MN Workers Comp

Minnesota case law summary by Attorney Richard Clem: MN Workers Comp.

James W. Stevens v. S.T. Services and CNA Insurance Companies. MN workers comp

James Stevens injured both shoulders on the job between 1984 and 1985. He filed a workers compensation claim, and in 1994, the parties stipulated that he was permanently and totally disabled, and he started receiving benefits. In 2006 or 2007, he moved to Alaska and got a plumber's license. He never looked for work, but often helped friends with jobs and accompanied them to Home Depot. Eventually, Home Depot offered him a job. He explained that he could not use his arms or do any lifting, but he was nonetheless given a job helping customers. He met anually with an investigator from the workers comp insurer, and disclosed his employment. He eventaully moved back to Minnesota.

In 2011, the insurer filed a petition to discontinue payment of permanent total disability benefits. The case was eventually heard by the Minnesota Supreme Court which held:

1. Under Minn. Stat. 176.238, an employer may not petition to discontinue an employee's workers' compensation benefits if the employee has been adjudicated permanently totally disabled.

2. Because the employee was adjudicated permanently totally disabled, respondents were not allowed to petition under Minn. Stat. 176.238 to discontinue the employee's workers' compensation benefits.

No. A13-1868 (Minn. July 30, 2014).

Please see the original opinion for the court's exact language.


Richard P. Clem is an attorney and continuing legal education (CLE) provider in Minnesota. He has been in private practice in the Twin Cities for 25 years. He has a J.D., cum laude, from Hamline University School of Law in St. Paul and a B.A. in History from the University of Minnesota. His reported cases include: Asociacion Nacional de Pescadores a Pequena Escala o Artesanales de Colombia v. Dow Quimica de Colombia, 988 F.2d 559, rehearing denied, 5 F.3d 530 (5th Cir. 1993), cert. denied, 510 U.S. 1041 (1994); LaMott v. Apple Valley Health Care Center, 465 N.W.2d 585 (Minn. Ct. App. 1991); Abo el Ela v. State, 468 N.W.2d 580 (Minn. Ct. App. 1991).

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