In March, 2014, the Florida Supreme Court decided to hear two high profile workers’ compensation cases. The future of the workers’ compensation law could change drastically based on these two cases. In the BRADLEY WESTPHAL vs. CITY OF ST. PETERSBURG, ETC., ET AL case, the Florida Supreme Court set Oral Arguments on June 5, 2014. The court will decide whether the two year (104 week) maximum of temporary indemnity (lost wage) benefits is unconstitutional. The First District Court of Appeals originally decided that the law was unconstitutional and increased lost wages to five years per the 1990 law. However, the same court reversed itself and requested that the Supreme Court review the law. The Supreme Court will hear arguments on June 5, 2014 and a decision should be made later this year.
The Supreme Court of Florida has also agreed to review the case of MARVIN CASTELLANOS vs. NEXT DOOR COMPANY, ET AL. This case will decide if the 2003 and 2009 Amendments to the Attorney Fee law are unconstitutional. In 2003, the Legislature amended the law and limited the amount of attorney’s fees. This severely limited the types of cases or claims an attorney could file. The Court will now decide if the 2003 and 2009 law prevents certain cases or claimants the access to courts as allowed under the Constitution.
In 2008, the Supreme Court found the 2003 law vague and ambiguous and threw out the law in the Emma Murray case. The Court did not decide if the law was unconstitutional because it did not need to at that time. However, in 2009, the legislature crossed out one word in the 2003 Amendment and made it law again. Now the Supreme Court will get its chance to determine if the law is unconstitutional. If law is found unconstitutional, it will give claimants and their attorneys the ability to pursue claims or benefits that have been impossible to pursue because of the economic retraints.
To read more about these two cases, please click on this link: