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Moreau v. Transportation Insur. Co.

Moreau v. Transportation Insur. Co., 2018 MT 1 (Jan. 2, 2018) (McGrath, C.J.) (5-0, aff’d)

Issue: Whether the Workers’ Compensation Court erred in granting summary judgment to Transportation Insurance Company.

Short Answer: No.


Facts: Moreau’s husband, Edwin, worked for W.R. Grace in Libby from 1963-1992. In 2009, Edwin died from asbestos-related lung cancer.

In 2000, Grace established the Libby Medical Plan to pay medical expenses for employees injured by asbestos. The Plan paid about $95,000 of Edwin’s medical expenses. In September 2012, as part of Grace’s bankruptcy, certain rights and duties of the Plan were transferred to the Libby Medical Plan Trust. Grace remained responsible for the Plan’s ongoing obligations incurred before that time.

In 2010, Moreau, as PR of Edwin’s estate, filed a work comp claim for occupational disease benefits.…

Talbot v. WMK-Davis, LLC

Talbot v. WMK-Davis, LLC, 2016 MT 247 (Oct. 4, 2016) (Cotter, J.; McKinnon, J., dissenting) (6-1, aff’d)

Issue: (1) Whether the district court erred in determining that Montana courts will not conduct a choice of law analysis when determining the validity of a workers’ compensation subrogation lien under Oberson v. Federated Mutual Insur. Co.; and (2) whether the district court erred in grating summary judgment to Talbot.

Short Answer: (1) No; and (2) no.


Newlon v. Teck American, Inc.

Newlon v. Teck American, Inc., 2015 MT 317 (Nov. 10, 2015) (Wheat, J.) (5-0, aff’d)

Issue: (1) Whether Teck and Newlon formed an enforceable contract; and (2) if so, whether Teck can assert the 60-month rule under § 39-71-704(1)(d) to avoid having to pay Newlon’s benefits.

Short Answer: (1) Yes; and (2) no.


Facts: Newlon worked for Teck as a miner from 1972 until the mine closed in 1993. Newlon was injured in several incidents over the years, including at least three separate injuries involving his left knee. Newlon had surgery on the knee in 1993 and 1996, but his symptoms and problems persisted.

Teck’s assistant manager, Moore, approached Newlon in 1996 about settling all of Newlon’s work comp claims.…

Moreau v. Transportation Insurance Co.

Moreau v. Transportation Insurance Co., 2015 MT 5 (Jan. 6, 2015) (McGrath, C.J.) (5-0, rev’d)

Issue: Whether a workers’ compensation claimant’s estate had standing to seek reimbursement of his medical expenses from the insurance carrier.

Short Answer: Yes.

Reversed and remanded

Facts: Edwin Moreau worked at the W.R. Grace mine from 1963-1992. He died of asbestos-related lung cancer in 2009. In 2010, his wife Cristita, the PR of the estate, filed for occupational disease benefits with Grace’s work comp carrier, Transportation Insurance. After initially denying the claim, Transportation accepted liability for Edwin’s medical expenses. Moreau and Transportation entered a settlement agreement under which Transportation reimbursed Medicaid, other providers, and Moreau for medical expenses paid on Edwin’s behalf.

The Libby Medical Plan, established and funded by W.R.…

Malcolmson v. Liberty Northwest

Malcolmson v. Liberty Northwest, 2014 MT 242 (Sept. 10, 2014) (7-0) Cotter, J.

Issue: Whether MCA § 39-71-604(3), requiring a work comp claimant to authorize the insurer to communicate with health care providers without prior notice to the employee, violates Malcolmson’s constitutional right to privacy.

Short Answer: Yes. Applying strict scrutiny, the Court determines the statute is facially unconstitutional. It is justified by a compelling state interest but is not narrowly tailored to effect that interest.


Stewart v. Liberty Northwest

Stewart v. Liberty Northwest, 2013 MT 107 (April 23, 2013) (5-0) (McKinnon, J.)

Issue: (1) Whether the Work Comp Court erred in determining that Stewart is entitled to continued payment for the pain patches prescribed for her; (2) whether the court erred in determining Stewart was not entitled to attorneys’ fees; and (3) whether the court erred in failing to impose the statutory penalty on Liberty, pursuant to § 39-71-2907, MCA.

Short Answer: (1) No; (2) no; and (3) no.