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Key: (1) language to be deleted (2) new language

 

                         Laws of Minnesota 1985 

                          CHAPTER 8-H.F.No. 6 
           An act relating to the environment; removing statutory 
          provisions for joint and several liability and 
          causation for personal injury; changing the date when 
          liability applies; removing additional defense for 
          abnormally dangerous activity; stating effect of 
          removing certain provisions; creating a hazardous 
          substance injury compensation fund; establishing a 
          board to administer the fund; limiting compensable 
          losses; prescribing claims procedures; allowing 
          partial subrogation rights; imposing a penalty; 
          appropriating money; amending Minnesota Statutes 1984, 
          sections 115B.05, subdivision 1; 115B.06, subdivision 
          1; and 115B.09; proposing coding for new law in 
          Minnesota Statutes, chapter 115B; repealing Minnesota 
          Statutes 1984, sections 115B.06, subdivision 2; and 
          115B.07. 
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA: 
    Section 1.  Minnesota Statutes 1984, section 115B.05, 
subdivision 1, is amended to read: 
    Subdivision 1.  [LIABILITY.] Except as otherwise provided 
in subdivisions 2 to 10, and notwithstanding any other provision 
or rule of law, any person who is responsible for the release of 
a hazardous substance from a facility is strictly liable, 
jointly and severally, for the following damages which result 
from the release or to which the release significantly 
contributes:  
    (a) All damages for actual economic loss including:  
    (1) Any injury to, destruction of, or loss of any real or 
personal property, including relocation costs;  
    (2) Any loss of use of real or personal property;  
    (3) Any loss of past or future income or profits resulting 
from injury to, destruction of, or loss of real or personal 
property without regard to the ownership of the property; and 
    (b) All damages for death, personal injury, or disease 
including:  
    (1) Any medical expenses, rehabilitation costs or burial 
expenses;  
    (2) Any loss of past or future income, or loss of earning 
capacity; and 
    (3) Damages for pain and suffering, including physical 
impairment.  
    Sec. 2.  Minnesota Statutes 1984, section 115B.06, 
subdivision 1, is amended to read: 
    Subdivision 1.  [APPLICATION OF SECTION 115B.05 AND 
ADDITIONAL DEFENSE.] (a) A defendant in an action under section 
115B.05 has the additional defense provided in subdivision 2 for 
damages caused or significantly contributed to by the release of 
a hazardous substance from a facility if the defendant shows 
that the substance was placed or came to be located in or on the 
facility wholly before January 1, 1973.  
    (b) Section 115B.05 does not apply to any claim for damages 
arising out of the release of a hazardous substance which was 
placed or came to be located in or on the facility wholly before 
January 1, 1960 July 1, 1983. 
    Sec. 3.  Minnesota Statutes 1984, section 115B.09, is 
amended to read:  
    115B.09 [LIABILITY UNDER SECTION 115B.05; COMPARATIVE FAULT 
AND CONTRIBUTION.] 
    The provisions of sections 604.01, 604.02, subdivisions 1 
and 2, apply to any action for damages under section 115B.05, 
except that, if the percentage of fault attributable to a 
defendant is determined under section 604.01, the liability of 
the defendant shall be limited to two times that percentage of 
the damages recoverable in the action.  
    Sec. 4.  [115B.25] [DEFINITIONS.] 
    Subdivision 1.  [GENERAL.] The terms used in sections 4 to 
16 have the definitions given them in section 115B.02 and this 
section. 
    Subd. 2.  [BOARD.] "Board" means the hazardous substance 
injury compensation board established in section 6. 
    Subd. 3.  [COMPENSABLE LOSS.] "Compensable loss" means a 
loss that is compensable under section 13. 
    Subd. 4.  [ELIGIBLE PERSON.] "Eligible person" means a 
person who is eligible to file a claim with the fund under 
section 8. 
    Subd. 5.  [ELIGIBLE PERSONAL INJURY.] "Eligible personal 
injury" means personal injury that is eligible for compensation 
under section 9. 
    Subd. 6.  [ELIGIBLE PROPERTY DAMAGE.] "Eligible property 
damage" means property damage that is eligible for compensation 
under section 9. 
    Subd. 7.  [FUND.] "Fund" means the hazardous substance 
injury compensation fund established in section 5. 
