Today’s post was shared by Workers Comp Brief and comes from www.orlandoweekly.com
A South Florida appeals court Monday heard arguments in a challenge to the constitutionality of the state’s workers-compensation insurance system —- as two other closely watched challenges also await rulings at the Florida Supreme Court.
The 3rd District Court of Appeal took up a case in which a Miami-Dade County circuit judge ruled last year that a key underpinning of workers-compensation laws was unconstitutional. That underpinning involves cases being handled through the workers-compensation insurance system instead of through civil lawsuits.
The workers-compensation system is designed as a sort of tradeoff: Workers are supposed to receive benefits for on-the-job injuries while not going through potentially costly and time-consuming lawsuits. But Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Jorge Cueto ruled in August that the workers-compensation law preventing cases from going to civil trial —- known legally as "exclusivity" —- was unconstitutional, at least in part because of legislative changes in 2003 that reduced benefits.
"I find that the Florida Workers’ Compensation Act, as amended effective October 1, 2003, does not provide a reasonable alternative to the tort (civil) remedy it supplanted,” Cueto wrote. "It therefore cannot be the exclusive remedy."
During Monday’s hearing, state Chief Deputy Solicitor General Adam Tanenbaum argued primarily that Cueto’s ruling should be overturned for procedural reasons. The case initially involved Julio…