State of North Dakota, by and through Workforce Safety and Insurance, Appellant
Questar Energy Services, Inc., Appellee
from the District Court of Cass County, East Central Judicial
District, the Honorable Frank L. Racek, Judge.
Jacqueline S. Anderson, Special Assistant Attorney General,
Fargo, ND, for appellant.
A. Herman (argued) and Claire L. Smith (on brief), Fargo, ND,
1] North Dakota Workforce Safety and Insurance
("WSI"), appealed from the judgment affirming a
decision of an Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ")
that had reversed WSI's administrative reclassification
of Questar Energy Services, Inc.'s ("Questar")
employees. We affirm.
2] In July 2012, Questar applied for and received insurance
coverage from WSI. Following an audit in 2014, WSI determined
Questar's employees had been improperly classified and
reclassified Questar's employees. The classification of
employees directly impacts the insurance rate used to
calculate Questar's premiums for the insurance received
3] WSI issued a Notice of Decision to inform Questar of the
audit results and the reclassification of Questar's
employees. Questar filed with WSI a request for
reconsideration of WSI's decision to reclassify
Questar's employees. WSI issued an administrative order
confirming its Notice of Decision and Questar responded by
requesting a rehearing. The request for a rehearing triggered
the administrative hearing process and the assignment of an
4] Following an administrative hearing, the ALJ issued
Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, and Final Order
reversing WSI's administrative order. The ALJ applied a
preponderance of the evidence standard for the review of
WSI's employee classification determination. Applying
that standard, the ALJ concluded the evidence provided during
the hearing did not support WSI's reclassification but
did support Questar's requested classification. WSI
appealed the ALJ's decision to the district court, which
concluded the ALJ applied the correct standard of review,
properly excluded changes to the Rate Classification Manual
made after WSI's determination, and properly determined
Questar's requested classification was supported by a
preponderance of the evidence.
5] WSI appeals the judgment entered following the district
court's review of the ALJ's determination. WSI
contends the ALJ applied the wrong standard of review,
improperly excluded from evidence the changes to the Rate
Classification Manual, and erred in determining
classification of Questar's employees was not supported
by the record.
6] Appellate review of a final order of an administrative
agency is governed by the Administrative Agencies Practice
Act, N.D.C.C. ch. 28-32. Pursuant to the directives contained
in N.D.C.C. §§ 28-32-46 and 28-32-49, the district
court and this Court must affirm an administrative agency
1. The order is not in accordance with the law.
2. The order is in violation of the constitutional rights of
3. The provisions of this chapter have not been complied with
in the proceedings before the agency.
4. The rules or procedure of the agency have not afforded the
appellant a fair hearing.
5. The findings of fact made by the agency are not supported
by a preponderance of the evidence.
6. The conclusions of law and order of the agency are not
supported by its ...