39-71-411, MCA

MONTANA SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

George v. Bowler, 2015 MT 209, 380 Mont. 155, 354 P.3d 585 Montana has rejected the “dual capacity” doctrine, which allows suit against an employer for negligence committed in a capacity separate from its capacity as employer, since it would “go a long way toward destroying the exclusive remedy principle.”

George v. Bowler, 2015 MT 209, 380 Mont. 155, 354 P.3d 585 Warehouse owners who rented warehouse to their employer were acting in the course and scope of their employment while supervising and controlling the work of claimant – who also worked for and was being paid by the same employer as the warehouse owners.  Since the claimant claimed and received workers’ compensation benefits from his employer, the warehouse owners were immune from claimant’s suit for injuries.  Even though owners were also general contractors on warehouse construction and were separate legal entities from employer, one of the owners was the employer’s warehouse manager and was acting on behalf of employer when supervising claimant, the project on which claimant was working was for benefit of employer, and claimant was working for employer at the time of his accident. 

George v. Bowler, 2015 MT 209, 380 Mont. 155, 354 P.3d 585 The exclusivity provision in the Workers’ Compensation Act is an affirmative defense.

Stokes v. Golden Triangle, Inc. [07/14/15] 2015 MT 199 The Montana Supreme Court rejected an injured worker’s argument that his employer had failed to comply with § 39-71-433, MCA, and was therefore an uninsured employer.  Although participation in an employer group is optional, compliance with the statute by some groups is not. However, even if the employer failed to comply with § 39-71-433, MCA, the facts establish that it complied with § 39-71-401, MCA, electing to be bound by a compensation plan under the WCA.  This compliance is all that § 39-71-501, MCA, requires for an employer to be insured and thereby receive tort immunity under § 39-71-411, MCA.

Stokes v. Golden Triangle, Inc. [07/14/15] 2015 MT 199 Section 39-71-411, MCA, grants insured employers tort immunity from negligence actions brought by their employees provided that the insurer employer is not subject to any liability under the WCA.  This statute implements Art. II, § 16, Mont. Const.

Harris v. State, Dep't of Corrections [01/29/13] 2013 MT 16 The employer’s knowledge that the possibility of serious injury existed from voluntarily tasering the claimant as part of his SWAT training was insufficient to show an intentional and deliberate act by his employer.  A chance of injury is not the same as a deliberate act to injure under § 39-71-413, MCA, and a risk of injury does not establish actual knowledge of certain injury as required by the statute.  Claimant’s suit is therefore barred by the exclusive remedy provision of the WCA, § 39-71-411, MCA.

Walters v. Flathead Concrete Products, Inc. [03/16/11] 2011 MT 45 The quid pro quo upon which the exclusive remedy of the WCA is premised applies whenever an injury is covered and compensable under the WCA, regardless of whether the quid pro quo is fair and balanced.

[1995] Okuly v. USF&G Insurance Company, 2003 MT 291 Following Hubbel v. Western Fire Ins. Co., 218 Mont. 21, 706 P.1d 111 (1985), and relying on section 39-71-411, MCA, the Montana Supreme Court held that the Workers’ Compensation Act provided the exclusive remedy for the heirs and personal representatives of decedent, who was killed in an automobile accident in a car driven by a co-employee in the course and scope of employment. Recovery was not permitted under the uninsured motorist provision of the employer’s general liability policy.

 
WORKERS' COMPENSATION COURT DECISIONS