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Workers' Compensation

Minnesota: Injured Employee Fails to Establish Need for Long-term Opioids

The Supreme Court of Minnesota held that an injured worker had failed to establish that his long-term use of Endocet—an opioid—was in line with long-term treatment parameters established pursuant to Minn. R. 5221.6110 (2019). Accordingly, his continued treatment via the opioid was not reasonable and necessary and need not be provided by the employer. The worker sustained his injury in 2002, before the opioid treatment parameters were promulgated. His pain had never fully responded to conservative treatment. The compensation judge found that the worker had established that the Endocet treatment was compensable as a “rare case” under our decision in Jacka v.Coca-Cola Bottling Co., 580 N.W.2d 27, 32 (Minn. 1998), because the worker experienced unbearable pain without the Endocet and the medication reduced his pain by one-half, allowing him to engage more fully in the activities of daily living. The Court found, however, that the legislature had determined that in all but the most exceptional circumstances, the treatment parameters best achieved the objectives of the workers’ compensation system. The worker had failed to establish that he continued use of the opioid was an exceptional circumstance.

Thomas A. Robinson, J.D., the co-Editor-in-Chief and Feature National Columnist for the LexisNexis Workers’ Compensation eNewsletter, is co-author of Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law(LexisNexis).

LexisNexis Online Subscribers: Citations below link to Lexis Advance.

See Johnson v. Darchuks Fabrications, 2021 Minn. LEXIS 423 (Aug. 18, 2021)

See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 94.03.

Source: Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, the nation’s leading authority on workers’ compensation law

For a more detailed discussion of the case, see

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