Zacher v. Homestake Min. Co. of California, 17988

CourtSupreme Court of South Dakota
Citation514 N.W.2d 394
PartiesJack ZACHER, Claimant/Appellant, v. HOMESTAKE MINING COMPANY OF CALIFORNIA, A California Corporation, Employer/Insurer and Appellee, . Considered on Briefs on
Docket NumberNo. 17988,17988
Decision Date03 September 1993

Page 394

514 N.W.2d 394
Jack ZACHER, Claimant/Appellant,
Corporation, Employer/Insurer and Appellee,
No. 17988.
Supreme Court of South Dakota.
Considered on Briefs on Sept. 3, 1993.
Decided March 30, 1994.

Dennis W. Finch and Marya Vrooman Rogers of Finch Bettmann Maks, PC, Rapid City, for claimant and appellant.

A.P. Fuller of Fuller & Tellinghuisen, Lead, for employer/insurer and appellee.


Jack Zacher appeals a circuit court order which affirmed a Department of Labor order denying Zacher's request for workers' compensation benefits. We affirm the circuit court.


Zacher worked for Homestake from 1971 until 1974 and again from 1980 until 1990. On September 16, 1986, Zacher felt back pain while working in the mine. Pursuant to company policy, Zacher filed an injury report at the end of his shift. Zacher took Tylenol for the back pain and returned to work the next day.

Six months later, on March 6, 1987, Zacher again felt a sharp pain in his back while working in the mine. Zacher completed the day (a Friday), told his supervisor about the injury, but did not complete an injury report. Zacher felt pain all weekend but returned to work Monday. Zacher was unable to return to work Tuesday.

On March 10, 1987, Zacher went to see Dr. Ruth O'Dell, a general practitioner, concerning his back pain. He told her he had injured his back at work several days earlier and Dr. O'Dell ordered x-rays and a CAT scan. Dr. O'Dell diagnosed Zacher's problem as a back muscle spasm, prescribed a muscle relaxant, and told him to rest his back and apply heat.

Zacher's back pain continued but he was able to return to light duty work on July 16, 1987. Dr. O'Dell brought in Dr. Wayne Anderson, a general practitioner with advanced training in occupational medicine, to consult concerning Zacher's back problems. During all of this time, Zacher was also suffering from an unrelated case of severe

Page 395

colitis. In January 1989, Zacher had surgery to remove his colon.

Zacher's back pain increased again in April 1988. Dr. O'Dell then referred Zacher to Dr. James Pucilek, an orthopedic surgeon. Dr. Pucilek reviewed Zacher's medical records and found a mild bulging disc.

Zacher requested worker's compensation benefits in September of 1988. Zacher and Homestake agreed to submit the case to the Department of Labor based on a stipulated record including transcripts of the deposition testimony of Drs. O'Dell, Anderson and Pucilek. The Department of Labor denied Zacher's request for benefits after finding that he had proven that he injured his back at work, but had failed to show that his injury arose out of his employment. Zacher appealed the Department's decision to the circuit court. Circuit Judge Timothy Johns affirmed the decision of the Department of Labor. Zacher appeals to this Court.


The parties' briefs incorrectly identify the "clearly erroneous standard" as the standard of review in this case. The Department of Labor considered this case on a stipulated record consisting of deposition transcripts and pleadings. No "live" witnesses were presented to the Department of Labor. The Circuit Court made its decision based on the same record. This Court can review that evidence in the same manner as did the Department of Labor and the...

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  • First Nat. Bank of Biwabik Minnesota v. Bank of Lemmon, s. 18816
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of South Dakota
    • February 14, 1995
    ...v. Graham Tire Co., 520 N.W.2d 876 (S.D.1994); Foltz v. Warner Transp., 516 N.W.2d 338 (S.D.1994); Zacher v. Homestake Mining Co., 514 N.W.2d 394 (S.D.1994); Guthmiller v. South Dakota Dept. of Transp., 502 N.W.2d 586, 588 (S.D.1993); Day v. John Morrell and Co., 490 N.W.2d 720 (S.D.1992); ......
  • City of Aberdeen v. Rich, No. 22321
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of South Dakota
    • March 5, 2003 the trial court. Muhlenkort v. Union County Land Trust, 530 N.W.2d 658, 660 (S.D.1995); Zacher v. Homestake Min. Co. of Cal., 514 N.W.2d 394, 395 (S.D.1994); State v. Abourezk, 359 N.W.2d 137, 142 (S.D.1984); State Automobile Casualty Under. v. Ruotsalainen, 81 S.D. 472, 479, 136 N.W.2d ......
  • Westergren v. Baptist Hosp. of Winner, s. 19341
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of South Dakota
    • June 5, 1996
    ...expresses a factor of contribution. In other words, did the work contribute to causing the injury?" Zacher v. Homestake Min. Co. of Cal., 514 N.W.2d 394, 395 (S.D.1994)(citing Krier v. Dick's Linoleum Shop, 78 S.D. 116, 119, 98 N.W.2d 486, 487 (1959)). See also Guthmiller v. SD Dep't of Tra......
  • Grauel v. South Dakota School of Mines, 21251.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of South Dakota
    • November 21, 2000
    ...SD 36, ¶ 27, 607 N.W.2d at 605. It is sufficient if the employment contributes "to causing the injury," Zacher v. Homestake Mining Co., 514 N.W.2d 394, 395 (S.D.1994), or the activity is one in which the employee might reasonably be expected to engage, Rohlck v. J & L Rainbow, Inc., 1996 SD......
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