Springborg v. Wilson & Co., 36564

CourtSupreme Court of Minnesota (US)
Citation73 N.W.2d 433,245 Minn. 489
Docket NumberNo. 36564,36564
PartiesElmer SPRINGBORG, Relator, v. WILSON AND COMPANY, Respondent.
Decision Date18 November 1955

Syllabus by the Court

M.S.A. § 176.225 provides for a penalty, in the form of an award of up to 25 percent of the compensation award, upon an employer or insurer who abuses certain obligations under the Workmen's Compensation Act.

Under § 15.042 administrative bodies may promulgate rules for the purpose of carrying out the duties and powers imposed upon them. These rules, when filed with the Secretary of State, have the force and effect of law and bind the agency which adopts them.

Pursuant to § 15.042 the Industrial Commission promulgated certain 'Rules of Practice Before Industrial Commission' of which Rule 35(i) provides that, in the consideration of penalty controversies, a hearing and determination before a referee shall be held if the employer or insurer enters objections to the employee's petition for penalty and if a demand is made for a formal hearing.

Held: Where requirements of commission's own rules are substantially complied with by employee he is entitled to a hearing and determination before a referee on his petition for imposition of penalty.

Hall, Smith & Hedlund, Minneapolis, for relator.

J. Frank Boyles, Minneapolis, for respondent.

FRANK T. GALLAGHER, Justice.

Certiorari to review a decision of the Industrial Commission denying petition of employee asking for the imposition of penalty upon employer, and for other relief, based upon employer's alleged abuse of obligations under the Workmen's Compensation Act, M.S.A. § 176.01, et seq.

On December 31, 1952, employee was injured while in the course of his employment at employer's Albert Lea plant. The injury occurred about 10:45 a.m. when a trolley ran off the end of an overhead rail and struck him on the head. Employee claims in his affidavit that when he regained consciousness after the accident there was considerable delay before initial treatment was given and that he did not reach a doctor's office until that afternoon. Employer submits counter affidavits to the effect that employee was sent to the doctor within 15 or 20 minutes after the accident.

Then followed a series of examinations and treatments by various doctors which have not yet been completed. As employer is a self-insurer and therefore paying for examinations, treatments, and X-rays of its employees in compensation cases, it requires that the doctor involved obtain prior approval from its agent before any examination, treatment, or X-ray is undertaken.

At one point during this period of treatment employer discontinued compensation payments to employee but immediately resumed payments when informed by the commission that its reason for discontinuance was inadequate. Later in May of 1954 employer again discontinued payments on the basis of a medical report received from a doctor examining employee at that time. This report and a letter from the doctor treating employee recommended that he return to some form of work. Payments were resumed in August 1954, after employer received a report from a doctor at the Mayo Clinic on employee's condition at that time. During the period since the injury employee worked a few days during June 1954 but was unable to continue because of pain, swelling of his arm, and general illness. He is at present under care of the Mayo Clinic.

Because of alleged delay in obtaining initial first aid treatment of the injury; alleged delays in later medical treatment caused by the necessity of obtaining approval from employer before a doctor could begin examination or treatment; the discontinuance of compensation payments during certain periods; and other alleged abuses, employee petitioned the commission asking for the imposition of a penalty upon employer under the terms of M.S.A. § 176.225. That statute provides for an award of up to 25 percent of the compensation award as a form of penalty on the employer or insurer who has '(a) instituted a proceeding or interposed a defense which does not present a real controversy but which is frivolous or for the purpose of delay; or, (b) unreasonably or vexatiously delayed payment; or, (c) neglected or refused to pay compensation; or (d) intentionally underpaid compensation.' Employee claims that employer has violated § 176.225, subd. 1(a, b, and c).

The petition was accompanied by a letter to the commission from the employee's attorney stating that it was the understanding of the writer that the normal procedure in such a situation was to have a hearing before the commission. The writer went on to say that as he viewed the situation, particularly because the employer had referred the employee to a number of doctors and because it would be necessary to take testimony of witnesses in Albert Lea...

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6 cases
  • Valley State Bank of Canton v. Farmers State Bank, 11238-11244.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of South Dakota
    • 20 Diciembre 1973
    ...78 S.Ct. 446, 2 L.Ed.2d 470; Paul v. United States, 1963, 371 U.S. 245, 255, 83 S.Ct. 426, 9 L. Ed.2d 292; Springborg v. Wilson and Company, 1955, 245 Minn. 489, 73 N.W.2d 433; Verbeten v. Huettl, 1948, 253 Wis. 510, 34 N.W.2d 803; Davis, Administrative Law Text, 126, 127 (3rd Ed. The Banki......
  • Springborg v. Wilson & Co., 37608
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Minnesota (US)
    • 26 Marzo 1959
    ...if substantiated by the evidence, would have justified the imposition of a penalty. In our original decision, Springborg v. Wilson & Co., 245 Minn. 489, 491, 73 N.W.2d 433, 434, we noted the charges made by employee as 'Because of alleged delay in obtaining initial first aid treatment of th......
  • Valley State Bank of Canton v. Farmers State Bank of Canton, s. 11238--11244
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of South Dakota
    • 20 Diciembre 1973
    ...534, 78 S.Ct. 446, 2 L.Ed.2d 470; Paul v. United States, 1963, 371 U.S. 245, 255, 83 S.Ct. 426, 9 L.Ed.2d 292; Springborg v. Wilson and Company, 1955, 245 Minn. 489, 73 N.W.2d 433; Verbeten v. Huettl, 1948, 253 Wis. 510, 34 N.W.2d 803; Davis, Administrative Law Text, 126, 127 (3rd Ed. The B......
  • Lawful Gambling License of Eagles Aerie 2341, Detroit Lakes, Minn. License No. 00548 v. State Lawful Gambling Control Bd.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Minnesota
    • 3 Julio 1995
    ...without using rulemaking process). It certainly did not have the discretion to disregard its own rule. Springborg v. Wilson & Co., 245 Minn. 489, 493, 73 N.W.2d 433, 435 (1956). Applying the clear and unambiguous definition of "emergency" set out in the rule, therefore, relator must establi......
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