|Today's post is authored by Peter Rousmaniere and shared from workcompcentral.com|
The Florida 11th Circuit Court decision on Aug. 13 appears to be the first state court decision in many years to declare an entire workers’ compensation statute as unconstitutional. The fingerprints of the Dean of Workers’ Compensation Research John Burton are all over Judge Jorge Cueto’s reasoning.
Since the 1970s, Burton, with a law degree and PhD in economics, has been the leading academic scholar in workers’ compensation, even now years after his retirement from a faculty position at Rutgers University. Burton surely thinks that this decision is long coming. So, what’s his complaint?
Cueto wrote that through the years, the state has cut back permanent partial disability benefits so severely that the state “no longer provides any benefits for this class of disabled worker.”
Burton’s writings indicate that he holds that whatever permanent disability benefits there are in Florida, they are so low and PPD so significant, that the entire workers’ comp system in Florida is inadequate. Cueto agrees.
He cites National Council on Compensation Insurance estimates that legislative changes in 1979, 1990, 1994 and 2003 cut PPD benefits severely. Per Burton, Florida “eviscerated the permanent partial benefit system.” The current benefits are “less than available during the 1970s and markedly lower than...