Wednesday, March 22, 2017

39 N.J. Prac., Workers' Compensation Law § 34.9 (3d ed.)

Was greatly flattered by a recent contact from workers' compensation guru Jon Gelman. Mr. Gelman is an attorney, author, blogger and advocate in New Jersey. He "wrote the book" up there, New Jersey Practice Series, Workers' Compensation Law. In the February 2017 update to the section above (39 N.J. Prac., Workers' Compensation Law § 34.9 (3d ed.)), he quoted a blog post from last July. 

I feel just like Navin Johnson (Steve Martin) in The Jerk (1979). 

A big thanks to Mr. Gelman for the reference. It is good to know that the blog gets read!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Port St. Lucie temporary procedures.

On Monday, March 13, 2017 we temporarily closed the Port St. Lucie office premises. There are some structure issues that we are dealing with and the office will remain temporarily closed for a short period as we assess how best to move forward. In the meantime:

Mediations will resume the week of March 20, 2017. Mediator Paul Harwood will be mediating as scheduled, but they will be telephonic mediations for the time being.

Rescheduling and scheduling calls may be directed to the PSL district number. You will be relayed to staff elsewhere that can assist you. It may be necessary for staff to call you back to make changes. Or, you may call Lyna Hickman in Panama City 850.872.7774 for the time being and she will work with you to make calendar changes.

Hearings will also resume the week of March 20, 2017. The OJCC will be in touch to advise of location changes. Some hearings may be moved to facilities in the local area or to other OJCC offices.

More will be posted here as more information becomes available. Email questions or concerns to

Monday, February 20, 2017

Miami Nominees Announced 02.20.17

The Statewide Judicial Nominating Commission for Judges of Compensation Claims met in Orlando on February 20, 2017. The nominations for the Miami vacancies are

To replace Judge Charles Hill
Jeffrey Jacobs
Michele Ready
Robert Wells

To replace Judge Gerardo Castiello
David Goehl
Walter Havers
Robert Wells

Monday, February 6, 2017

Florida Legislative Session 2017

Some 2017 Florida Legislative filings:

SB 404 was filed by Senator Simmons. It provides "that the maximum reimbursement allowances and manuals approved by a three-member panel for purposes of the Workers’ Compensation Law are exempt from legislative ratification under the Administrative Procedure Act when the adverse impact or regulatory costs of such allowances or manuals exceed any criteria specified in provisions, etc." No companion bill filed as yet. 

SB 516 was filed by Senator Perry. It deletes "provisions that limit certain workers’ compensation benefits for first responders; providing that mental or nervous injuries of law enforcement officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians, or paramedics are compensable under the Workers’ Compensation Law under specified conditions, etc." Amends 440.093 "Mental and nervous injuries" by adding a new paragraph (4) that would read "a mental or nervous injury suffered by a law enforcement officer, firefighter, emergency medical technician, or paramedic is compensable under this chapter, whether or not the mental or nervous injury is accompanied by physical injury requiring medical treatment, if the mental or nervous injury is demonstrated by clear and convincing medical evidence by a licensed psychiatrist to meet the criteria for posttraumatic stress disorder as described in the most recent edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders published by the American Psychiatric Association and if the mental or nervous injury arose out of an activity performed within the course of employment as described in s. 440.091."

Last revised 02.06.17

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

PFB and New Case filings January 2017

The figures are in for Florida workers' compensation litigation filings in January 2017.

The PFB filings were up notably in January (14%) over the same month last year. The OJCC is projecting an annualized increase in the range of 6-7%.

  2015-16 2016-17 Change 2017/2016
July 5618 5637 0%
August 5443 6514 20%
September 5411 6125 13%
October 5788 5335 -8%
November 4982 5375 8%
December 5115 5461 7%
January 5035 5720 14%
February 5481 5488 0%
March 6002    
April 5494    
May 6119    
June 6777    
Average 5605 5738 2%

The "new cases" volume for January was also significantly increased (5%). The OJCC is projecting an annual increase of about 2% for 2017.

