It ended with a whimper rather than a roar. 

On Wednesday, the Florida Supreme Court, with zero fanfare, denied jurisdiction for the Kauffman appeal.  You can review the online docket here.  Just enter the case number as “SC11-661”.  This officially ends the appeal process for Kauffman.

You can read my analysis of the First DCA’s decision here and my prior analysis here.   I do not believe the Claimant’s bar was ever prepared to show the Court why a Claimant cannot find representation under the current statute.  The constitutional arguments still did not hold water.

However, this is still a chance the Claimant’s bar could regroup and seek an appeal on what I call the “double edged sword of inequity” in the W/C statute that exists between the strict guideline fee against E/C’s and the statute that a Claimant attorney cannot contract a fee with his own client above the guideline, see s. 440.105(3)(c).  I wrote about this, back in July, 2009:

“The argument is this: if Claimant attorney is resigned to only being paid a paltry statutory fee by the Carrier (should he obtain the benefit for his client) then he can only seek a fee from his client.  However, his client cannot pay him more than the fee schedule allows, since the JCC cannot approve above guideline fees.  If he contracts with his client to pay more than the fee schedule, then he commits a crime.   So what we have here is a legal Catch-22 for Claimant attorneys and injured workers and this is where the argument for access to courts has teeth.

If a Claimant cannot pay his own attorney what the real world calls a reasonable fee (without breaking the law), and the attorney cannot get the Carrier to pay a reasonable fee then the Claimant will never find an attorney.” 

Stay tuned. . .

Advertisements