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Youngquist Brothers Oil & Gas, Inc. v. Industrial Claim Appeals Office

Court of Appeals of Colorado, Seventh Division

February 25, 2016

Youngquist Brothers Oil & Gas, Inc., Petitioner,
v.
Industrial Claim Appeals Office of the State of Colorado and Travis Miner, Respondents.

Industrial Claim Appeals Office of the State of Colorado WC No. 4-951-385.

Treece Alfrey Musat P.C., James B. Fairbanks, Denver, Colorado, for Petitioner No Appearance for Respondent Industrial Claim Appeals Office

Killian & Davis P.C., Damon J. Davis, Christopher H. Richter, Grand Junction, Colorado, for Respondent Travis Miner

Dunn, Judge.

¶ 1 Youngquist Brothers Oil & Gas, Inc., has no business operations in Colorado, but it recruits employees from Colorado to work on its North Dakota oil rigs. Within days of being hired, one of these Colorado recruits, Travis Miner, was injured in North Dakota while working on a Youngquist oil rig. Miner returned to Colorado and sought benefits under the Workers' Compensation Act of Colorado (Act), §§ 8-40-101 to 8-47-209, C.R.S. 2015.

¶ 2 The administrative law judge (ALJ) awarded Miner benefits, concluding he was hired in Colorado and suffered a compensable work-related injury. Because Youngquist did not carry Colorado workers' compensation insurance, the ALJ also imposed a fifty percent penalty against Youngquist. The Industrial Claim Appeals Panel (Panel) affirmed the ALJ's order.

Youngquist contends it is not subject to the Act and therefore the Panel's decision should be set aside. We disagree and affirm.

I. Background

¶ 3 Youngquist is an oil and gas company with operations in North Dakota. It hires workers nationally and internationally, but primarily from Texas, Oklahoma, Indiana, and Colorado. It maintains workers' compensation insurance in North Dakota, but not in Colorado.

¶ 4 Miner lived in Grand Junction, Colorado. After learning that Youngquist was looking for employees to work on its oil rigs in North Dakota, Miner submitted an online application. Later that day, a Youngquist representative called Miner and conducted a telephonic interview. Miner testified that at the conclusion of the interview, Youngquist offered him a job, which he accepted. Youngquist then arranged for Miner to fly to North Dakota the following day. A Youngquist representative met Miner at the airport and took him to get supplies before driving him to Youngquist's offices.

¶ 5 Once there, Miner completed new employee paperwork and passed a preliminary drug screen. He also provided a hair follicle for a drug test, the results of which were not immediately available. After completing the paperwork and the preliminary drug screen, Miner began his first evening rig shift.

¶ 6 During the following evening shift, Miner slipped and fell down the rig's stairs, hurting his back. Miner did not immediately report the injury to Youngquist because he did not "want to be that guy that got hurt the second day of work." Miner worked three more shifts and then reported his injury to his supervisor.

¶ 7 Youngquist agreed to allow Miner to seek medical treatment in Colorado and arranged for Miner to return to Colorado. Miner's treating physician concluded that although Miner had a preexisting back injury, the condition was worsened by his work-related fall.

¶ 8 Miner filed a workers' compensation claim with North Dakota Workforce Safety and Insurance. North Dakota denied his claim without a hearing, apparently due to Miner's pre-existing back condition.[1]

¶ 9 Miner then filed a claim for workers' compensation benefits in Colorado. After a hearing, the ALJ determined that Miner was hired in Colorado and his claim was therefore subject to the Act. The ALJ further found Miner suffered a compensable work-related injury, awarded him benefits, and imposed a fifty percent penalty on Youngquist for failing to carry workers' compensation insurance in Colorado.

II. Jurisdiction

ΒΆ 10 Youngquist contends it is not subject to the Act because (1) it does not conduct business in Colorado; (2) Miner was not hired in Colorado; and (3) it does not have sufficient contacts with ...


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