Employers: Insurance

MONTANA SUPREME COURT DECISIONS
Total Mechanical Heating & Air Condition, et al. v. ERD/UEF, 2002 MT 55 After UEF satisfied it's burden of proving absence of record of workers' compensation insurance coverage by either employee "leasing company" or "client companies," the employee "leasing" company and "client companies" failed to present "substantial credible evidence" that coverage in fact existed. WCC was correct in concluding that the evidence which persuaded DLI hearing officer that coverage existed did not constitute substantial credible evidence of actual insurance and in affirming the penalties originally assessed by the UEF.
Total Mechanical Heating & Air Condition, et al. v. ERD/UEF, 2002 MT 55 Under section 39-71-401, MCA, it is the responsibility of the statutory employer, and no one else, to provide workers' compensation insurance. Section 39-71-117(1)(a)-(c), MCA (1993), defining "employer," includes every reasonably imaginable private, public and voluntary entity that we typically consider an employer, whereas section 39-71-117(3)(a) and (b), MCA (1993), creates exceptions to the employer definition.
Dahl v. UEF, 1999 MT 168 Where section 39-71-401(1), MCA (1993), requires an employer to elect to be bound by the provisions of compensation plan No. 1, 2, or 3, an employer may not rely upon a workers' compensation policy purchased by a company furnishing employees and providing bookkeeping services such as issuing of payroll checks and paying employment taxes. If the workers in question are in fact employees, and not temporary workers substituting for permanent employees on leave or hired to meet an emergency or short term workload (see 39-71-116(29), MCA (1993), then the employer is uninsured under section 39-71-501, MCA (1993) if it does not itself carry workers' compensation insurance.
 
WORKERS' COMPENSATION COURT DECISIONS
MP Livestock Trust/Perry Polzing Trucking [02/04/05] 2005 MTWCC 6 A Montana business which uses employees furnished by a professional employer organization (PEO) under a “professional employer arrangement,” § 39-8-102(8), MCA (1999-2001), is an “employer” for workers’ compensation purposes even though the PEO is primarily responsible for furnishing workers’ compensation insurance coverage. §§ 39-8-207(4)(c) and 39-71-117(3), MCA (1999-2001). However, a Montana business which uses employees furnished by a PEO under an “employee leasing arrangement,” § 39-8-102(5), MCA (1999-2001), is not an employer for workers’ compensation purposes. §§ 39-8-207(3) and 39-71-117(3), MCA (1999-2001).
Conoco, Inc. v. Williams Insulation Co. [03/05/03] 2003 MTWCC 15 At the time of the claimant's injury on February 23, 2000, section 39-71-402(5), MCA, required any contractor engaged in insulating pipes to provide Montana workers' compensation insurance for its employees working in Montana.

ERD/UEF v. Total Mechanical Heating [11/17/00] 2000 MTWCC 71 Lack of contemporaneous insurance coverage not cured by retroactive policy secured at a later date. Employer in such case is uninsured and liable for a penalty.

Dahl v. Uninsured Employers' Fund [5/2/00] 2000 MTWCC 25 On remand from the Supreme Court, which held that companies receiving workers from temporary employment agencies must maintain their own WC coverage and cannot rely on their temporary agency to provide coverage, the WCC held that section 39-71-116(29), MCA (1993), which defines "temporary worker," was not unconstitutionally vague. On its face, the statute distinguishes between temporary and permanent employees and limits the use of temporary employees to emergency situations or to fill in for permanent employees on leave. This definition is comprehensible as applied to employees at issue.
Dahl, d/b/a Big Sky Concrete v. UEF [5/12/98] 1998 MTWCC 39 Statutory requirements are satisfied where a workers' compensation policy covered the workers, even though the policy was purchased by an employment agency and not the entity for whom the workers were performing work. [Note: WCC reversed on this issue in Dahl v. Uninsured Employers' Fund, 1999 MT 168.]
Z Works, Inc. v. Barnaby and UEF [3/3/98] 1998 MTWCC 19 Summary judgment granted to UEF establishing liability of uninsured employer where undisputed affidavit proves painter/bookkeeper had not been granted an independent contractor exemption under section 39-71-120, MCA (1995). While the requirement of an exemption may be a trap for employers unschooled in the technicalities of the 1995 legislation, which added the exemption requirement, the Court must apply the law as written. Even assuming claimant told the employer not to purchase workers' compensation insurance, the advice of a bookkeeper or accountant, or even an attorney, cannot relieve the employer from its statutory obligation.