdiction over the subject matter or over the parties, the judgment of that court is void. Lange v. Johnson, 295 Minn. 320, 204 N.W.2d 205 (1973). A party may challenge a judgment’s validity for lack of subject matter jurisdiction either directly or collaterally. A direct challenge on a judgment is a motion for a new trial, an appeal, or a motion under Rule 60.02(d) of the Minnesota Rules of Civil Procedure. A collateral attack is an attack on the judgment brought in a different proceeding.
In Bode v. Minnesota Dep’t of Natural Resources, 612 N.W.2d 826 (Minn. 2000), the supreme court addressed a collateral attack on a judgment on the basis of lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The court held that in certain circumstances, it may be unjust to allow a party to contest subject matter jurisdiction after the opposing party has prevailed on the merits. Citing the Restatement (Second) of Judgments, the court in Bode held that motions in subsequent litigation to vacate a judgment for lack of subject matter jurisdiction should not be permitted unless:
(1) The subject matter of the action was so plainly beyond the court’s jurisdiction that its entertaining the action was a manifest abuse of authority; or
(2) Allowing the judgment to stand would substantially infringe the authority of another tribunal or agency of government; or
(3) The judgment was rendered by a court lacking capability to make an adequately informed determination of a question concerning its own jurisdiction and as a matter of procedural fairness the party seeking to avoid the judgment should have opportunity belatedly to attack the court’s subject matter jurisdiction.
Restatement (Second) of Judgments § 12.
The Bode case is not directly applicable here. The facts and the forum are different in this case, and the Workers Compensation Court of Appeals lacks jurisdiction to vacate the judgment entered by the Hennepin County Conciliation Court. Instead, in this appeal, the court is faced with the issue of whether the employee’s claim for workers’ compensation benefits brought at the Office of Administrative Hearings is barred by the doctrine of res judicata. This issue involves a question of law arising under the workers’ compensation laws and is one over which this court does have jurisdiction. In resolving this issue, the three circumstances outlined in Bode in which a judgment may be avoided for lack of subject matter jurisdiction provide guidance.
A conciliation court has no jurisdiction where jurisdiction is vested exclusively in another court. The Workers’ Compensation Act provides that, with certain exceptions, exclusive jurisdiction is vested in executive branch agencies. While the exercise of jurisdiction by the Hennepin County Conciliation Court may not have been a manifest abuse of authority, it did substantially infringe upon the authority of another tribunal or agency of government. We further note the order of the Hennepin County Conciliation Court was a judgment by default so the court presumably never considered the question of its own jurisdiction over the employee’s claim or the merits of the claim. Further, the employee properly filed a claim for benefits within the workers’ compensation system prior to the entry of the default judgment.
In Wilson v. Commissioner of Revenue, 619 N.W.2d 194 (Minn. 2000) (citing Hauser v. Mealey, 263 N.W.2d 803, 808 (Minn. 1978), the supreme court recognized “the general rule that a judgment rendered by a court which lacks jurisdiction to hear a case does not have the effect of res judicata.” The court also has stated that res judicata is not to be rigidly applied and the focus is on whether its application would work an injustice on the party against whom the doctrine is urged. Johnson v. Consolidated Freightways, 420 N.W.2d 608 (Minn. 1988).
We conclude the Hennepin County Conciliation Court default judgment has no res judicata effect in the circumstances presented by this case, and the employee’s claim for workers’ compensation medical benefits is not barred by the conciliation court judgment. The decision of the compensation judge is affirmed.
 The legislature substantially revised the procedures for hearings on claims for payment of medical benefits following the supreme court’s decision in Jackson. Laws 1987, ch. 322, §§ 23-25, 33. See Minn. Stat. §§ 176.103, 176.106, 176.135, and 176.305 (2009).
 In Jackson, the supreme court observed there is a difference between a denial of primary liability for the original injury, that is, whether the injury arose out of the employee’s employment, and medical causation which addresses the issue of whether the disputed medical condition is causally related to the personal injury. Subdivisions 8 and 9 of Minn. Stat. § 176.106, reflect this distinction, providing the commissioner does not have authority to make a determination relating to medical benefits when there is a denial of primary liability, that is, a dispute over whether the personal injury initially arose out of and in the course of employment (subd. 8). If, however, the initial liability for a personal injury has been admitted or established, and the issue is causation between the employee’s medical condition and the work injury, the commissioner may make the causation determination subject to a de novo hearing by a compensation judge (subd. 9).
