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Murphy v. Montana State Fund

Court of Workers Compensation of Montana

March 9, 2010

GLEN MURPHY Petitioner
v.
MONTANA STATE FUND Respondent/Insurer.

          Submitted: February 26, 2010

          DECISION AND JUDGEMENT

          JAMES JEREMIAH SHEA, JUDGE

         Summary: Petitioner sought a lump-sum conversion of his permanent total disability benefits.

         Held: In a bench ruling, the Court concluded that Petitioner is entitled to a lump-sum conversion of his permanent total disability benefits.

         Topics:

Constitutions, Statutes, Regulations, and Rules: Montana Code Annotated: 39-71-741. The Court granted a lump sum conversion of PTD benefits to a claimant who planned to use the funds to purchase a feedlot. The Court found that the claimant came to trial fully prepared, having identified a specific business to purchase, sought financial backing, and formulated a reasonable business plan. The Court further found that the claimant had the expertise and ability to run the business he sought to purchase, that the claimant had provided sufficient information to satisfy the requirements of ARM 24.29.1202, and that the lump sum conversion would be in the claimant's best interests.
Constitutions, Statutes, Regulations, and Rules: Administrative Rules of Montana: 24.29.1202. The Court granted a lump sum conversion of PTD benefits to a claimant who planned to use the funds to purchase a feedlot. The Court found that the claimant came to trial fully prepared, having identified a specific business to purchase, sought financial backing, and formulated a reasonable business plan. The Court further found that the claimant had the expertise and ability to run the business he sought to purchase, that the claimant had provided sufficient information to satisfy the requirements of ARM 24.29.1202, and that the lump sum conversion would be in the claimant's best interests.
Benefits: Lump Sums: Best Interests. The Court granted a lump sum conversion of PTD benefits to a claimant who planned to use the funds to purchase a feedlot. The Court found that the claimant came to trial fully prepared, having identified a specific business to purchase, sought financial backing, and formulated a reasonable business plan. The Court further found that the claimant had the expertise and ability to run the business he sought to purchase, that the claimant had provided sufficient information to satisfy the requirements of ARM 24.29.1202, and that the lump sum conversion would be in the claimant's best interests.
Constitutions, Statutes, Regulations, and Rules: Montana Code Annotated: 39-71-741. The Court concluded a lump sum conversion of PTD benefits was in a claimant's best interests where the Court was persuaded that the claimant could successfully operate the business he wished to purchase and that the claimant would not only earn more annually than he currently received in bi-weekly benefits, but would also have a saleable asset upon retirement.
Benefits: Lump Sums: Best Interests. The Court concluded a lump sum conversion of PTD benefits was in a claimant's best interests where the Court was persuaded that the claimant could successfully operate the business he wished to purchase and that the claimant would not only earn more annually than he currently received in bi-weekly benefits, but would also have a saleable asset upon retirement.
Constitutions, Statutes, Regulations, and Rules: Montana Code Annotated: 39-71-105. Section 39-71-105(3), MCA, states that an objective of the workers' compensation system is to return a worker to work as soon as possible. Where the claimant requested a lump sum conversion of his PTD benefits and presented the Court with a feasible self-employment venture, the Court concluded that in addition to the financial soundness of the claimant's business plan, the claimant, his family, and his community would benefit by his return to work both through tangible financial return and through the intangible benefits that gainful employment would provide.
Vocational and Return to Work Matters: Public Policy. Section 39-71-105(3), MCA, states that an objective of the workers' compensation system is to return a worker to work as soon as possible. Where the claimant requested a lump sum conversion of his PTD benefits and presented the Court with a feasible self-employment venture, the Court concluded that in addition to the financial soundness of the claimant's business plan, the claimant, his family, and his community would benefit by his return to work both through tangible financial return and through the intangible benefits that gainful employment would provide.

         ¶1 The trial in this matter was held on February 26, 2010, in the Workers' Compensation Court, Helena, Montana. Petitioner Glen Murphy was present and represented himself. Respondent Montana State Fund was represented by Greg E. Overturf.

         ¶2 Exhibits: Exhibits 1 through 59 were ...


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