Workers’ Compensation: The Stipulation Status Conference
What is a Stipulation Status Conference?
If you have sustained a Minnesota Workers’ Compensation injury and have a pending case, then you may have received notice of a Stipulation Status Conference. A Stipulation Status Conference is an informal conference scheduled by the Minnesota Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) to determine or confirm the status of a pending workers’ compensation dispute. Once the OAH has been notified that a workers’ compensation case has settled, the case is scheduled for a Stipulation Status Conference several weeks later. This is a relatively new program instituted by the Honorable Raymond Krause, and it was created to ensure that a Stipulation for Settlement is filed with the Court in a timely manner. Prior to this program, cases would take months to work their way through the system and award final resolution.
What is the Purpose of a Stipulation Status Conference?
Many clients are surprised to learn that there are numerous issues that have to be resolved after a tentative settlement has been reached in their workers’ compensation case. For example, even after a settlement has been reached the parties still have to negotiate with any medical providers, or interveners, to resolve their outstanding medical bills. If there are numerous medical providers, it can take additional time to resolve all of the outstanding medical expenses. Additionally, it can take time to procure additional documentation or information before a settlement can be finalized. In these instances, if a settlement takes longer than anticipated to finalize, the purpose of the Stipulation Status Conference is to ensure that the parties are moving forward and to offer the assistance of the Court in resolving the outstanding matters.
It doesn’t happen often but, occasionally, after a tentative settlement has been reached in the workers’ compensation case, one or more of the parties may determine it no longer agrees with the resolution of the matter. When this occurs the matter may need to be scheduled for a hearing and the Court will place the case back on the active trial calendar. Overall, there are various reasons for a delay in the final resolution of a case; however, the purpose of the conference is straightforward. It serves to update the OAH and the other parties about the case status and to make plans to achieve a final resolution of the claim in a timely manner.
How Am I Involved?
As a general rule, at Meuser Law Office, P.A. we do not ask our clients to attend the Stipulation Status Conference for their workers’ compensation case. Most often, these conferences are cancelled once the appropriate paperwork has been filed; however, if a Stipulation Status Conference does take place and you are represented by Meuser Law Office, P.A., one of our knowledgeable workers’ compensation attorneys will attend on your behalf.
These cases are often scheduled with approximately fifty other cases during the same hour-long time frame. Many of the cases are resolved prior to the conference, with the remaining cases being handled relatively quickly in a conference before an Administrative Law Judge. The attorneys representing the involved parties must be prepared to explain the reasons the final resolution of the case has been delayed and propose strategies and a timeline for achieving a final resolution. If you do not have representation by a workers’ compensation attorney you should plan to attend the Stipulation Status Conference and be prepared accordingly. Or you can call Meuser Law Office, P.A. for a free, no-obligation workers’ compensation legal consultation to discuss your rights.