CLARENCE JOHNSON Employee/Petitioner, v. UNIV. GOOD SAMARITAN and SENTRY INS. GROUP, Employer-Insurer.

JANUARY 22, 2015

No. WC14-5760


VACATION OF AWARD - FRAUD. The employee has not established good cause to set aside the Mediation Resolution/Award on the basis of fraud.

Petition to vacate mediation award denied.

Determined by:  Stofferahn, J., Milun, D.J., Hall, J.

Attorneys:  The petitioner appeared pro se.  Kirk C. Thompson, Cronan Thompson Johnson, Minneapolis, MN, for the Respondents.




The employee has petitioned to vacate a Mediation Resolution/Award of settlement served and filed October 18, 2004.  The employee has failed to establish cause to vacate the award, and the petition is denied.


Clarence Johnson was employed by University Good Samaritan on June 14, 2003, when he claimed that he sustained a work injury to his low back.  The employer and its insurer, Sentry Insurance Group, denied liability for the claimed injury.  Mr. Johnson, who was then represented by an attorney, and the employer and insurer entered into a settlement agreement in September 2004 that was the subject of a mediation resolution and award on October 18, 2004.

The settlement agreement identified Mr. Johnson’s claims that he had a work-related injury to his low back and right leg on June 14, 2003, and was entitled to wage loss benefits, medical expenses, and possible future claims.  The employer and insurer denied the employee’s claims based in large part on a report from Dr. Michael McGrail dated August 29, 2003.  In the agreement, the employer and insurer agreed to pay, and the employee agreed to accept a payment, after attorney fees, in the total amount of $3,000.00 as a close out of all workers’ compensation claims including future medical expenses.  In the agreement, the employee also answered “yes” to a number of questions asking him to acknowledge that he had read the agreement and had the agreement explained to him by his attorney.  The agreement was approved at a mediation session attended by Mr. Johnson.

In October 2007, the employee, now appearing pro se, filed a petition to vacate the settlement and mediation award.  Oral argument was held on the employee’s application in February 2008.  After considering the employee’s information and his argument, this court determined that the employee had failed to establish legal cause to vacate the award and denied his petition.  Johnson v. Univ. Good Samaritan, No. WC07-245 (W.C.C.A. Mar. 6, 2008).

The current proceeding is the result of an application filed by the employee in October 2014 to vacate or set aside the mediation award.  In addition to the application and documents filed at that time, the employee has filed a number of other letters and attachments since the application filed in October.  That material has been reviewed and considered by the court.  At the specific request of the employee, no oral argument had been held in this matter.


This court has authority to vacate or set aside an award only when cause has been found.  Cause is defined in the statute as:  1) mutual mistake of fact; 2) newly discovered evidence; 3) fraud; or 4) a substantial change in medical condition.  Minn. Stat. § 176.461.

In his 2007 application, the employee argued the mediation agreement should be set aside on the grounds of mutual mistake of fact, newly discovered evidence, and/or a substantial change in medical condition.  After review of the information cited in support of his application, this court determined in its 2008 decision that the employee had failed to establish any of those grounds.

The employee submitted no new evidence with his current application.  All the material he has sent in this current application is information previously submitted to this court in 2007 and 2008.  As a result, there is no reason to revisit our 2008 determination that cause in the form of mutual mistake of fact, newly discovered evidence, or substantial change in medical condition has not been established by the employee.

In the current application, the employee also now claims fraud as a basis for vacating the settlement.  It appears that fraud was not argued by the employee in his 2007 application and we turn to a consideration of this issue.  To establish fraud, there must be:  1) a false representation of fact; 2) the representation must deal with a past or present fact; 3) the fact must be susceptible of knowledge; 4) the representing party must know that the fact is false; 5) the representing party must intend that another be induced to act based on the false representation; 6) the other person must in fact act on the false representation; and 7) the misrepresentation must be the proximate cause of actual damages.  See Bramscher v. City of Perham Police Dep’t, slip op. (W.C.C.A. Feb 27, 1995) (citing Weise v. Red Owl Stores, Inc., 286 Minn. 199, 202, 175 N.W.2d 184, 187 (1970)).

In his material, the employee refers to the reliance by the employer and insurer on the medical opinion of Dr. McGrail.  He also cites to an alleged conflict of interest on the part of the mediator and a failure on the part of the Department of Labor and Industry to properly investigate the denial of liability by the employer and insurer.  First of all, the employee’s arguments are based on a misunderstanding of the provisions of the workers’ compensation statute.  None of these actions are improper or contrary to the statute.  More importantly for purposes of this present matter, there is no showing of fraud.  The employee does not provide any information of any misrepresentation by the employer and insurer which led to the settlement.

Much of the employee’s material deals with his belief that his termination by the employer, a denial of his claim for unemployment benefits, and his union’s denial of services were all connected and were all to his detriment.  This court has no authority to consider questions of unemployment, union representation, and the like.  We also note that these alleged actions all took place almost a year before the workers’ compensation settlement, and the employee provides no explanation of a connection between these complained of actions and the settlement.  On the basis of the information submitted, we find no evidence to support a finding of fraud.

The employee has not established a legitimate basis for cause to vacate the stipulation for settlement, and his petition is denied.