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Workers' Compensation General Proceedings Guide

The Office of Administrative Hearings conducts settlement conferences, mediations and hearings for disputed workers’ compensation claims.  The conferences and hearings are conducted in an impartial and fair manner. The following information provides a general overview of the workers' compensation process at OAH.
 
The Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry also publishes a guide to the workers’ compensation process.  That agency is a valuable resource for questions about workers’ compensation benefits or the litigation process, and can be contacted at http://www.doli.state.mn.us/workcomp.asp or by phone at (651) 284-5032.

  • Statutes and Rules

    The following statutes and rules are commonly used and referred to throughout the duration of a workers’ compensation proceeding:

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  • Minn. Stat. § 176.239 Administrative Conferences

    If an employer or insurer discontinues an employee’s wage loss benefits, the employer must provide the employee with a form called a Notice of Intention to Discontinue Benefits (NOID). Parties who disagree with the decision to discontinue wage loss benefits may request a “.239 Conference” by contacting OAH within the timeline given on the form (usually within 12 days after the NOID is received by the state).

    To request a .239 Conference, complete the online form, or call OAH at 651-361-7901 and leave a voicemail containing the following information:

    • Your name and contact information;
    • Employee's name;
    • Employee's WID number;
    • Employee's date of injury;
    • The date the Notice of Intention to Discontinue (NOID) was served on the employee;
    • Which box on the NOID is checked:
      • If box 1 or 2 is checked, state the return to work date;
      • If box 3 is checked, state the reason;
    • The names of the employee's attorney, the insurer's attorney and the QRC's attorney, if known;
    • If an interpreter is needed, please state the requested dialect. 

    OAH will send the parties a notice of the .239 Conference date within three business days after receipt of the conference request.

    .239 Conferences are held on an informal basis without sworn testimony.  At the .239 Conference, parties should be prepared to explain the reason(s) why wage loss benefits should or should not be discontinued and provide relevant documents to support their position.

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  • Settlement Conferences

    Typically, OAH schedules every case for a settlement conference.  The purpose of a settlement conference is to discuss resolution of the dispute.  At least seven days prior to the settlement conference, the employee or employee’s attorney must submit a settlement proposal to the opposing party.  In addition, parties are required to file a Pretrial Statement at least five business days prior to the settlement conference.  Further instructions about pretrial statements can be found in the Standing Pretrial Order.

    At the settlement conference, the parties should be prepared to enter into settlement discussions. Necessary person(s) with settlement authority must be present or available by phone. A Compensation Judge will facilitate the discussion at the conference.  If the matter does not settle at the settlement conference, it will proceed to hearing.  

    If the matter is resolved, the parties will sign a Stipulation for Settlement and submit it to a Compensation Judge for approval.  If a signed stipulation is not timely filed with OAH, a stipulation status conference will be scheduled.

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  • Mediation

    OAH offers mediation services at no charge to the parties.  Visit the mediation page for further details and instructions on how to schedule mediation with a Compensation Judge.
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  • Hearings

    Hearings are scheduled in St. Paul at 600 North Robert Street, in Duluth at 11 East Superior Street  Suite 180, and throughout the state at hub locations. Once a hearing date is set, OAH notifies all parties in writing of the date, time and place of the hearing.

    If an interpreter is required for the hearing, a party must make that request at least 30 days prior to the hearing. If an interpreter is requested, one will be provided at no cost to the parties. Visit the Court Services page for information on how to request an interpreter.

    Hearings are held before a Compensation Judge. The Compensation Judge may request an opening statement by each party. Witnesses are sworn in before testifying. The parties have a right to present their own witnesses and cross-examine witnesses presented by other parties. Parties may submit documents and reports that they wish the Compensation Judge to consider as part of their case. Each party may present a closing statement on the claim and defenses. All hearings are recorded digitally or by court reporter. After the hearing, the Compensation Judge will issue a Findings and Order, which is the decision of the case.

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  • Stipulation Status Conferences

    OAH schedules a Stipulation Status Conference (SSC) to take place approximately 45 days after a case is reported as settled. The purpose of the SSC is to update OAH and the other parties concerning the status of the stipulation, and to make plans to achieve final resolution of the claim.  SSCs are often scheduled in blocks of 50 to 100 cases. The SSC will be canceled if the Stipulation for Settlement is filed with OAH prior to the SSC. Generally, continuances of SSCs are not permitted.  Parties should come to the SSC prepared to explain why the final resolution of the case has been delayed, and to propose strategies on a timeline for achieving final resolution. 

    If a party has signed the Stipulation for Settlement, and the delay in filing the Stipulation for Settlement with OAH is due to no fault of their own, the party may be permitted to appear at the SSC by telephone.  The party must serve and file an Election to Appear by Telephone at Stipulation Status Conference at least five days prior to the SSC. The presiding judge will review the request, and then advise the party whether their appearance by telephone will be permitted.

    Questions regarding SSCs should be directed to 651-361-7950 or oah.wcstipstatus@state.mn.us.

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  • Appeals

    Any party has the right to appeal the Findings and Order of the Compensation Judge. A Notice of Appeal must be filed within 30 days of receipt of the date of service. Specific requirements of the Notice of Appeal, along with instructions on how to serve the Notice of Appeal, can be found in Minn. Stat. § 176.421, subd. 4.

    A Notice of Appeal to the Workers’ Compensation Court of Appeals can be filed with the Chief Administrative Law Judge at OAH by faxing it to 651-539-0300. Notices of Appeal are not accepted by OAH’s Duluth office. 

    The Notice of Appeal must be received at OAH by 4:30 p.m. on the day the filing is due.  Faxes received after 4:30 p.m. are considered filed the next business day.  OAH must also receive a copy of the $25.00 filing fee check with a faxed Notice.  To constitute a timely appeal, the original filing fee check must be received by OAH within 10 business days after the end of the appeal period. OAH will send an acknowledgment of the appeal by mail after the filing fee is received.
     
    The Notice of Appeal must also be faxed to the Department of Labor and Industry before the statutory deadline.  The fax number for appeals is 651-284-5731.

    Pursuant to Minn. Stat. § 176.421, subd. 3a, the respondent may cross-appeal within the 30-day period for taking an appeal, or within 15 days after service of the Notice of Appeal on that respondent, whichever is later. Each appellant and cross-appellant must pay the requisite $25.00 filing fee.

    The Workers’ Compensation Court of Appeals (WCCA) will review the hearing record. The WCCA can affirm, reverse, remand, or modify the Compensation Judge's order. All parties will receive a copy of the WCCA decision. Any party may also appeal the WCCA decision to the Minnesota Supreme Court.

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