Talbot v. CuddAnnotate this Case
Jason Talbot was seriously injured in Montana when he was struck by a vehicle driven by an employee of WMK-Davis, LLC. At the time of the accident, Talbot was employed by Cudd Pressure Control, Inc. Talbot, who was a resident of Oklahoma, filed a workers’ compensation claim in Oklahoma. Talbot then filed a complaint in Yellowstone County against WMK-Davis’s employee. Cudd, in turn, successfully moved to intervene in order to assert a workers’ compensation subrogation lien against Talbot’s potential tort recovery. Such an action is allowable under Oklahoma law, but Oklahoma law directly conflicts with Montana’s rule that a party may not subrogate until the injured worker has been whole. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Talbot, concluding that Montana applied and Cudd was prohibited from asserting a workers’ compensation subrogation lien in the underlying action. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the district court did not err in determining that Montana courts will not conduct a choice of law analysis when determining the validity of a workers’ compensation subrogation lien; and (2) because the Montana Constitution applies in this case, and Cudd stipulated that Talbot will not be made whole under Montana law, Talbot was entitled to summary judgment as a matter of law.