KADIJA OMAR, Employee/Appellant, v. ROYAL AM. FOODS and LIBERTY MUT. INS. COS., Employer-Insurer.

DECEMBER 18, 2014

No. WC14-5745


SETTLEMENTS - APPROVAL & DISAPPROVAL.  This court lacks authority to approve stipulations for settlement.  Where the compensation judge denied approval of a stipulation based on a lack of proof that potential intervenors had been given notice of their right to intervene, as specified by statute and rule, and the record, such as it is, supports the judge’s conclusion in that regard as of the date of the judge’s order, the employee’s remedy is to resubmit the stipulation, with the requisite notices, and to ask the compensation judge to reconsider.


Determined by:  Wilson, J., Cervantes, J., Hall, J., Milun, C.J., and Stofferahn, J.
Compensation Judge:  Kristen M. Tate

Attorneys:  R. Donald Hawkinson, Attorney at Law, Minneapolis, MN, for the Appellant.  Jaclyn S. Millner, Law Offices of Thompas P. Stilp, Minneapolis, MN, for the Respondents.




The employee appeals from the compensation judge’s decision denying approval of a stipulation for settlement.  We affirm.


On July 3, 2014, the employee and the employer and insurer submitted a stipulation for settlement to the Office of Administrative Hearings.  In the agreement, it was asserted that three medical providers[1] had “been notified of their potential intervention and/or Spaeth interests and [had] failed to intervene in any manner.”  The agreement also specified that “[c]opies of notice were previously put on file at the Office of Administrative Hearings,” and the employee and the employer and insurer asked the court to deny the potential intervention interests based on noncompliance with the statute governing intervention.

In an order dated August 7, 2014, a compensation judge denied approval of the stipulation, writing as follows:

As part of the Stipulation, the parties seek to extinguish the interests of potential intervenors.  However, the parties did not attach the requisite notices and proof of service sent to the potential intervenors.  Despite [having asked] the parties to provide such documentation, the Court has not received such documentation as of the date of this Order.
Consequently, the Compensation Judge has reviewed and found the Stipulation for Settlement not to be in substantial accord with the terms and provisions of the Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Law.
NOW THEREFORE IT IS ORDERED that the Stipulation for Settlement filed on July 3, 2014, is disapproved for the reasons stated above.

The employee appeals.[2]


In his brief on appeal, counsel for the employee asserts that the potential intervenors had notice of the settlement, and he attached signature pages from two intervenors to his brief as support for his claim.  Accordingly, he “requests that the Award on Stipulation be executed.”  We decline that request.

Initially we would note that the signature pages attached to the employee’s brief were executed well after the stipulation was filed at the Office of Administrative Hearings,[3] and there is no indication that the judge received those pages before issuing her order; in fact, one of the pages was dated only one day before the judge disapproved the stipulation.  Furthermore, this court no longer has the authority to approve settlement agreements, see Minn. Stat. § 176.521, subd. 1(b), so we lack jurisdiction to grant the requested relief in any event.  The employee’s remedy is to either appeal to the Minnesota Supreme Court or to resubmit the stipulation to the compensation judge, with the requisite notices,[4] and to ask the judge to reconsider.

[1] Gargar Urgent Care & Clinic; UMMC-Fairview Riverside; and Physical Therapy Orthopaedic Specialists.

[2] The employer and insurer notified the court that they would not be submitting a brief.

[3] As previously indicated, the stipulation was filed on July 3, 2014.  The signature pages were dated July 22, 2014, and August 6, 2014.

[4] See Minn. R. 1415.1100, subp. 2, governing the requirements for notice to potential intervenors.  We find no evidence to indicate that these requirements have been satisfied.