Jurisdiction: Workers' Compensation Court: Mediation Requirement

Hall v. New Hampshire Ins. Co. [07/12/16] 2016 MTWCC 10 Since Preston v. Transportation Ins. Co., this Court has strictly construed the mediation requirement of § 39-71-2408, MCA, and dismissed petitions filed prior to the completion of the mediation process, including this case in which the claimant filed his petition prior to the issuance of the mediator’s Report and Recommendation.

Young v. New Hampshire Ins. Co. [06/18/15] 2015 MTWCC 14 Parties must complete the mandatory mediation process before a party may petition this Court to resolve a dispute. It would defeat the purpose of the mediation statutes to allow parties to circumvent the mediation process by simply stating they have no possibility of settling the dispute.

Baker v. Transportation Ins. Co. [02/01/07] 2007 MTWCC 6 Before 1987, no mandatory mediation provision existed under either the Workers’ Compensation Act or the Occupational Disease Act. Therefore, Petitioner was not required to attempt to mediate any dispute prior to petitioning the Court.

Fleming v. International Paper [07/08/05] 2005 MTWCC 34 While mediation is required before a claimant may petition the Workers’ Compensation Court for benefits, where a claimant has requested mediation and mediation is derailed through no fault of the claimant, the Court has jurisdiction to entertain a petition for benefits and order the Department of Labor and Industry to complete mediation so that the claimant may proceed with his petition.