The U.S. Supreme Court, taking the same position as the Florida Supreme Court, recently declined cert and therefore will not exercise judicial review over a case challenging the worker’s compensation system established in Florida. The U.S. Supreme Court gave no comment or explanation as to why they denied the petition filed by Daniel Stahl.
Mr. Stahl had hurt his back in an on-the-job injury at Hialeah Hospital. The injury limited the amount of physical activity he could do, and impaired his ability to work so severely that it effectively ended his ability to work as a nurse. He sued, with his argument being that workers’ compensation laws in Florida were “inadequate” based on the changes put in place by Governor Jeb Bush and the Legislature in 2003.
In April, the Florida Supreme Court gave a one paragraph opinion where it decided that the proper course of action was to “exercise our discretion and discharge jurisdiction” and therefore dismissed review. Because of the decisions by both the Florida and United States Supreme Courts, a First District Court of Appeal ruling is the most recent leading authority on the state of workers’ compensation in Florida. The First District held as valid the changes to the workers’ compensation law, in particular the elimination of permanent partial disability benefits. The First District also held as valid the 1994 addition of a $10 copay for all medical visits after the injured worker has hit maximum medical improvement.