    Subd. 8.  [PROTECTED INFORMATION.] "Protected information" 
means information provided to the board by a nongovernmental 
third party, or information provided to the board by a 
governmental party if access to that information is protected 
under other law, that is relevant to a determination required of 
the board under section 12, subdivision 1, clauses (2) to (4), 
and section 12, subdivision 2, clause (2). 
    Sec. 5.  [115B.26] [HAZARDOUS SUBSTANCE INJURY COMPENSATION 
FUND.] 
    Subdivision 1.  [ESTABLISHMENT.] A hazardous substance 
injury compensation fund is established as an account in the 
state treasury.  Earnings, such as interest, dividends, and any 
other earnings arising from fund assets, must be credited to the 
fund. 
    Subd. 2.  [APPROPRIATION.] The amount necessary to pay for 
staff assistance, administrative services, and office space 
under section 7, subdivision 4, and to pay claims of 
compensation granted by the board under sections 4 to 16 is 
appropriated to the board from the hazardous substance injury 
compensation fund.  
    Subd. 3.  [PAYMENT OF CLAIMS WHEN FUND INSUFFICIENT.] If 
the amount of the claims granted exceeds the amount in the fund, 
the board shall request a transfer from the general contingent 
account to the hazardous substance injury compensation fund as 
provided in section 3.30.  If no transfer is approved, the board 
shall pay the claims which have been granted in the order 
granted only to the extent of the money remaining in the fund.  
The board shall pay the remaining claims which have been granted 
after additional money is credited to the fund. 
    Sec. 6.  [115B.27] [HAZARDOUS SUBSTANCE INJURY COMPENSATION 
BOARD.] 
    Subdivision 1.  [ESTABLISHMENT OF BOARD.] The hazardous 
substance injury compensation board is established.  The board 
consists of five members who will serve part time and who will 
be appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the 
senate.  One member must be a physician knowledgeable in 
toxicology; one member must be a member of the bar of this 
state; one member must be a health professional knowledgeable in 
the area of hazardous substance injuries; and two members must 
be members of the general public.  The board shall annually 
elect a member to serve as chairman for a term of one year.  
Filling of vacancies on the board and removal of members are 
governed by section 15.0575. 
    Subd. 2.  [MEMBERSHIP TERMS.] The initial members shall be 
appointed to terms as follows: 
    (1) two members appointed for six years; 
    (2) two members appointed for four years; 
    (3) the fifth member appointed for two years. 
    At the end of each member's term, the successor shall be 
appointed for six years and each successor thereafter shall be 
appointed for six years. 
    Subd. 3.  [COMPENSATION AND EXPENSES.] Notwithstanding the 
provisions of section 15.0575, the commissioner of employee 
relations shall establish the compensation to be paid members of 
the board, based on the professional expertise and experience of 
the members.  Expenses shall be paid as provided in the plan for 
state employees adopted under section 43A.18, subdivision 2. 
    Sec. 7.  [115B.28] [POWERS AND DUTIES OF THE BOARD.] 
    Subdivision 1.  [DUTIES.] In addition to performing duties 
specified in sections 4 to 16 or in other law, and subject to 
the limitations on disclosure contained in section 14, the board 
shall: 
    (1) adopt rules as soon as practicable after all members 
are appointed, including rules governing practice and procedure 
before the board, the form and procedure for applications for 
compensation, and procedures for claims investigations; 
    (2) publicize the availability of compensation and 
application procedures on a statewide basis with special 
emphasis on geographical areas surrounding sites identified by 
the pollution control agency as having releases from a facility 
where a hazardous substance was placed or came to be located 
prior to July 1, 1983; 
    (3) collect, analyze, and make available to the public, in 
consultation with the department of health, the pollution 
control agency, the University of Minnesota medical and public 
health schools, and the medical community, data regarding 
injuries relating to exposure to hazardous substances; and 
    (4) prepare and transmit by December 31 of each year to the 
governor and the legislature an annual report to include (a) a 
summary of board activity under clause (3); (b) data determined 
by the board from actual cases, including but not limited to 
number of cases, actual compensation received by each claimant, 
types of cases, and types of injuries compensated, as they 
relate to types of hazardous substances as well as length of 
exposure, but excluding identification of the claimants; (c) all 
administrative costs associated with the business of the board; 
and (d) board recommendations for legislative changes, further 
study, or any other recommendation aimed at improving the system 
of compensation. 
