Settlements: Generally

Murer v. State Compensation Ins. Fund, 283 Mont. 210, 942 P.2d 69 (1997) (No. 95-542) Settlement agreements entered into between claimants and insurer during pendency of litigation foreclosed rights to future benefits.

Griffin v. Liberty Northwest Ins. Corp. [04/29/13] 2013 MTWCC 11 Although Petitioner testified, unconvincingly, that he did not understand that he was settling his entitlement to medical benefits when he entered into the settlement agreement at issue, Petitioner admitted that he “took [Respondent’s] money” while represented by counsel.  Petitioner cannot agree to settle, accept consideration for closing his medical benefits, and then demand that Respondent continue to pay for additional medical benefits.  Respondent is not liable for medical treatment which occurred after the parties closed Petitioner’s entitlement to medical benefits via settlement agreement.

Narum v. Liberty Northwest Ins. Corp. [06/04/08] 2008 MTWCC 30 Where, after reviewing the medical evidence and doctors’ opinions, Respondent accepted liability for Petitioner’s left hip condition and settled the claim with medical benefits left open, Respondent cannot later refuse to pay for medical treatment of Petitioner’s left hip condition.
Murer v. Montana State Fund [10/03/06] 2006 MTWCC 32 Notwithstanding the requirement that the settlement agreements be approved by the Department of Labor and Industry before they were enforceable, neither party could have unilaterally repudiated the agreement prior to DLI’s approval or disapproval. Although DLI’s determination operated as a condition precedent to enforcement of the agreement, this condition did not serve to render the agreement invalid prior to DLI’s approval.
Householder v. Republic Indemnity Co. of CA [8/7/01] 2001 MTWCC 41A The Workers’ Compensation Court encourages settlements, through which the parties may be able to design more creative and better solutions to their controversies than the Court can fashion under the law. Settlements can be and often need to be creative. So long as they are fair and do not conflict with specific requirements of the workers’ compensation laws, they will typically be approved by the Court.
KMiller v. State Fund [9/20/00] 2000 MTWCC 63 Letter from insurer's counsel to Clerk of Workers' Compensation Court agreeing with statements in letter from claimant's counsel did not create binding agreement for dismissal of insurer's affirmative defense of fraud. Letter from claimant's counsel to Clerk had indicated case should settle if claimant was found not guilty of fraud in pending criminal case. When writing to the Clerk, insurer's counsel merely concurred with logic of earlier letter. Claimant, in any event, was not actually found "not guilty" when charges were dismissed.
Garcia v. Department of Labor & Industry ERD/UEF [10/23/97] 1997 MTWCC 59
Claimant and allegedly uninsured employer entered into a settlement agreement, which was disapproved by the Department of Labor on the ground the Uninsured Employers' Fund was not a party. While the propriety of that disapproval was on appeal to the Workers' Compensation Court, claimant purported to repudiate the settlement agreement and argued the appeal was moot. The WCC held claimant's attempt to repudiate the settlement agreement did not moot the appeal because the agreement became binding on claimant when executed, with the Department's approval merely an express contingency on performance. Because the Department's failure to approve the agreement was appealable to this Court, see Ingraham v. Champion Int'l, 243 Mont 42, 793 P.2d 769 (1990), the right to appeal existed at the time the agreement was executed and was part of the agreement. Until the appeal is resolved, claimant is bound by the agreement and cannot repudiate.
Garcia v. Department of Labor & Industry ERD/UEF [10/23/97] 1997 MTWCC 59 Because section 39-71-519, MCA (1995) expressly allows settlement among "any" of the parties enumerated in the statute, the Department of Labor could not disapprove a settlement between a claimant and an allegedly uninsured employer on the ground the Uninsured Employers' Fund was not a party to the agreement.
Tucker v. State Fund [9/5/97] 1997 MTWCC 49 The Department of Labor is not a necessary party to a proceeding asking the Court to approve a settlement agreement which the Department of Labor and Industry refused to approve. Such a proceeding is no different than any other matter in which the WCC reviews a decision of the DOL.