Blaskowski v. North Dakota Workmen's Compensation Bureau, No. 10992

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of North Dakota
Writing for the CourtERICKSTAD
Citation380 N.W.2d 333
Decision Date07 January 1986
Docket NumberNo. 10992
PartiesDiane BLASKOWSKI, Appellee, v. NORTH DAKOTA WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION BUREAU, Appellant. Civ.

Page 333

380 N.W.2d 333
Diane BLASKOWSKI, Appellee,
v.
NORTH DAKOTA WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION BUREAU, Appellant.
Civ. No. 10992.
Supreme Court of North Dakota.
Jan. 7, 1986.

Mackenzie, Jungroth, Mackenzie & Reisnour, Jamestown, for appellee; argued by James A. Reisnour.

Clare Hochhalter, Asst. Atty. Gen., North Dakota Workmen's Compensation Bureau, Bismarck, for appellant; argued by Mr. Hochhalter.

ERICKSTAD, Chief Justice.

The North Dakota Workmen's Compensation Bureau (Bureau) appeals from the judgment of the district court reversing the Bureau's order to suspend any and all future benefits to the claimant, Diane K. Blaskowski, until such time as the Bureau is subrogated to the extent of fifty percent of Blaskowski's $35,000 settlement with a third party. We reverse the judgment of the district court.

On September 29, 1977, Blaskowski, while working as a bookkeeper for Walt Sanders Chevrolet of Jamestown, North Dakota, was injured when a television monitor fell from its shelf and struck her on

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the head. As a result of her injuries, Blaskowski filed a workmen's compensation claim on October 7, 1977. The Bureau accepted Blaskowski's claim and paid benefits totaling $9,669.53.

Blaskowski, through attorney James Reisnour, sued the manufacturer of the television shelf. Reisnour was also granted authority to represent the Bureau in its subrogated interest. 1 In preparation of trial, Blaskowski requested that the Bureau submit a claim for its subrogation interest. The Bureau gave the following itemization of its subrogation interest:

A settlement agreement between Blaskowski and the manufacturer awarded Blaskowski $35,000. Following the settlement recovery, the Bureau asserted that it was entitled to be reimbursed $6,660.84, for benefits received by Blaskowski pursuant to Section 65-01-09, N.D.C.C. 2 The Bureau also informed Blaskowski that any future benefits would be suspended to the extent of $5,012.95. 3

Blaskowski reimbursed the Bureau to the extent of $6,660.84 for benefits received by her, but questioned the Bureau's authority to suspend future benefits pursuant to Section 65-01-09, N.D.C.C. The Bureau then passed a resolution stating that any and all future benefits to Blaskowski would be suspended "until such future benefits would be equal to or exceed the sum of $5,012.95."

The order of the Bureau was appealed by Blaskowski and reversed by the district court. The Bureau has now appealed from the judgment of the district court.

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The issue on appeal is whether or not Section 65-01-09, N.D.C.C., grants the Bureau authority to suspend a claimant's future benefits in this way. We hold that Section 65-01-09 does grant the Bureau such authority.

The Administrative Agencies Practice Act requires that we affirm the decision of the agency unless we find that one of the following is present:

"1. The decision or determination is not in accordance with the law.

2. The decision is in violation of the constitutional rights of the appellant.

3. Provisions of this chapter [28-32] have not been complied with in the proceedings before the agency.

4. The rules or procedure of the agency have not afforded the appellant a fair hearing.

5. The findings of fact made by the agency are not supported by a preponderance of the evidence.

6. The conclusions and decision of the agency are not supported by its findings of fact." Sec. 28-32-19, N.D.C.C.

North Dakota Real Estate Commission v. Boschee, 347 N.W.2d 331, 335 (N.D.1984); Asbridge v. North Dakota State Highway Commissioner, 291 N.W.2d 739, 743 (N.D.1980). The issue before our Court involves Subsection (1)--whether or not the decision of the Bureau was in accordance with Section 65-01-09, N.D.C.C.