    Subd. 2.  [POWERS.] In addition to exercising any powers 
specified in sections 4 to 16 or in other law, the board may: 
    (1) in reviewing a claim, consider any information relevant 
to the claim, in accordance with the evidentiary standards 
contained in section 14; 
    (2) contract for consultant or other services necessary to 
carry out the board's duties under sections 4 to 16; 
    (3) grant reasonable partial compensation on an emergency 
basis pending the final decision on a claim, subject to the 
adoption of rules by the board, if the claim is one with respect 
to which an award will probably be made and undue hardship will 
result to the claimant if immediate payment is not made; 
    (4) limit access to information collected and maintained by 
the board and take any other action necessary to protect 
privileged or confidential information, in accordance with the 
limitations contained in section 14. 
    Subd. 3.  [INVESTIGATION; OBTAINING INFORMATION.] The board 
may investigate any claim for compensation and for this purpose 
it may require from the claimant and request from any person 
information regarding any matter, fact, or circumstance which is 
relevant to determination of a claim under section 12.  In 
exercising its powers under this subdivision, the board may 
collect information reasonably calculated to lead to the 
discovery of evidence admissible under section 14.  The board 
shall reimburse the person requested to provide information the 
actual cost of copies of documents, papers, samples, or other 
tangible items necessary to respond to the request from the 
board.  In order to obtain this information the board, subject 
to any applicable privilege, may: 
    (a) request any person to produce documents, papers, books, 
or other tangible things in the possession, custody, or control 
of that person; 
    (b) request the sworn testimony of any person as to any 
relevant fact or opinion; 
    (c) direct written questions to any person and request 
written answers and objections; 
    (d) request a mental or physical examination of the 
claimant or autopsy of any deceased person whose death is the 
basis of the claim, provided that notice is given to the 
claimant and the claimant receives a copy of the report; and 
    (e) request a waiver of medical privilege by the claimant. 
    The board shall give written notice of any request under 
this subdivision at least 15 days before the person is expected 
to comply with the request.  If a person fails or refuses to 
comply with a request for information relevant to the release of 
a hazardous substance, the board may issue a subpoena for the 
production of the information and may petition the district 
court for an order enforcing the subpoena.  If a person fails or 
refuses to comply with a request for other information relevant 
to determination of the claim, the board may petition the 
district court for an order to compel compliance with the 
request.  If the claimant refuses to comply with a request by 
the board for information relevant to the claim, the board may 
dismiss the claim. 
    Subd. 4.  [ADMINISTRATIVE PERSONNEL AND SERVICES.] The 
commissioner of health shall provide staff assistance, 
administrative services, and office space under a contract with 
the board.  The board shall reimburse the commissioner for the 
staff, services, and space provided.  In order to perform its 
duties, the board may request information from the supervising 
officer of any state agency or state institution of higher 
education.  The supervising officer shall comply with the 
board's request to the extent possible considering available 
agency or institution appropriations and may assign agency or 
institution employees to assist the board in performing its 
duties under sections 4 to 16. 
    Sec. 8.  [115B.29] [ELIGIBLE PERSONS.] 
    Subdivision 1.  [PERSONAL INJURY AND CERTAIN PROPERTY 
CLAIMS.] A person may file a claim with the board pursuant to 
this section for compensation for an eligible injury, or for 
eligible property damage described in section 13, subdivision 2, 
paragraph (a), clause (1), that could reasonably have resulted 
from an exposure in Minnesota to a hazardous substance released 
from a facility. 
    Subd. 2.  [OTHER PROPERTY CLAIMS.] A person may file a 
claim with the board pursuant to this section for eligible 
property damage described in section 13, subdivision 2, 
paragraph (a), clause (2), that could reasonably have resulted 
from a release of a hazardous substance, if: 
    (1) the persons responsible for the release of the 
hazardous substance are unknown or cannot with reasonable 
diligence be determined or located; or 
    (2) a judgment would not be satisfied in whole or in part 
against the persons determined to be responsible for the release 
of the hazardous substance. 
    Sec. 9.  [115B.30] [ELIGIBLE INJURY AND DAMAGE.] 
