ORDER DENYING ALL OUTSTANDING MOTIONS
Court presently has under consideration a Motion For
Summary Judgment filed by petitioner and numerous
motions filed by the respondent. After reviewing each of the
motions, the Court has determined that they should all be
denied and that this case should be scheduled for trial.
petitioner, Industrial Indemnity Insurance Company
(Industrial), is the insurer for respondent's former
employer, Valley View Estates (Valley View). On August 25,
1986, the respondent, Roberta C. Ryan, suffered a
work-related injury while working for Valley View. Industrial
alleges that on April 3, 1987, respondent suffered a second,
permanently disabling work-related injury. At that time,
Valley View was insured by a different company, which
ultimately settled with respondent. Industrial's petition
seeks a determination that it is not responsible for any
further medical or disability benefits. It alleges that
respondent's disability and current medical condition are
attributable to the second injury. Respondent, however, at
various places denies any second injury and has demanded
benefits from Industrial. She is now seeking an emergency
lump sum advance.
case already has a long and convoluted procedural history.
Respondent is appearing without an attorney. Her husband
initially attempted to represent her but was properly barred
from doing so by Court Order on August 6, 1993. On September
7, 1993, the undersigned replaced the Honorable Timothy W.
Reardon as Judge of the Workers' Compensation Court. On
November 3, 1993, it entered an Order disposing of various
pro sé requests filed by respondent. At the same time,
it issued an Order to Show Cause Why The Petition
Should Not Be Dismissed. The Order took note of
respondent's initial objection to Industrial's
commencement of this proceeding, and requested the parties to
address the appropriateness of the insurer initiating
litigation requesting a factual determination that it is not
liable for disability or medical benefits. Meanwhile,
Industrial had filed a motion for summary judgment asking the
Court to summarily absolve it of further liability to
response to the Order To Show Cause created
uncertainty as to whether she still desired dismissal of this
case, especially in light of her own requests for affirmative
relief. Because of that uncertainty, on December 7, 1993, the
Court issued an Order Directing Respondent To Clarify
Position. Respondent's response, which was
received on December 13, 1993, indicated her desire to pursue
affirmative relief against Industrial, including a request
for an emergency lump sum advance. She agreed that her
requests for relief could be treated as a counter-petition.
In light of the respondent's desire to go forward, on
December 14, 1993, the Court then entered an Order
Regarding Submission of Pending Motions. The Order
directed the completion of briefing of the outstanding
motions by December 29, 1993. The Court received an
additional memorandum from respondent today, January 6, 1994.
The motions are now ready for decision.
Request For Emergency Lump Sum Advance
December 3, 1993, the respondent filed a request for an
"emergency lump sum advance" and Holton
award in excess of $18, 000. She further requested that an
emergency telephone hearing be held to consider her request.
Holton award is based on an impairment rating.
See Holton v. F.H. Stoltze Land & Lumber Co.,
195 Mont. 263, 637 P.2d 10 (1981). There is no indication in
the materials provided the Court that any impairment rating
has been rendered with respect to the August 25, 1986 injury,
and Dr. Ellis' letter of March 18, 1987, states
"there will be no impairment rating of any significant
disability from this condition." Presently there is no
basis for directing Industrial to pay an impairment award.
sum is not available to respondent unless she prevails on the
merits and establishes that she is due further disability
benefits. The amount of any lump sum would also depend on the
extent of liability for such benefits. Therefore,
Industrial's liability, if any, must be determined first.
The issues in this case are not susceptible to a telephone
hearing. Moreover, it is doubtful that a trial on the merits
could be held on an expedited basis. Respondent has not yet
focused on the relevant issues in this case. The Court file
is already thick with irrelevant argument and materials, as
well as unfounded allegations. Sorting through
respondent's myriad of allegations is difficult enough.
To do so on an emergency basis would compound the Court's
task. Respondent's request for an emergency hearing and
for an emergency lump sum advance must therefore be denied.
Respondent's Request For Sanctions And Attorney
response brief filed December 3, 1993, the respondent
requests the Court to order sanctions and attorney fees
against Industrial. The Court fails to find any substantial
basis for such an award. Respondent has attempted to inject
issues and facts which are not relevant to the issues
properly before this Court. It is clear that she does not
understand the legal process. This Court has previously urged
her to retain an attorney to represent her, and it does so
once more. Respondent's request for sanctions and
attorney fees is denied.
Summary Judgment Motion
motion for summary judgment is based on a subsequent injury.
While respondent denies the second injury, documents
furnished to the Court show that she filed a claim for an
injury occurring on April 3, 1987, and she settled that claim
for the sum of $54, 430.60. Respondent's affidavit
supporting the settlement states: "It has ...