National Federation of Independent Business Legal Foundation Defends Florida's 2003
Workers' Comp Reforms
Supreme Court To Consider Whether Or Not Reforms Are Constitutional
Washington, D.C. (CompNewsNetwork) - A critical case on the way to the Florida
Supreme Court may jeopardize significant reforms made to the state’s workers’ compensation
system in 2003. The National Federation of Independent Business Legal Foundation, the
nation’s leading small-business advocate in the courts, is getting involved in this case
and urging the Florida Supreme Court to rule that the comprehensive workers’ compensation
reforms enacted in 2003 are constitutional.
The main thrust of the 2003
reforms was the ability to rein in obscene attorney fees. The reforms established guideline
attorney fees based upon a percentage of the benefits obtained by the claimant in a
workers’ compensation case and eliminating fee awards based upon an hourly
“The 2003 reforms have been very well received by the small-business
community. Due to the common sense changes made to the system, workers' compensation rates
have declined throughout the state and business owners are protected from attorney’s who
purposely rake up the number of hours they spend on workers’ compensation claims,” said
Karen Harned, executive director of NFIB’s Legal Foundation. “If the court decides to
overrule these reforms, workers’ compensation costs will undoubtedly rise and burden
businesses, resulting in a blow to Florida’s economy.”
In the case before the
Florida Supreme Court, Murray v. Mariner Health, the claimant’s attorney racked up 80 hours
in attorneys fees, when the underlying claimant was only seeking $3,224 in benefits. The
trial lawyers want the reforms overruled so that they can be paid by the hour and are
arguing that the reforms violate equal protection and due process laws.
lawyers are abusing the state’s workers’ compensation system and gouging business owners,
the Legislature should be permitted to reform the system and the court should uphold these
reforms,” said Harned.
Oral arguments for this case are scheduled for October
30, 2008 in the Florida Supreme Court.
Be the first person to comment!
You must Login or Register in order to read and make comments!