NEVADA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS; AND NEVADA RISK MANAGEMENT, Appellants,
YORK CLAIMS SERVICES, INC.; AND WASHWORKS RAINBOW, LLC, Respondents
Appeal from a district court order granting judicial review in a workers' compensation matter. First Judicial District Court, Carson City; James E. Wilson, Judge.
Adam Paul Laxalt, Attorney General, and Clark G. Leslie, Senior Deputy Attorney General, Carson City, for Appellant Nevada Department of Corrections.
Beckett, Yott, McCarty & Spann and James A. McCarty, Reno, for Appellant Nevada Risk Management.
Gordon Silver and Anjali D. Webster, John P. Desmond, and Molly Malone Rezac, Reno, for Respondents.
GIBBONS, J. BEFORE SAITTA, GIBBONS and PICKERING, JJ.
Appellants Nevada Department of Corrections (NDOC) and State of Nevada Risk Management are contesting the district court's finding that they, and not respondent York Claims Services, Inc., are responsible for Jonathan Piper's workers' compensation coverage stemming from two incidents in which Piper was injured. At the administrative level, the appeals officer found York liable for Piper's workers' compensation coverage for both injuries. Upon judicial review, the district court set aside the appeals officer's decision, finding that NDOC was responsible for Piper's workers' compensation coverage pursuant to NRS 616B.028(1). We conclude that the district court erred in setting aside the decision of the appeals officer because NRS 616B.028(1) does not apply to offenders like Piper, who are participating in the work release program.
FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
In 2010, Jonathan Piper, who was convicted and imprisoned for burglary two years earlier, was transferred to Casa Grande Transitional Housing in Las Vegas, Nevada, to serve out the remainder of his sentence. Casa Grande is similar to a halfway house and is operated by NDOC for offenders participating in NDOC's work release program. Among other various rules and restrictions, an offender at Casa Grande must either have a job or be in the process of searching for a job in the private sector.
Washworks Rainbow, LLC, a full-service car wash in Las Vegas, hired Piper to wipe down vehicles after they were washed. Washworks paid premiums on behalf of Piper to York so that Piper was covered under its workers' compensation insurance coverage, just as Wash. works did for all of its employees. After discovering that Piper had a background in gardening, Washworks' owner, Richard Olden, asked Piper to trim some trees on Washworks' property. While trimming the trees, Piper fell off his ladder and struck his head on the ground. Piper, rendered unconscious by the fall, suffered a
traumatic brain injury and was taken to the hospital. An emergency craniotomy was performed in order to accommodate brain swelling, essentially saving Piper's life. Over the next four months, Piper underwent various brain surgeries and was transferred between hospitals and rehabilitation centers.
Following Piper's injury, Olden submitted the standard insurance forms he used anytime an employee was injured. York, the workers' compensation insurance provider for Washworks, notified Piper that it denied his claim from his ladder fall. York asserted that Piper was in the legal custody of NDOC while working at Washworks. Thus, York asserted that pursuant to NRS 209.492 and NRS 616B.028, NDOC ...