The Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) issues orders in response to motions to extend the time period for filing an independent medical examination report and motions to allow medical testimony. Representatives of the MN Trial Lawyers Association and MN Defense Lawyers Association have questioned whether such orders are necessary when the parties agree to the outcome, or if the procedures for routine orders may instead be streamlined. After discussion and consideration of this issue, OAH agrees that streamlined procedures for certain routine motions are appropriate.
As of January 1, 2006, OAH has accepted a letter of agreement of the parties (in a prescribed format) in lieu of a Motion to Extend IME or Motion to Allow Medical Testimony. You will find sample agreement letters on our website at www.oah.state.mn.us. On the OAH website, select the Workers’ Compensation Tab and then click on General Forms and Independent Medical Examinations (IME). When the attorneys for the primary parties have reached an agreement concerning the date an IME extension expires and that date is before the hearing date, or have agreed that deposition testimony of a medical provider is needed, a letter outlining the agreement may be filed in lieu of a motion. The parties may assume that the agreement is acceptable to OAH unless a contrary order is issued within 20 days after the agreement is served and filed. It is not necessary for the letter regarding the agreement to be signed by opposing parties so long as it is served on opposing parties, allowing an opportunity to object if the opposing party disagrees with the substance of the stated agreement. The judge will not issue an order if the agreement as stated by the parties is acceptable.
A change was also be made on January 1, 2006, regarding Notices of Intervention Status. Minnesota Statutes §176.361, Subd. 2, does not require an order by the judge to allow an entity to intervene in a dispute. The parties may assume an entity filing a Motion to Intervene is an intervenor in the dispute. The attorneys should carefully review the notice of a proceeding to be sure they are aware of all of the intervenor claims.
The changes made effective January 1, 2006, conserve attorney and OAH time spent on routine matters, thereby allowing more time for those matters that are disputed and need our attention.