Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Kuzara v. State Compensation Insurance Fund

Court of Workers Compensation of Montana

November 25, 1997

ELIZABETH M. KUZARA Petitioner
v.
STATE COMPENSATION INSURANCE FUND Respondent/Insurer for SPRING CREEK COAL COMPANY Employer.

          FINDINGS OF FACT, CONCLUSIONS OF LAW AND JUDGMENT

          Russell C. Fagg District Court Judge

         Trial in this matter was held on November 14, 1995, before the Honorable Mike McCarter, and November 12, and 13, 1997, before the undersigned. Petitioner appeared and represented herself pro sé. Respondent, State Fund, was represented by Mr. Charles G. Adams. Based upon the testimony and exhibits, as well as the Montana Supreme Court Order in this case, the Court enters the following:

         FINDINGS OF FACT

         1. The Workers' Compensation Court granted a directed verdict in favor of the State Fund on November 14, 1995. The Montana Supreme Court reversed and remanded with instructions this court was to follow in the continuation of this hearing:

         2. The Montana Supreme Court specifically held as follows:

We conclude that during her case-in-chief, Kuzara supplied sufficient evidence of notice of her work-related injury to her employer when she informed Izzard on August 8, 1993, that he should contact Bebee for more information. However, respondents should have the opportunity to present evidence to rebut Kuzara's claim that she gave Spring Creek sufficient notice of her injury.

Kuzara v. State Compensation Insurance Fund, Slip Op. No. 96-16 at 11.

         3. The Montana Supreme Court also considered the principals of equitable estoppel and held that:

Based on the record before this Court and unless rebutted by substantial credible evidence, Spring Creek's representation and concealment of material facts lead Kuzara reasonably to believe that she did not have to file a claim with the State Fund. Equitable estoppel would therefore be proper to prevent Spring Creek and the State Fund from claiming that Kuzara supplied improper notice under Section 39-71-603, MCA (1993). Spring Creek encouraged Kuzara to file a non-work related injury claim with Aetna and also told Kuzara that it would "take care of everything." We hold that unless rebutted by Spring Creek and the state Fund they are estopped from claiming that Kuzara provided insufficient evidence of her work-related injury under Section 39-71-603, MCA, (1993).

Kuzara v. State Compensation Insurance Fund, Slip Op. No. 96-16 at 14.

         4. In light of the Montana Supreme Court holding, and based upon the evidence presented during the hearing on November 12 and 13, 1997, this Court finds that Kuzara gave sufficient notice of her injury within thirty (30) days as required under section 39-71-603, MCA.

         5. Kuzara suffered a work-related back injury on July 18, 1993, while employed at Spring Creek Coal Company as a dragline groundsman.

         6. On the evening Kuzara injured her back, Kuzara mentioned to Ed Bebee, her other crew member, that she had hurt her back, but did not go into any detail.

         7. Within a couple of days after the injury, Kuzara told Ed Bebee the circumstances of her back injury, how she had ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.