U.S. Supreme Court Rejects Workers’ Comp Case

Nov 1, 2016

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to take up a case that raised questions about the constitutionality of Florida's workers' compensation insurance system.

The Supreme Court, as is common, did not explain its reasons for refusing to hear an appeal from Daniel Stahl, a former Hialeah Hospital nurse who suffered an on-the-job injury.

In state courts, Stahl's attorneys argued, in part, that a 2003 workers' compensation law was unconstitutional because it "decimated and eviscerated" benefits, while injured workers could not pursue civil lawsuits.

Stahl could not return to work as a nurse after injuring his back, but the 2003 law eliminated a type of benefit related to permanent partial disability, court documents said.

The state 1st District Court of Appeal ruled against Stahl in 2015, prompting him to take the case to the Florida Supreme Court.

The Florida justices heard arguments but ultimately decided against ruling in the case. The Stahl case was part of a series of challenges to the workers' compensation system.

The Florida Supreme Court in April issued a major ruling, finding that a limit on attorneys' fees in workers' compensation cases was unconstitutional.

That ruling helped lead regulators in October to approve a 14.5 percent increase in workers' compensation insurance rates and set the stage for a legislative battle in 2017 about the system.