 A request for a formal hearing from a decision of the Commissioner’s designee must be heard no later than 60 days after the Office of Administrative Hearings receives the matter. Minn. Stat. § 176.106, subd. 7. The employee also could have sought payment of the bill by filing a petition under Minn. Stat. § 176.271, but the Office of Administrative Hearings is not required to schedule a hearing on a claim petition within 60 days. In either case, the Office of Administrative Hearings has jurisdiction to hear the case.
 Under Article VI, § 1, of the Minnesota Constitution, “[t]he judicial power of the state is vested in a supreme court, a court of appeals . . ., a district court and such other courts, judicial officers and commissioners with jurisdiction inferior to the district court as the legislature may establish.” Article VI, § 3 provides that the district court has original jurisdiction in all civil cases.
 The Industrial Commission was abolished in 1967, and all of its then existing powers, duties, and functions were transferred to the division of workmen’s compensation in the Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) under the supervision of the Workmen’s Compensation Commission. Laws 1967, Extra Session, ch.1. In 1976, the division of workmen’s compensation was delegated the authority to generally administer the workmen’s compensation law and the Workmen’s Compensation Commission was recreated as a separate appellate tribunal for workmen’s compensation cases. Laws 1976, ch. 134, § 43. In 1981, the workers’ compensation judges at DLI were transferred to the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) as a part of the workers’ compensation reform act. Laws 1981, ch. 346, §§ 2, 41, 141. The commission was recreated as an independent appellate agency in the same act. Laws 1981, ch. 346, §§ 42, 140. In 1988, the powers and duties of settlement judges at DLI were transferred from the commissioner of DLI to the chief administrative law judge at OAH. Laws 1998, ch. 366, §§ 80 and 81.
 Minn. Stat. § 176.02, containing the remaining provisions of section 2 of the 1921 act, was repealed by Laws 1953, c. 755, § 83, a “recodification” of the act. The “exclusivity” provisions are now codified at §§ 176.021 and 176.031 and provide:
§ 176.021, subd. 1. Liability for compensation. [A]ll employers and employees are subject to the provisions of this chapter. Every employer is liable for compensation according to the provisions of this chapter . . . .
§ 176.031. Employer’s liability exclusive. The liability of an employer prescribed by this chapter is exclusive and in the place of any other liability to such employee . . . or other person entitled to recover damages on account of such injury or death.
 The 1921 act provided that if the employer defaulted in payment of compensation due on an award, the employee could apply to the district court for entry of judgment enforceable by execution or other process, and provided for review by certiorari in the supreme court. These provisions remain in the current act. See Minn. Stat. §§ 176.451 and 176.471. In his concurring opinion in Meath, 550 N.W.2d at 281 n.2, Justice Paul Anderson explained “the limited and deferential review provided by writ of certiorari ensures that the judiciary does not encroach upon the constitutional power spheres of the other two branches of government.”
 The court held, however, pursuant to Minn. Stat. § 481.13, that the workers’ compensation court and the district court had concurrent jurisdiction to apportion fees between law firms.
 Each statute provides for district court jurisdiction over workers’ compensation claims and/or issues in specific, limited circumstances. Had the district court original or concurrent jurisdiction over all workers’ compensation claims, both statutes would be unnecessary and superfluous.
 See cases previously cited. See also Wulff v. Tax Court of Appeals, 288 N.W.2d 221 (Minn. 1979); Mack v. City of Minneapolis, 333 N.W.2d 744 (Minn. 1983); Dokmo v. Indep. Sch. Dist. No. 11, Anoka-Hennepin, 459 N.W.2d 671 (Minn. 1990); Tischar v. HRA of Cambridge, 693 N.W.2d 426 (Minn. 2005).
 Minn. R. Civ. P. 60.02 provides that the court may relieve a party from a final judgment if the judgment is void.
 Minn. Stat. § 175A.01, subd. 5, provides, in part, “the Workers’ Compensation Court of Appeals shall be the sole, exclusive, and final authority for the hearing and determination of all questions of law and fact arising out of the workers’ compensation laws of the state in those cases that have been appealed to the Workers’ Compensation Court of Appeals and in any case that has been transferred by the district court to the Workers’ Compensation Court of Appeals. The Workers’ Compensation Court of Appeals shall have no jurisdiction in any case that does not arise under the workers’ compensation laws of the state.”
 See, e.g., Restatement (Second) of Judgments § 65. The commentators note that a default “judgment is supported by none of the considerations supporting preclusion.”