Justices say South Dakota worker’s comp should cover woman injured on job in Wyoming

Capitol News Bureau
KELO Court Gavel

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — A woman who lived in South Dakota and worked for a company headquartered in South Dakota should be covered by South Dakota’s worker’s compensation program, even though she was hurt while working in Wyoming, the South Dakota Supreme Court has decided.

The justices, in an opinion publicly released last week, ruled unanimously in favor of the employee, Stella Anderson of Spearfish. She was hired in 2018 as a truck driver for Tri State Construction, based in Belle Fourche, where the company’s four office employees operated its accounting, payroll, and human-resource divisions.

Anderson was injured October 5, 2018, in a traffic accident in Colony, Wyoming. She initially sought worker’s compensation benefits under Wyoming’s program and then attempted to seek benefits under South Dakota’s program.

The South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation refused her. Circuit Judge Christina Klinger agreed with the department’s decision. The Supreme Court said they were wrong.

Justice Janine Kern wrote that Tri State had a substantial connection to South Dakota because the company operated its accounting, payroll, and human-resources divisions in South Dakota; trained employees in South Dakota; and interviewed Anderson in Belle Fourche after the accident.

“South Dakota also represents the place where the parties negotiated and executed the contract. Anderson was interviewed and hired by Tri State at the Belle Fourche office in South Dakota to do work in Wyoming,” Justice Kern wrote.

The case was returned to Judge Klinger.

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