Administrative Procedure: Failure to Exhaust Administrative Remedies

Bare v. Liberty Mutual Fire Ins. Co., 1998 MT 106 Supreme Court affirmed WCC conclusion that WCC lacked jurisdiction to determine claimant's disability status under the 1989 WCA where claimant had failed to exhaust the rehabilitation panel procedures under sections 39-71-1012 through 39-71-1033, MCA (1989). The WCC had determined that the Department of Labor had original jurisdiction to assess return-to-work options for claimant. If the DOL made a final decision, the WCC had appellate jurisdiction on challenge of that decision; it had original jurisdiction only when the DOL determined that none of the statutory return-to-work options were appropriate. In agreeing, the Supreme Court concluded that the statutory rehabilitation panel procedures were "dispute resolution require-ments" under section 39-71-2905, MCA (1989), meaning the WCC had jurisdiction over the dispute only after those requirements were satisfied.
Baker v. Transportation Ins. Co. [02/01/07] 2007 MTWCC 6 It would make little sense for this Court to require Petitioner to attempt to resolve a dispute concerning medical benefits when the entire claim was denied based on an ostensible running of the statute of limitations. It would have been futile for Petitioner to attempt any further piecemeal resolution of the claim after the claim was denied in its entirety based on a statute of limitations. Courts do not require exhaustion of administrative remedies when doing so would be futile. Mountain Water Co. v. Montana Dept. of Pub. Serv. Regulation, 2005 MT 84, 326 Mont. 416, 420, 110 P.3d 20, 22.
Bare v. Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Company [7/23/99] 1999 MTWCC 45 Insurer moved to dismiss petition for failure to exhaust administrative remedies before Rehabilitation Panel. Record indicated that DOL hearing officer had ruled that Rehabilitation Panel's finding was not supported by substantial evidence and remanded to the Rehabilitation Panel. Where claimant did not exhaust remedies before Rehabilitation Panel, petition dismissed.
Bare v. Liberty Mutual Fire Ins. Co. [5/27/97] 1997 MTWCC 32 Where claimant's petition shows that he seeks permanent total disability benefits under the 1989 WCA, but he has not exhausted the rehabilitation procedures under section 39-71-1012 through -1003, MCA (1989), his petition must be dismissed. (Note: Affirmed at Bare v. Liberty Mutual Fire Ins. Co., 1998 MT 106.)
Hart v. State Fund [8/26/96] 1996 MTWCC 58 In case alleging 1995 injury, claimant failed to exhaust contested case procedure before DOL where he filed appeal from DOL's denial of his request for an extension of time, but had not requested a hearing on that denial within the DOL.