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Parrent v. Midway Toyota

Montana Supreme Court
626 P.2d 848 (1981)


Melvin Parrent (plaintiff) worked at Midway Toyota, Inc. (Midway) (defendant) while an underage teenager. In the fall of 1975, Melvin hurt his back while working at Midway. Midway paid Melvin temporary disability for two months. Within that time, however, Melvin learned that he had a herniated disk and went through surgery to repair it. Over a year later, but still while Melvin was a minor, Melvin and Midway reached a final settlement agreement regarding Melvin’s injury. Midway negotiated the settlement through Tom Mazurek, a claims adjuster. During the negotiations, Mazurek met with Melvin and Melvin’s mother, Hermione Parrent. Nevertheless, ultimately, Melvin signed the settlement agreement himself. Hermione was present when Melvin signed the agreement and did not object, but neither Hermione nor any other adult cosigned the agreement with Melvin. Later, Melvin petitioned the Workers’ Compensation Court to reopen Melvin’s claim against Midway. The Workers’ Compensation Court found that nothing about Melvin’s health had changed, and that Midway had done nothing wrong during the settlement. The court further found that Hermione’s participation in the negotiations and presence at the signing had the same effect as if Hermione had also signed the agreement. The court ruled in favor of Midway. Melvin appealed.

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