  2015-16 2016-17 Change
July 2740 2538 -7%
August 2529 2936 16%
September 2625 2650 1%
October 2744 2406 -12%
November 2330 2509 8%
December 2354 2400 2%
January 2363 2487 5%
February 2600 2378 -9%
March 2739    
April 2579    
May 2638    
June 2937    
2598 2538

These projections are based upon the best information available, but are subject to change depending upon the potential filings volumes of the five months remaining in this fiscal year.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

New Report Published

In Florida, a great many statistics are gathered and published each fall. The workers' compensation law requires much of the reporting, and says that it shall be reported based on "fiscal year." The State of Florida operates on a fiscal year that begins July 1 each year. We are currently in fiscal 2017. To make this less confusing, we tend to hyphenate and refer to it as 2016-17. 

Last fall, the preparation of the 2015-16 Annual Report was punctuated by various requests for data and information regarding "the latest" information. As the prior year statistics were checked and prepared for publication, there were various inquiries regarding statistics since July 1, 2016. In an effort to provide information in a consistent format, for anyone to access, the Office of Judges of Compensation Claims prepared an abbreviated supplemental report regarding two frequent discussion points, case volumes and attorney fees. The report is available on the OJCC website,, under the "publications" tab and the "reports" sub tab. 

Monday, December 19, 2016

OJCC and WCI Present a free Educational Seminar - February 2017

Now What? Attorney Fees
After Castellanos and Miles
Sponsored by:

Friday, February 24, 2017, Tallahassee
8:30 am - 3:30 pm
At The Florida First District Court of Appeal
Multipurpose Meeting Room, First Floor
2000 Drayton Drive, Tallahassee, Florida
Educational Opportunity in Tallahassee
Judge Panels from Jacksonville, Orlando, Tallahassee, Daytona Beach,
Miami, Panama City, Pensacola, and Sebastian-Melbourne.
Presented Free of Charge to Attorneys, Legal Staff and Adjusters
For information concerning continuing education credits please contact WCI.
Please Complete the Attached Form to Register.

8:30 – 8:50 am Registration/Check-in
8:50 – 9:00 am Welcome to the First DCA
                          The Honorable L. Clayton Roberts, Chief Judge, First District Court of Appeal

                          Welcome to the Program
                          James N. McConnaughhay, Esq., WCI General Chair

                         Welcome from the OJCC/DOAH
                         The Honorable David W. Langham, Deputy Chief Judge of Compensation Claims

9:00 – 10:00 am What’s “Reasonable?” – Application of Castellanos to Employer/Carrier-Paid Fees
                         The Honorable Ralph J. Humphries, Jacksonville

                         The Honorable Neal Pitts, Orlando
                         Glen D. Wieland, Esq., Orlando
                         Frank C. Wesighan, Esq., Orlando

10:00 – 10:15 am Break

10:15 – 11:15 am Ethical Considerations Regarding Retainer Agreements, Hourly Fees, and                                        Contingent Percentages After Miles
                         The Honorable John J. Lazzara, Tallahassee

                         John Moneyham, Esq., Panama City
                         Ralph Douglas. Esq., Tallahassee
                         Patricia Ann Toro Savitz, Esq., The Florida Bar Ethics Attorney, Orlando

11:15 – 11:30 am Break

11:30 – 12:30 pm JCC Perspectives on Claimant-Paid Fees Under Miles
                         The Honorable Wilbur W. Anderson, Daytona Beach

                         The Honorable Sylvia Medina-Shore, Miami
                         The Honorable Jonathan Walker, Panama City
                         The Honorable Nolan S. Winn, Pensacola

12:30 – 1:15 pm Lunch (provided)

1:15 – 2:15 pm Getting To Ye$$ – The Impact of Castellanos and Miles on Reaching Agreements at                            Mediation
                         The Honorable Robert L. Dietz, Sebastian-Melbourne

                         John P. Brooks, Esq., Daytona Beach
                         Stuart F. Suskin, Esq., Gainesville
                         Christine L. Harter, Esq., Ocala
                         Thomas E. Glick, Esq., Miami

2:15 – 2:30 pm Break

2:30 – 3:30 pm Legislative Update – A Look Ahead at Proposed Legislative Changes to Chapter 440
                         Tamela Perdue, Esq., Tallahassee

                         Paul M. Anderson, Esq., Tallahassee
                         James N. McConnaughhay, Esq., Tallahassee

3:30 pm Adjourn

Presented Free of Charge to Attorneys, Legal Staff and Adjusters
For information concerning continuing education credits
please contact WCI.