from the District Court of Mountrail County, North Central
Judicial District, the Honorable Douglas L. Mattson, Judge.
A. Lillehaug (argued), Fargo, North Dakota, and Michael D.
Ainbinder (appeared) and Colleen M. Pratt (appeared), Long
Beach, California, for plaintiff, appellant, and
A. Thompson (argued), Brenda L. Blazer (appeared), and Briana
L. Rummel (appeared), Bismarck, North Dakota, for defendants,
appellees, and cross-appellants.
Huey Brock appeals from judgments dismissing his negligence
action against Richard Price and KS Industries, LLC
("LLC") and awarding Price and LLC costs and
disbursements in the amount of $181, 467. Price and LLC
cross-appeal from the judgment awarding costs and
disbursements. We affirm the district court's summary
judgment dismissal of the negligence action because it is
barred by the Workforce Safety and Insurance Act's
exclusive remedy provisions. We reverse the award of costs
and disbursements and remand for the court to hold a hearing
on Brock's objections required by N.D.R.Civ.P. 54(e)(2).
LLC is based in Tioga and at all relevant times has obtained
Workforce Safety and Insurance ("WSI") coverage for
its employees in North Dakota. Brock, a California resident,
was hired by LLC and began working as a pipefitter on
December 6, 2010. On March 31, 2011, Brock was severely
injured in a traffic accident while traveling in a
company-owned vehicle with Price and another LLC employee,
resulting in Brock becoming quadriplegic. On April 6, 2011,
WSI issued a notice of decision accepting Brock's claim
and awarding him benefits, which noted "[o]n the above
injury date, the injured worker was employed by [LLC]"
and "[t]he evidence shows the injured worker sustained
an injury by accident arising out of and in the course of
employment." Brock began receiving benefits under
LLC's WSI account.
In June 2012, Brock, WSI, and LLC entered into a stipulation
that Brock would continue to receive WSI benefits while
seeking workers' compensation benefits in California from
KS Industries, LP ("LP"). The stipulation further
provided that WSI would cease paying benefits if his claim
against LP's insurance carrier were accepted and his
attorney would act in trust for WSI in pursuing reimbursement
of funds paid in connection with Brock's claim. Brock
then filed an application for California workers'
compensation benefits claiming he was employed by LP at the
time of the accident. In May 2013, following a trial, a judge
of the California Workers' Compensation Appeals Board
1. HUEY BROCK born on 09/02/1970 while employed on 03/31/2011
as a pipefitter while working in the State of North Dakota,
by, KS INDUSTRIES LP, whose workers' compensation
insurance carrier was ACIG Insurance Company, sustained
injury arising out of and occurring in the course of
employment rendering him a quadriplegic as well as injury to
2. As to issue of employment, applicant is found to be an
employee of KS INDUSTRIES LP at the time of the injury.
3. As to the issue of jurisdiction, it is found that there is
jurisdiction with the California Workers' Compensation
Appeals Board over the industrial injuries the applicant
sustained herein, and the applicant may proceed to collect
such workers' compensation benefits within this State
with credit to the defendants for workers' compensation
benefits which the applicant may have received from the
workers' compensation claim in North Dakota.
In an opinion on his decision, the judge explained:
Based upon applicant's credible testimony which
establishes that he was offered and accepted employment from
KS Industries LP via the telephone at his residence in Long
Beach, California, as well as the fact that all other
entities/campuses listed by defendant are merely alter egos
of KS Industries LP (as evidenced by "Exhibit 16"
for which applicant was required to submit forms for
employment including reading the KS Industries LP safety
manual as a requisite of employment and adhering the KS
Industries LP "Cell Phone Policy". Also, all
payroll was reviewed and approved at the KS Industries LP
facility in Bakersfield, California with paychecks and W-2s
being issued from KS Industries LP and all employee records,
no matter which location/campus the employee worked at, were
housed at the KS Industries LP facility in California. Also,
all employee[s], once hired, maintained the same
"Employee ID" number no matter which
location/campus they may perform work. Additionally,
applicant credibly testified that for the work in North
Dakota, he accepted the employment via the telephone from his
residence in Long Beach, California and took a 2 to 3 day bus
ride from Long Beach, California to the site in North Dakota
based on the belief and reliance that he had been offered and
accepted the employment over the telephone.
petition for reconsideration and a petition for writ of
review to the California Court of Appeals were both denied.
Based on the California administrative decision, LP's
workers' compensation carrier commenced paying benefits
to Brock and reimbursed WSI all funds expended on Brock. On
January 24, 2014, WSI issued a notice of decision reversing
its prior decision accepting Brock's claim. Although it
is not in the record on appeal, the district court referenced
it in its February 8, 2019, order. Prior to oral argument,
Brock requested that we take ...