Minnesota Supreme Court Reverses Kainz

In Kainz v. Arrowhead Senior Living Community, the Minnesota Supreme Court determined that the WCCA’s finding of compensability under the “increased risk” test was manifestly contrary to the evidence.  In turn, the case was remanded to the Compensation Judge for reconsideration in light of Dykhoff v. Excel Energy, 840 N.W.2d 821, 73 W.C.D. 865 (Dec. 2013).

In Kainz, the Employee, an LPN at Arrowhead Senior Living Community, was descending an interior stairway on the Employer’s premises when she twisted her ankle on September 17, 2011.

In March 2014, the Supreme Court vacated the WCCA’s initial finding that the Employee’s injury “arose out of” her work activities and remanded the case back to the WCCA for reconsideration under the new “increased risk” analysis set forth in Dykhoff.

On August 16, 2014, the WCCA applied the “increased risk test” and again found that the Employee’s injury “arose out of” the employment, relying on factual findings that there were no handrails on the portion of the stairway where the employee injured herself and that the stairway was “kind of steep.”  The decision was, once again, appealed to the Supreme Court.  In its March 5, 2014 decision, the Supreme Court again reversed the WCCA, noting that photographic evidence conclusively revealed that the handrails did extend down the entirety of the staircase.  In addition, the Court noted that the Compensation Judge had not specifically address the steepness of the stairs.  In turn, the matter was remanded to the Compensation Judge for reconsideration in light of Dykhoff.

You can read the Supreme Court’s decision here.