Colorado Supreme Court to take up case involving Coloradans working out of state

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Colorado Supreme Court (Colorado Judicial Branch)

Colorado Supreme Court (Colorado Judicial Branch)

The Colorado Supreme Court indicated Monday that it will review a case that could lead to greater labor protections for Coloradans working in other states.

At issue is whether the state can provide benefits to a Grand Junction resident who was injured in North Dakota while working for an out-of-state oil and gas company.

The case was brought before the high court by North Dakota-based Youngquist Brothers Oil & Gas Inc.

Youngquist hired Travis Miner to work on its oil rigs in North Dakota. During his second shift, Miner slipped and fell down the stairs, hurting his back, court documents show.

After seeing a doctor in Colorado, Miner filed a workers’ compensation claim with North Dakota, but his claim was denied apparently due to a pre-existing back condition.

Miner then filed a claim for workers’ compensation benefits in Colorado. After a hearing, an administrative judge determined that Miner was hired in Colorado and his claim fell under the state’s compensation act.

The judge also fined Youngquist for not having Colorado workers’ compensation insurance. The insurance provides employees with medical treatment and partial wage replacement after work-related injuries.

The Colorado Court of Appeals upheld the judge’s decisions in February after the oil and gas company objected to the outcome.

The Colorado Supreme Court is tasked with deciding whether the Court of Appeals was incorrect in concluding that Colorado had authority to award benefits for out-of-state work-related injuries and impose a statutory penalty on the employer under the Worker’s Compensation Act when the employer is not a citizen of Colorado, has no offices or operations in Colorado, but hired a Colorado citizen within the state.

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Business & data reporter Adrian D. Garcia can be reached via email at agarcia@denverite.com or twitter.com/adriandgarcia.