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Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

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

                            CHAPTER 128-S.F.No. 1807 
                  An act relating to workers' compensation; changing 
                  certain reporting deadlines; modifying certain 
                  workers' compensation procedures; adding state 
                  correctional officers to the presumption of 
                  occupational disease; amending Minnesota Statutes 
                  1996, sections 79.55, subdivisions 9 and 10; 176.011, 
                  subdivision 15; and 176.191, subdivisions 1 and 5. 
        BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA: 
           Section 1.  Minnesota Statutes 1996, section 79.55, 
        subdivision 9, is amended to read: 
           Subd. 9.  [ANALYSIS BY RATE OVERSIGHT COMMISSION.] Not 
        later than November December 1 of each year, the rate oversight 
        commission may submit to the commissioner a report concerning 
        the completeness of the filing and compliance of the filing with 
        the standards for excessiveness, inadequacy, and unfair 
        discrimination set forth in this chapter. 
           Sec. 2.  Minnesota Statutes 1996, section 79.55, 
        subdivision 10, is amended to read: 
           Subd. 10.  [DUTIES OF COMMISSIONER.] The commissioner shall 
        issue a report by January March 1 of each year, comparing the 
        average rates charged by workers' compensation insurers in the 
        state to the pure premium base rates filed by the association, 
        as reviewed by the rate oversight commission.  The rate 
        oversight commission shall review the commissioner's report and 
        if the experience indicates that rates have not reasonably 
        reflected changes in pure premiums, the rate oversight 
        commission shall recommend to the legislature appropriate 
        legislative changes to this chapter. 
           Sec. 3.  Minnesota Statutes 1996, section 176.011, 
        subdivision 15, is amended to read: 
           Subd. 15.  [OCCUPATIONAL DISEASE.] (a) "Occupational 
        disease" means a disease arising out of and in the course of 
        employment peculiar to the occupation in which the employee is 
        engaged and due to causes in excess of the hazards ordinary of 
        employment and shall include undulant fever.  Ordinary diseases 
        of life to which the general public is equally exposed outside 
        of employment are not compensable, except where the diseases 
        follow as an incident of an occupational disease, or where the 
        exposure peculiar to the occupation makes the disease an 
        occupational disease hazard.  A disease arises out of the 
        employment only if there be a direct causal connection between 
        the conditions under which the work is performed and if the 
        occupational disease follows as a natural incident of the work 
        as a result of the exposure occasioned by the nature of the 
        employment.  An employer is not liable for compensation for any 
        occupational disease which cannot be traced to the employment as 
        a direct and proximate cause and is not recognized as a hazard 
        characteristic of and peculiar to the trade, occupation, 
        process, or employment or which results from a hazard to which 
        the worker would have been equally exposed outside of the 
        employment.  
           (b) If immediately preceding the date of disablement or 
        death, an employee was employed on active duty with an organized 
        fire or police department of any municipality, as a member of 
        the Minnesota state patrol, conservation officer service, state 
        crime bureau, as a forest officer by the department of natural 
        resources, state correctional officer, or sheriff or full-time 
        deputy sheriff of any county, and the disease is that of 
        myocarditis, coronary sclerosis, pneumonia or its sequel, and at 
        the time of employment such employee was given a thorough 
        physical examination by a licensed doctor of medicine, and a 
        written report thereof has been made and filed with such 
        organized fire or police department, with the Minnesota state 
        patrol, conservation officer service, state crime bureau, 
        department of natural resources, department of corrections, or 
        sheriff's department of any county, which examination and report 
        negatived any evidence of myocarditis, coronary sclerosis, 
        pneumonia or its sequel, the disease is presumptively an 
        occupational disease and shall be presumed to have been due to 
        the nature of employment.  If immediately preceding the date of 
        disablement or death, any individual who by nature of their 
        position provides emergency medical care, or an employee who was 
        employed as a licensed police officer under section 626.84, 
        subdivision 1; firefighter; paramedic; state correctional 
        officer; emergency medical technician; or licensed nurse 
        providing emergency medical care; and who contracts an 
        infectious or communicable disease to which the employee was 
        exposed in the course of employment outside of a hospital, then 
        the disease is presumptively an occupational disease and shall 
        be presumed to have been due to the nature of employment and the 
        presumption may be rebutted by substantial factors brought by 
        the employer or insurer. 
           (c) A firefighter on active duty with an organized fire 
        department who is unable to perform duties in the department by 
        reason of a disabling cancer of a type caused by exposure to 
        heat, radiation, or a known or suspected carcinogen, as defined 
        by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, and the 
        carcinogen is reasonably linked to the disabling cancer, is 
        presumed to have an occupational disease under paragraph (a).  
        If a firefighter who enters the service after August 1, 1988, is 
        examined by a physician prior to being hired and the examination 
        discloses the existence of a cancer of a type described in this 
        paragraph, the firefighter is not entitled to the presumption 
        unless a subsequent medical determination is made that the 
        firefighter no longer has the cancer. 
