Well they did it.  And, I am back.  After a self-imposed exile, I return to the Workers’ Comp Corner to cover the biggest decision in Florida Workers’ Comp Law since Emma Murray.

It took over 18 months but Supremes overturned the 2009 version of s. 440.34 and declared it unconstitutional.  That decision, Costellanos v. Next Door Co.  can be read here and the entire majority opinion doubles down on the themes from Emma Murray.   In the end, the Court brings back hourly Claimant attorney fees (via the Lee Engineering Standard) and removes the irrebuttable presumption that the mandatory fee schedule is “reasonable.”

The challenge to this thing has been long and coming.  The Castellanos decision itself is long and detailed that weaves the principle of Carrier paid fees as part of the overall fabric of W/C.    Make no mistake, this Court wants the Legislature to know there can be no quick change to 440.34 that will fix this by simply pulling out a marker and crossing out the word “reasonable”.  Per the Court, hourly fees provide access to Florida courts, a constitutional right.

There is so much to digest on this decision, I will have to break it down in more than one post throughout the week.   The consequences of this decision will be the certain increase in claims and Petitions for Benefits for smaller benefits.

Once again, you can read the Castellanos decision here.

I am happy to be back and I look forward to sharing my analysis with you.