    Subdivision 1.  [ELIGIBLE PERSONAL INJURY.] (a) A personal 
injury which could reasonably have resulted from exposure to a 
hazardous substance released from a facility where it was placed 
or came to be located is eligible for compensation from the fund 
if:  
    (1) it is a medically verified chronic or progressive 
disease, illness, or disability such as cancer, organic nervous 
system disorders, or physical deformities, including 
malfunctions in reproduction, in humans or their offspring, or 
death; or 
    (2) it is a medically verified acute disease or condition 
that typically manifests itself rapidly after a single exposure 
or limited exposures and the persons responsible for the release 
of the hazardous substance are unknown or cannot with reasonable 
diligence be determined or located or a judgment would not be 
satisfied in whole or in part against the persons determined to 
be responsible for the release of the hazardous substance.  
    (b) A personal injury is not compensable from the fund if: 
    (1) the injury is compensable under the workers' 
compensation law, chapter 176; 
    (2) the injury arises out of the claimant's use of a 
consumer product; 
    (3) the injury arises out of an exposure that occurred or 
is occurring outside the geographical boundaries of the state;  
    (4) the injury results from the release of a hazardous 
substance for which the claimant is a responsible person; or 
    (5) the injury is an acute disease or condition other than 
one described in paragraph (a). 
    Subd. 2.  [ELIGIBLE PROPERTY DAMAGE.] Damage to real 
property in Minnesota owned by the claimant is eligible for 
compensation from the fund if the damage results from the 
presence in or on the property of a hazardous substance released 
from a facility where it was placed or came to be located.  
Damage to property is not eligible for compensation from the 
fund if it results from the release of a hazardous substance for 
which the claimant is a responsible person. 
    Subd. 3.  [TIME FOR FILING CLAIM.] A claim is not eligible 
for compensation from the fund unless it is filed with the board 
within the time provided in this subdivision. 
    (a) A claim for compensation for personal injury must be 
filed within two years after the injury and its connection to 
exposure to a hazardous substance was or reasonably should have 
been discovered. 
    (b) A claim for compensation for property damage must be 
filed within six years after the damage was or reasonably should 
have been discovered. 
    Notwithstanding the provisions of this subdivision, claims 
for compensation that would otherwise be barred by any statute 
of limitations provided in sections 4 to 16 may be filed not 
later than January 1, 1988. 
    Sec. 10.  [115B.31] [OTHER ACTIONS.] 
    Subdivision 1.  [SUBSEQUENT ACTION OR CLAIM PROHIBITED IN 
CERTAIN CASES.] (a) A person who has settled a claim for an 
eligible injury or eligible property damage with a responsible 
person, either before or after bringing an action in court for 
that injury or damage, may not file a claim with the fund for 
the same injury or damage.  A person who has received a judgment 
in his favor in a court action for an eligible injury or 
eligible property damage may not file a claim with the fund for 
the same injury or damage, unless the judgment cannot be 
satisfied in whole or in part against the persons responsible 
for the release of the hazardous substance.  A person who has 
filed a claim with the board may not file another claim with the 
board for the same eligible injury or damage, unless the claim 
was inactivated by the board as provided in section 11, 
subdivision 1. 
    (b) A person who has filed a claim with the board for an 
eligible injury or damage, and who has received and accepted an 
award from the board, is precluded from bringing an action in 
court for the same eligible injury or damage.  
    (c) A person who files a claim with the board for personal 
injury or property damage must include all known claims eligible 
for compensation in one proceeding before the board. 
    Subd. 2.  [USE OF PROTECTED INFORMATION AND BOARD 
FINDINGS.] The findings and decision of the board are 
inadmissible in any court action.  Protected information may not 
be used in any court action except to the extent that the 
information is otherwise available to a party or discovered 
under the applicable rules of civil or criminal procedure. 
    Subd. 3.  [SUBROGATION BY STATE.] The state is subrogated 
to all the claimant's rights under statutory or common law to 
recover losses compensated from the fund from other sources, 
including responsible persons as defined in section 115B.03.  
The state may bring a subrogation action in its own name or in 
the name of the claimant.  The state may not bring a subrogation 
action against a person who was a party in a court action by the 
claimant for the same eligible injury or damage, unless the 
claimant dismissed the action prior to trial.  Money recovered 
by the state under this subdivision must be deposited in the 
fund.  Nothing in sections 4 to 16 shall be construed to create 
a standard of recovery in a subrogation action.  
    Subd. 4.  [SIMULTANEOUS CLAIM AND COURT ACTION PROHIBITED.] 