In an appeal involving a decision of an administrative agency, we review the decision of the agency rather than the decision of the district court and, accordingly, we look to the record compiled by the agency. Schadler v. Job Service of North Dakota, 361 N.W.2d 254, 256 (N.D.1985); Application of Nebraska Public Power District, 330 N.W.2d 143, 147 (N.D.1983).

The pertinent part of Section 65-01-09 reads as follows:

"The fund shall be subrogated to the rights of the injured employee or his dependents to the extent of fifty percent of the damages recovered up to a maximum of the total amount it has paid or would otherwise pay in the future in compensation and benefits for the injured employee." [Emphasis added.]

Blaskowski argues that this part of Section 65-01-09 should be construed to prohibit the Bureau...

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9 practice notes
  • Haugenoe v. Workforce Safety and Ins., No. 20070099.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of North Dakota
    • April 22, 2008
    ..."to reimburse the fund, to the extent possible, at the expense of the persons at fault." Blaskowski v. N.D. Workmen's Comp. Bureau, 380 N.W.2d 333, 335 (N.D.1986). The legislature intended this provision to create an incentive for workers to pursue and litigate third-party claims. Lawson v.......
  • Kluck v. Kluck, No. 960100
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of North Dakota
    • March 20, 1997
    ...Jones v. Pringle & Herigstad, P.C., 546 N.W.2d 837, 840-841 (N.D.1996); Blaskowski v. North Dakota Workmen's Compensation Bureau, 380 N.W.2d 333, 335-336 (N.D. 1986) Page 270 . The trial court treated the suspension of future benefits to Roger as his "debt." ¶28 Where receipt of future bene......
  • Waith v. North Dakota Workmen's Compensation Bureau, No. 11426
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of North Dakota
    • June 24, 1987
    ...Bureau's right of subrogation except as specifically provided therein. E.g., Blaskowski v. North Dakota Workmen's Compensation Bureau, 380 N.W.2d 333, 335 (N.D.1986) [In 1965 the Legislature reduced the Bureau's right to subrogation of third-party recoveries from one hundred percent to fift......
  • State by Workmen's Compensation Bureau v. Clary, No. 11124
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of North Dakota
    • June 6, 1986
    ...review the Workmen's Compensation Bureau's subrogation rights as provided by 65-01-09. See, Blaskowski v. North Dakota Workmen's Comp., 380 N.W.2d 333 (N.D.1986). In Blaskowski the claimant argued that Section 65-01-09 should be construed to prohibit the Bureau from suspending future benefi......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
9 cases
  • Haugenoe v. Workforce Safety and Ins., No. 20070099.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of North Dakota
    • April 22, 2008
    ..."to reimburse the fund, to the extent possible, at the expense of the persons at fault." Blaskowski v. N.D. Workmen's Comp. Bureau, 380 N.W.2d 333, 335 (N.D.1986). The legislature intended this provision to create an incentive for workers to pursue and litigate third-party claims. Lawson v.......
  • Kluck v. Kluck, No. 960100
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of North Dakota
    • March 20, 1997
    ...Jones v. Pringle & Herigstad, P.C., 546 N.W.2d 837, 840-841 (N.D.1996); Blaskowski v. North Dakota Workmen's Compensation Bureau, 380 N.W.2d 333, 335-336 (N.D. 1986) Page 270 . The trial court treated the suspension of future benefits to Roger as his "debt." ¶28 Where receipt of future bene......
  • Waith v. North Dakota Workmen's Compensation Bureau, No. 11426
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of North Dakota
    • June 24, 1987
    ...Bureau's right of subrogation except as specifically provided therein. E.g., Blaskowski v. North Dakota Workmen's Compensation Bureau, 380 N.W.2d 333, 335 (N.D.1986) [In 1965 the Legislature reduced the Bureau's right to subrogation of third-party recoveries from one hundred percent to fift......
  • State by Workmen's Compensation Bureau v. Clary, No. 11124
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of North Dakota
    • June 6, 1986
    ...review the Workmen's Compensation Bureau's subrogation rights as provided by 65-01-09. See, Blaskowski v. North Dakota Workmen's Comp., 380 N.W.2d 333 (N.D.1986). In Blaskowski the claimant argued that Section 65-01-09 should be construed to prohibit the Bureau from suspending future benefi......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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