Subject Matter Jurisdiction

1. General Guidelines

The power and jurisdiction of the Court over each case shall be continuing and it may, from time to time, make such modifications or changes with respect to former findings or orders relating thereto if, in its opinion, it may be justified.
85 O.S. §303J.


Jurisdiction of the workers' compensation court is not dependent upon where the contract of employment was made or the place of residence of the injured employee. The court has jurisdiction when the injury occurs within the state of Oklahoma. Associated Indemnity Corp. v. Landers, 1932 OK 643, 14 P.2d 950.

Absent the occurrence of an injury in the State of Oklahoma, jurisdiction resides in the state where the contract of employment was entered into. 85 O.S. §310A.

The WC court is a statutory tribunal of limited jurisdiction which has only such cognizance as is conferred upon it by law. Its jurisdiction is confined to determining liability of the employer (and its insurance carrier) towards the claimant. The WC court's range of cognizable claims is restricted to (a) those asserted by a claimant against the employer for compensable on-the-job harm or death and (b) claims by medical providers to successful claimants. In contrast to this restriction, the "unlimited" district court's range of cognizable claims extends to all actions in law and equity.

The jurisdiction of the WC court to make an award upon a claim not arising under the WC law cannot be conferred by agreement, waiver or conduct of the parties. When the proceedings show on their face that the adjudicated liability is beyond the trial tribunal's cognizance, the order is void pro tanto, i.e., to the extent that the extra-statutory element came to be settled.
Red Rock Mental Health v. Roberts, 1996 OK 117, 940 P.2d 486

2. Tribal Sovereignty

Squirrel v. Bordertown Bingo, 2005 OK CIV APP 95, 125 P.3d 680.
Hall v. Cherokee Nation, 2007 OK CIV APP 49, 162 P.3d 979.

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