A claimant may not commence a court action to recover for any 
injury or damage for which the claimant seeks compensation from 
the fund during the time that a claim is pending before the 
board.  A person may not file a claim with the board for 
compensation for any injury or damage for which the claimant 
seeks to recover in a pending court action.  The time for filing 
a claim under section 9 or the statute of limitations for any 
civil action is suspended during the period of time that a 
claimant is precluded from filing a claim or commencing an 
action under this subdivision. 
    Sec. 11.  [115B.32] [CLAIM FOR COMPENSATION.] 
    Subdivision 1.  [FORM.] A claim for compensation from the 
fund must be filed with the board in the form required by the 
board.  When a claim does not include all the information 
required by subdivision 2 and applicable board rules, the board 
staff shall notify the claimant of the absence of the required 
information within 14 days of the filing of the claim.  All 
required information must be received by the board not later 
than 60 days after the claimant received notice of its absence 
or the claim will be inactivated and may not be resubmitted for 
at least one year following the date of inactivation.  The board 
may decide not to inactivate a claim under this subdivision if 
it finds serious extenuating circumstances. 
    Subd. 2.  [REQUIRED INFORMATION.] A claimant must provide 
the following information as part of the claim, provided that 
nothing in this act shall be construed to require the claimant 
to initiate a court action before filing a claim: 
    (1) a sworn verification by the claimant of the facts set 
forth in the claim to the best of the claimant's knowledge;  
    (2) evidence that the claimant is an eligible person; 
    (3) evidence of the claimant's exposure to a named 
hazardous substance; 
    (4) evidence that the claimant's exposure to the substance 
in the amount and duration experienced by the claimant could 
reasonably have been caused or significantly contributed to by 
the release of a hazardous substance from a facility where the 
substance was placed or came to be located, to the extent the 
information is available to the claimant; 
    (5) evidence that the exposure experienced by the claimant 
can cause or can significantly contribute to the injury suffered 
by the claimant; 
    (6) evidence of the injury eligible for compensation 
suffered by the claimant and the compensable losses resulting 
from the injury; 
    (7) evidence of any property damage eligible for 
compensation and the amount of compensable losses resulting from 
the damage; 
    (8) information regarding any collateral sources of 
compensation; and 
    (9) other information required by the rules of the board. 
    Subd. 3.  [DEATH CLAIMS.] In any case in which death is 
claimed as a compensable injury, the claim may be brought on 
behalf of the claimant by the claimant's estate for compensable 
medical expenses and by the claimant's trustee for death 
benefits for the claimant's dependents as defined in section 
176.111.  
    Sec. 12.  [115B.33] [DETERMINATION OF CLAIM.] 
    Subdivision 1.  [STANDARD FOR PERSONAL INJURY.] The board 
shall grant compensation to a claimant who shows that it is more 
likely than not that: 
    (1) the claimant suffers a medically verified injury that 
is eligible for compensation from the fund and that has resulted 
in a compensable loss; 
    (2) the claimant has been exposed to a hazardous substance; 
    (3) the release of the hazardous substance from a facility 
where the substance was placed or came to be located could 
reasonably have resulted in the claimant's exposure to the 
substance in the amount and duration experienced by the 
claimant; and 
    (4) the injury suffered by the claimant can be caused or 
significantly contributed to by exposure to the hazardous 
substance in an amount and duration experienced by the claimant. 
    Subd. 2.  [STANDARD FOR PROPERTY DAMAGE.] The board shall 
grant compensation to a claimant who shows that it is more 
likely than not that: 
    (1) the claimant has suffered property damage that is 
eligible for compensation and that has resulted in compensable 
loss; and 
    (2) the presence of the hazardous substance in or on the 
property could reasonably have resulted from the release of the 
hazardous substance from a facility where the substance was 
placed or came to be located. 
    Sec. 13.  [115B.34] [COMPENSABLE LOSSES.] 
    Subdivision 1.  [PERSONAL INJURY LOSSES.] Losses 
compensable by the fund for personal injury are limited to: 
    (a) medical expenses directly related to the claimant's 
injury; 
    (b) up to two-thirds of the claimant's lost wages not to 
exceed $2,000 per month or $24,000 per year; 
    (c) up to two-thirds of a self-employed claimant's lost 
income, not to exceed $2,000 per month or $24,000 per year; 
    (d) death benefits to dependents which the board shall 
define by rule subject to the following conditions: 
    (1) the rule adopted by the board must establish a schedule 
of benefits similar to that established by section 176.111 and 
must not provide for the payment of benefits to dependents other 
than those dependents defined in section 176.111;  
    (2) the total benefits paid to all dependents of a claimant 
must not exceed $2,000 per month; 
    (3) benefits paid to a spouse and all dependents other than 
children must not continue for a period longer than ten years; 
    (4) payment of benefits is subject to the limitations of 
section 15; and 
    (e) the value of household labor lost due to the claimant's 
injury or disease, which must be determined in accordance with a 
schedule established by the board by rule, not to exceed $2,000 
per month or $24,000 per year. 
