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B & H protects landlord client from tenant worker's compensation suit

Recently, in an unusual case, Barton Gernander of Burns & Hansen prevailed on behalf of a landlord client in a worker's compensation suit.

The estate of the tenant, who had been fatally assaulted in his apartment, brought a claim against the landlord. The estate claimed that the tenant had been a caretaker of the apartment, and therefore an employee of the landlord. While the landlord denied that the tenant had ever been an employee or caretaker, the State of Minnesota and the estate of the tenant brought parallel worker's compensation actions.

At stake was a claim for reimbursement of all of the medical expenses incurred, worker's compensation benefits, and other expenses (including attorney's fees). The landlord was also facing the potential for significant penalties if the estate's claim had been successful, as the landlord had not insured the tenant as an employee for worker's compensation purposes. In total, the landlord was facing a claim, with penalties, well in excess of $1,000,000.00.

Bart successfully argued that the tenant had not been an employee or caretaker, and the Worker's Compensation Judge ruled against the estate of the tenant on all issues. In fact, the win was so decisive that the estate declined to appeal the ruling.

Burns & Hansen, P.A. represents landlords and other business in a wide variety of matters, including unusual litigation such as this issue. If you have any questions or need assistance, please contact Bart Gernander at Burns & Hansen.

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