April 2009

After another round in front of the Government Appropriations Committee yesterday, Senate Bill 2072, which I posted about yesterday, was passed, but not without Frankenstein’s monster getting another appendage.  Next stop, the floor of the Senate for a full vote.

This time–in an obvious effort to calm the police and firefighters unions–the Senate added an exception to the heavily bloated bill that would give an exception to first responders by allowing the Emma Murray decision just to apply to them.   That’s right.  According to the latest and greatest SB 2072, which is headed to the Senate floor for a full vote, only attorneys for first responders (that is union attorneys) would be entitled to hourly fees.  The rest of Florida’s work force will have to hope to find an attorney that can get paid through the old bad faith law, now inserted within SB 2072.  You can read the new first responder amendments here

So the question remains as we all await the full Senate vote: is this bill worth the time spent lobbying for it?

My answer after the jump. (more…)

During the Workers’ Compensation Forum last week–which can easily be described as a successful event–many of us learned of the recent developments of Senate Bill 2072.   Per a recent post, I discussed how the Florida Legislature is tackling the Emma Murray decision head on, attempting to enact legislation to overturn the Supreme Court decision that reinstated hourly fees for Claimant attorneys.

The House version, HB 903, sailed through committees and ultimately passed on March 31.  The identical Senate version, however, has met significant stiffer resistance.  Now, SB 2072, is amended to the point where the two versions look nothing alike and, in my opinion, is weighed down with too many controversial “compromises” that I cannot foresee how either side will agree to.

Let’s look at the controversial amendments. . . (more…)

I bring this subject up mainly because the past few files referred to me have to do with this subject.  I even had a trial on the issue (which the parties ultimately settled) last week.

What I am referring to is whether  an Employer/Carrier can suspend or deny temporary partial disability benefits if a Claimant refuses light duty work offered by the employer.  The statute, section 440.15(6) is clear that a Claimant is not entitled to TPD benefits unless the refusal is justified.  “Justified” being the key word and the definition  to be interpreted by the JCC  at final hearing.

In two of the three most recent cases I have, both Claimants were injured in compensable accidents, placed on restrictive work duty (let’s call it light duty for purposes of this post) and both refused.  So, the E/C can just deny benefits, right?  Unfortunately, it is not that easy.  An E/C needs to take an honest, objective look at each individual case to determine if the refusals are justified. (more…)