    Subd. 2.  [PROPERTY DAMAGE LOSSES.] (a) Losses compensable 
by the fund for property damage are limited to the following 
losses caused by damage to the principal residence of the 
claimant: 
    (1) the reasonable cost of replacing or decontaminating the 
primary source of drinking water for the property not to exceed 
the amount actually expended by the claimant or assessed by a 
local taxing authority, if the department of health has 
determined that the water is contaminated or has included the 
property in a well advisory area and has certified that the 
replacement or decontamination of the source of drinking water 
effectively has or will eliminate the contamination, up to a 
maximum of $25,000; and 
    (2) losses incurred as a result of a bona fide sale of the 
property at less than the appraised market value under 
circumstances that constitute a hardship to the owner, limited 
to 75 percent of the difference between the appraised market 
value and the selling price, but not to exceed $25,000. 
    (b) For purposes of paragraph (a), the following 
definitions apply: 
    (1) "appraised market value" means an appraisal of the 
market value of the property disregarding any decrease in value 
caused by the presence of a hazardous substance in or on the 
property; and 
    (2) "hardship" means an urgent need to sell the property 
based on a special circumstance of the owner including 
catastrophic medical expenses, inability of the owner to 
physically maintain the property due to a physical or mental 
condition, and change of employment of the owner or other member 
of the owner's household requiring the owner to move to a 
different location. 
    (c) Appraisals are subject to board approval.  The board 
may adopt rules governing approval of appraisals, criteria for 
establishing a hardship, and other matters necessary to 
administer this subdivision. 
    Sec. 14.  [115B.35] [DETERMINATION OF CLAIMS.] 
    Subdivision 1.  [ASSIGNMENT OF CLAIMS.] The chairman of the 
board shall assign each claim that has been accepted for filing 
to one member of the board, except that no claims shall be 
assigned to either of the two members appointed to the board as 
members of the general public. 
    Subd. 2.  [TREATMENT OF PROTECTED INFORMATION.] In making a 
preliminary or final decision under this section, the board 
shall examine protected information outside of the presence of 
the claimant, the claimant's attorney, or any other person 
except staff to the board.  The board, the board's staff, and 
any other person who obtains access to protected information 
under this section may not reveal protected information to any 
person except as provided in this section. 
    Subd. 3.  [EVIDENCE ADMISSIBLE IN CLAIM PROCEEDINGS.] In 
the determination of a claim, the board may admit and give 
probative effect to evidence that possesses probative value 
commonly accepted by reasonable and prudent persons in the 
conduct of their affairs.  The board shall give effect to the 
rules of privilege recognized by law.  The board may exclude 
incompetent, irrelevant, immaterial, and repetitious evidence. 
    Subd. 4.  [PRELIMINARY DECISION.] The board member to whom 
the claim is assigned shall review all materials filed in 
support of the claim and may cause an investigation to be 
conducted into the validity of the claim.  The board member may 
make a preliminary decision on the basis of the papers filed in 
support of the claim and the report of any investigation of it. 
The decision must be in writing and include the reasons for the 
decision, subject to the limitations on disclosure of protected 
information. 
    Subd. 5.  [CIRCULATION OF PRELIMINARY DECISION.] Copies of 
the preliminary decision made under subdivision 4 must be 
circulated to the other board members as soon as practicable.  
On receipt of the preliminary decision, the members have 20 days 
to challenge it by written notice to the members who made the 
decision.  If no other member challenges the preliminary 
decision, a copy must be sent to the claimant who may challenge 
the decision by written notice to the board within 30 days of 
receipt of the decision.  If the board member relies on 
protected information to deny a claim, the preliminary decision 
must include a statement to this effect.  If no notice is 
received within the required time, the preliminary decision 
becomes a final decision of the board.  
