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


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


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, www.fljcc.org, 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
                         Moderator:
                         The Honorable Ralph J. Humphries, Jacksonville

                         Panel:
                         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
                         Moderator:
                         The Honorable John J. Lazzara, Tallahassee

                         Panel:
                         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
                         Moderator:
                         The Honorable Wilbur W. Anderson, Daytona Beach

                         Panel:
                         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
                         Moderator:
                         The Honorable Robert L. Dietz, Sebastian-Melbourne

                         Panel:
                         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
                         Moderator:
                         Tamela Perdue, Esq., Tallahassee

                         Panel:
                         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.



Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Processes in Vacant Judicial Positions

Port St. Lucie Process Changes
Judge Robert McAliley has retired effective April 30, 2016. We thank him for years of service to this agency and the people of Florida. Effective May 1, 2016, Final Hearings, Evidentiary Hearings related to pre-trial issues and Attorney Fee Hearings for cases assigned to Judge McAliley’s division will be reassigned by Judge Langham. This will generally occur 14-21 days in advance of the hearing date to hopefully prevent moving cases that may yet resolve prior to trial. Mediations will continue as normal in PSL. Settlements and motions, stipulations and evidentiary hearings on motions for advance, motions to enforce settlement or motions to dismiss on cases that are not reassigned for trial will be considered and ruled upon by Judge Dietz. We will keep you posted on the appointment process and any decisions. 

Ft. Myers Process Changes
Judge Sturgis has retired. Effective April 1, 2016, Final Hearings, Evidentiary Hearings related to pre-trial issues and Attorney Fee Hearings for cases assigned to Judge Sturgis’ division will be reassigned by Judge Langham. This will generally occur 14-21 days in advance of the hearing date to hopefully prevent moving some cases that may yet resolve prior to trial. Mediations will continue as normal in FTM. Settlements and motions, stipulations and evidentiary hearings on motions for advance, motions to enforce settlement or motions to dismiss on cases that are not reassigned for trial will be considered and ruled upon by Judge Weiss. We will keep you posted on the appointment process and any decisions. 

Process Changes in JCC Punancy’s Division West Palm Beach 
Effective March 14, 2016, Final Hearings, Evidentiary Hearings related to pre-trial issues and Attorney Fee Hearings for cases assigned to Judge Punancy’s division will be reassigned by Judge Langham. This will generally occur 14-21 days in advance of the hearing date to hopefully prevent moving some cases that may yet resolve prior to trial. Mediations will continue to be conducted as normal in WPB. Settlements and motions, stipulations and evidentiary hearings on motions for advance, motions to enforce settlement or motions to dismiss on cases that are not reassigned for trial will be considered and ruled upon by Judge Anderson. Questions regarding order status, however, should still be directed to Judge Punancy’s staff. 

Retirement and Changes in JCC Basquill’s Division WPB
Effective May 12, 2016 Judge Basquill will retire after many years of dedicated service to Floridians and the workers’ compensation system. Effective that day, Final Hearings, Evidentiary Hearings related to pre-trial issues and Attorney Fee Hearings for cases assigned to Judge Basquill’s division will be reassigned by Judge Langham. This will generally occur 14-21 days in advance of the hearing date to hopefully prevent moving some cases that may yet resolve prior to trial. Mediations will continue to be conducted as normal in WPB. Settlements and motions, stipulations and evidentiary hearings on motions for advance, motions to enforce settlement or motions to dismiss on cases that are not reassigned for trial will be considered and ruled upon by Judge Rosen. Questions regarding order status, however, should still be directed to Judge Basquill’s staff. 

Reiterating Panama City Process Changes
Effective February 1, 2016, trials for cases assigned to Panama City will be reassigned by Judge Langham. This will generally occur 7-21 days in advance of the hearing date to hopefully prevent moving some cases that resolve prior to trial. Mr. Oramas remains in PMC and will be conducting mediations. Settlements and motions and stipulations on cases that are not reassigned for trial will be considered and ruled upon by Judge Winn in Pensacola. Questions regarding order status, however, should still be directed to the PMC staff.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Judge Akins Honored

The local bar, various judges, staff and even former staff, gathered in Gainesville District this week to honor Judge Elwin Akins. Judge Akins was inducted to the Florida Workers' Compensation Hall of Fame this year. His plaque was presented to the Gainesville District Office, where it will be maintained and displayed in his honor. It is great to be able to remember our past and those who did so much for Florida workers' compensation. 


More on Judge Akins here