Workers’ Compensation Judge vacates a Compromise and Release based on a Zero-Dollar MSA
- Posted By: Harvey Brown
- October 29, 2021
This is a Board Panel Decision
This is a very significant case for workers’ compensation principles.
The applicant and the defendant negotiated a Compromise and Release (C&R). The applicant was unrepresented. The parties went to an Agreed Medical Examiner (AME). The AME concluded the applicant was malingering. He did state that the applicant’s work over many years contributed to his cumulative trauma to multiple body parts. He found the injury industrial.
The parties thought the AME found the case nonindustrial in negotiating the C&R. They concluded that Medicare had no interest in the settlement and did not submit a MSA to CMS for approval. The Workers’ Compensation Judge (WCJ) approved the C&R.
The applicant then received a request for reimbursement of medical expenses from CMS from his “nonexistent MSA”. The applicant then, unrepresented, petitioned for the C&R to be set aside on the grounds he mistakenly believed the zero-dollar MSA insulated him from having to pay his settlement to Medicare.
The WCJ set aside the C&R on mutual mistake of fact. The defendant petitioned for reconsideration because there was never any intention to submit the MSA to CMS.
The Board panel agreed with the WCJ. There was no “meeting of the minds” in the formation of the C&R because both parties mistakenly believed Medicare had no interest in the case, and that a zero dollar set aside would be appropriate.
Harrison v Canyon Springs
Pools and Spas Inc.
Editor: Harvey Brown
Samuelsen, Gonzalez, Valenzuela & Brown