    Subd. 6.  [CHALLENGES.] If a board member or a claimant 
challenges a preliminary decision made pursuant to subdivision 
4, the full board shall order the claimant to appear before the 
board.  The appearance is not a contested case hearing under 
chapter 14.  The claimant may produce further evidence to 
support the claim, including books, studies, reports, and any 
other written material and oral testimony of witnesses, 
including experts.  The board members may ask questions of the 
claimant and any witnesses presented by the claimant.  After the 
appearance, the board shall make a final decision on the claim 
as soon as practicable.  The decision must be in writing and 
include the reasons for the decision, subject to the limits on 
disclosure of protected information.  A copy of each final 
decision must be sent to the claimant, including, for a claim 
that is granted, an explanation of the form in which the claim 
will be paid.  If the final decision of the board relies on 
protected information to deny a claim, the decision shall 
include a statement to this effect.  At the claimant's request, 
the board shall disclose to the claimant that portion of the 
protected information relied on by the board and shall provide 
the claimant with an opportunity to provide additional 
information relevant to the element of the standard that has not 
been demonstrated.  The board shall make a final decision based 
on all available information.  
    Subd. 7.  [RECORD.] Any appearance by a claimant or 
witnesses must be tape recorded but a formal record pursuant to 
chapter 14 is not required. 
    Subd. 8.  [APPEAL.] A final decision of the board made 
under this section is conclusive on all matters decided.  There 
is no right to judicial review of a final decision of the board. 
     Subd. 9.  [REMEDIES AND PENALTIES.] A board member, board 
staff person, or other person who reveals protected information 
in violation of this section is subject to the civil remedies 
contained in section 13.08 and the penalties in section 13.09. 
    Sec. 15.  [115B.36] [AMOUNT AND FORM OF PAYMENT.] 
    If the board decides to grant compensation, it shall 
determine the net uncompensated loss payable to the claimant by 
computing the total amount of compensable losses payable to the 
claimant and subtracting the total amount of any compensation 
received by the claimant for the same injury or damage from 
other sources including, but not limited to, all forms of 
insurance and social security and any emergency award made by 
the board.  The board shall pay compensation in the amount of 
the net uncompensated loss, provided that no claimant may 
receive more than $250,000.  In the case of a death, the total 
amount paid to all persons on behalf of the claimant may not 
exceed $250,000. 
    Compensation from the fund may be awarded in a lump sum or 
in installments at the discretion of the board.  
    Sec. 16.  [115B.37] [ATTORNEY FEES.] 
    The board may by rule limit the fee charged by any attorney 
for representing a claimant before the board. 
    Sec. 17.  [115B.055] [EFFECT OF REMOVING AND REPEALING CERTAIN 
PROVISIONS.] 
    Subdivision 1.  [JOINT AND SEVERAL LIABILITY FOR PERSONAL 
INJURY.] The enactment of Laws 1983, chapter 121, section 5, 
relating to joint and several liability, and the subsequent 
amendment of section 115B.05 as provided in this act, shall not 
be construed in any way as a determination of legislative intent 
regarding the applicability of joint and several liability in 
any action brought under section 115B.05.  The determination of 
whether joint and several liability applies in any action 
brought under section 115B.05 shall be based solely on 
applicable statutory and common law. 
    Subd. 2.  [CAUSATION OF PERSONAL INJURY.] In any action 
brought under section 115B.05, or under any other law, to 
recover damages for death, personal injury, or disease arising 
out of the release of a hazardous substance, the enactment of 
Laws 1983, chapter 121, section 7, and subsequent repeal of 
section 115B.07 under this act, relating to proof of causation, 
shall not be construed in any way as a determination of 
legislative intent regarding the legal principles applicable to 
the proof of the causal connection between the release and the 
death, injury, or disease.  The legal principles applicable to 
the proof of causation shall be determined solely on the basis 
of applicable statutory and common law. 
    Sec. 18.  [APPROPRIATION.] 
    $2,000,000 is appropriated from the general fund to the 
hazardous substance injury compensation fund, to be available 
until expended.  Up to $250,000 of this appropriation may be 
used for staff assistance, administrative services, and office 
space. 
    Sec. 19.  [REPEALER.] 
    Minnesota Statutes 1984, sections 115B.06, subdivision 2; 
and 115B.07, are repealed. 
    Sec. 20.  [EFFECTIVE DATE.] 
     Sections 1 to 19 are effective July 1, 1985. 
    Approved June 25, 1985