           Sec. 4.  Minnesota Statutes 1996, section 176.191, 
        subdivision 1, is amended to read: 
           Subdivision 1.  [ORDER; EMPLOYER, INSURER, OR SPECIAL 
        COMPENSATION FUND PAYMENT.] Where compensation benefits are 
        payable under this chapter, and a dispute exists between two or 
        more employers or two or more insurers or the special 
        compensation fund as to which is liable for payment, the 
        commissioner, compensation judge, or court of appeals upon 
        appeal shall direct that one or more of the employers or 
        insurers or the special compensation fund make payment of the 
        benefits pending a determination of which has liability.  The 
        special compensation fund may be ordered to make payment only if 
        it has been made a party to the claim because the petitioner has 
        alleged that one or more of the employers is uninsured for 
        workers' compensation under section 176.183.  A temporary order 
        may be issued under this subdivision whether or not the 
        employers, insurers, or special compensation fund agree to pay 
        under the order., and whether or not they agree that benefits 
        are payable under this chapter.  A temporary order shall be 
        issued if the commissioner or compensation judge determines 
        based on evidence submitted by the employee that benefits are 
        payable under this chapter and if two or more employers, 
        insurers, or the special compensation fund deny liability based 
        on an assertion that another employer, insurer, or the special 
        compensation fund is liable.  A temporary order shall not be 
        withheld where the denials of liability are frivolous as defined 
        in section 176.225, subdivision 1, or nonspecific as defined in 
        section 176.84, subdivision 1. 
           If the parties do not agree to a temporary order, the 
        commissioner or compensation judge shall summarily hear and 
        determine the issues and issue an order without the need for a 
        formal evidentiary hearing.  At any time after a temporary order 
        is issued, the paying party may request to discontinue payment 
        of benefits based on new evidence that benefits are not payable 
        under this chapter by following the procedures of section 
        176.238 or 176.239. 
           At any time after a temporary order is issued, the paying 
        party may also petition for a formal hearing before a 
        compensation judge for a determination of liability among the 
        parties.  If the petition is filed within one year after a 
        temporary order was issued, the hearing shall be held within 45 
        days after the petition was filed.  Payments under a temporary 
        order shall continue pending the determination of the 
        compensation judge.  The compensation judge shall have 
        jurisdiction to resolve all issues properly raised, including 
        equitable apportionment.  The procedures and monetary thresholds 
        contained in section 176.191, subdivisions 1a and 5 shall not 
        apply to these proceedings.  This subdivision applies to all 
        dates of injury. 
           When liability has been determined, the party held liable 
        for the benefits shall be ordered to reimburse any other party 
        for payments which the latter has made, including interest at 
        the rate of 12 percent a year.  The claimant shall also be 
        awarded a reasonable attorney fee, to be paid by the party held 
        liable for the benefits. 
           An order directing payment of benefits pending a 
        determination of liability may not be used as evidence before a 
        compensation judge, the workers' compensation court of appeals, 
        or court in which the dispute is pending. 
           Sec. 5.  Minnesota Statutes 1996, section 176.191, 
        subdivision 5, is amended to read: 
           Subd. 5.  [ARBITRATION.] Where a dispute exists between an 
        employer, insurer, the special compensation fund, or the 
        workers' compensation reinsurance association, regarding 
        apportionment of liability for benefits payable under this 
        chapter, and the requesting party has expended over $10,000 in 
        medical or 52 weeks worth of indemnity benefits and made the 
        request within one year thereafter, a party may require 
        submission of the dispute as to apportionment of liability among 
        employers and insurers to binding arbitration.  However, these 
        monetary thresholds shall not apply in any case where the 
        employers and insurers agree to submit the apportionment dispute 
        to arbitration.  The decision of the arbitrator shall be 
        conclusive on the issue of apportionment among employers and 
        insurers.  Consent of the employee is not required for 
        submission of a dispute to arbitration pursuant to this section 
        and the employee is not bound by the results of the 
        arbitration.  An arbitration award shall not be admissible in 
        any other proceeding under this chapter.  Notice of the 
        proceeding shall be given to the employee.  
           The employee, or any person with material information to 
        the facts to be arbitrated, shall attend the arbitration 
        proceeding if any party to the proceeding deems it necessary. 
        Nothing said by an employee in connection with any arbitration 
        proceeding may be used against the employee in any other 
        proceeding under this chapter.  Reasonable expenses of meals, 
        lost wages, and travel of the employee or witnesses in attending 
        shall be reimbursed on a pro rata basis.  Arbitration costs 
        shall be paid by the parties, except the employee, on a pro rata 
        basis. 
           Sec. 6.  [EFFECTIVE DATE.] 
           Section 3 is effective the day following final enactment 
        and applies to injuries on or after that date.  Section 4 is 
        effective the day following final enactment. 
           Presented to the governor May 8, 1997 
           Signed by the governor May 9, 1997, 8:17 a.m.