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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Constitutional Challenges New and Old, From Florida to Oklahoma

Today's post highlights the slow and tedious battle a contitutional challenge is to a workers' compensation issue. It is shared from

There is a value to consistency and predictability in the law. Attorneys rely upon the decisions of courts to form opinions about their cases. Attorneys with a clear understanding of their state's statutes, and the interpretations which appellate courts will apply to them, are in an admirable position to provide their clients with predictions and advice regarding their specific case and its issues. In Florida, this can take time. Sometimes such specifics can take many years. In 1993, the Florida Legislature made significant changes to the Florida Workers' Compensation law. Among these was a marked reduction in the quantum of temporary total disability benefits available, from 260 weeks to to 104 weeks. A panel of the Florida First District Court of Appeal ("First DCA") concluded on February 28, 2013 that this statutory change was Unconstitutional. Westphal v. St. Petersburg. (1D12-3563)On September 23, 2013, the Court granted en banc review. This means that the entire First DCA reconsidered the case and issued a new opinion. In this second iteration, a majority of the Court concluded that the 104 week limitation on temporary total disability (TTD) did apply to the claimant, Mr. Westphal. The en banc decision did not find Constitutional infirmity in the statute, as the panel had months earlier....
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