A Florida judge recently shot down NCCI and the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation’s (OIR) 14.5 percent rate hike for workers’ comp in that state, saying that NCCI held “secret” meetings without public notice, and because it is statutorily recognized, acted improperly in doing so. The ruling has been stayed pending a FLOIR appeal filed November 29th. Louisiana Comp Blog reached out to NCCI and Florida stakeholders to get their take on the issue.
Unprecedented flooding in Southern Louisiana has taken the lives of at least 13 people, left tens of thousands of people displaced, and washed away entire towns. Barriers to effective communication are still immense and could stay that way for weeks as the water recedes and people try to return home. In the face of this catastrophe, how can workers’ comp carriers best ensure that, first and foremost, claimants are taken care of, and also, protect themselves from legal challenges down the road?
The recent Lafayette Bone & Joint Clinic v. LUBA case decided by the Louisiana Supreme Court sought to settle questions regarding employer choice of pharmacy (about which courts have differed). In the following guest post, Jeffrey Napolitano, attorney with Juge, Napolitano, Guilbeau, Ruli & Frieman representing LUBA in this case, explains the matter and implications for carriers moving forward.
Louisiana Comp Blog’s July “Comp in Focus” luncheon met on Tuesday the 19th at Mr. B’s Bistro in New Orleans, with attendees gathering to discuss two current attorney fee issues. “Comp in Focus” is a bimonthly luncheon speaker series that addresses emergent issues in the workers’ compensation industry, with speakers from both employer/insurer and claimant/labor sides of the arena.
Coverage B, the secondary part of most workers’ comp policies, does not arise as often as the typical workers’ compensation claim, but when it does the stakes are high. Louisiana Comp Blog sat down with local attorney Stephen Miles of Barrasso Usdin Kupperman Freeman & Sarver in New Orleans to discuss the details of coverage B, the circumstances under which it becomes relevant, and why these cases could occupy a larger segment of the labor litigation space.
The Florida Supreme Court ruled late last week in the high profile Castellanos v. Next Door Co. case, saying that the state’s mandatory attorney’s fee schedule for workers’ compensation cases is unconstitutional under both the Florida Constitution and the U.S. Constitution as a violation of due process. Two justices dissented. Local attorneys gave Louisiana Comp Blog their thoughts on the case and whether or not attorney’s fees here could face similar scrutiny.
Last week, HB 665, the bill toughening penalties for employer misclassification, failed on the floor of the House. This week, relevant measures continue to move with consideration of HB 575 on Wednesday. The bill would amend the Constitution to change the status of workers’ comp judges from classified to unclassified and establish a five year term. Further, this month’s Workers’ Compensation Advisory Council meeting was moved to this week and will address Senator Gatti’s SB 44 on subrogation rights among other issues.
The following guest post by local claimant attorney Gregory J. Hubachek and D. Kirkhoff Brainard is the second in a two part series addressing solutions to Louisiana’s opioid epidemic. It is one of several policy papers addressing key issues for discussion in the 2016 Legislative Session. Below, Hubachek and Brainard discuss alternatives to a closed formulary for curbing opioid abuse in our state, placing particular emphasis on prescription drug monitoring databases and alternative therapies.
The March meeting of the Workers’ Compensation Advisory Council (WCAC) took place last Thursday at the Department of Insurance in Baton Rouge. Office of Workers’ Compensation Administration (OWCA) Director Sheral Kellar guided the Council and the public through several key pieces of business, including the appointment and introduction of the new Medical Director. Representative Chris Broadwater (pictured) gave presentations on a variety of bills he has filed for the 2016 Legislative Session, currently in its third week, and members voted on whether or not to recommend both his and several other pending instruments to the appropriate Committees.
Michelle Sorrells, workers’ comp claimant attorney of counsel with Walters, Papillion, Thomas, Cullens, LLC and co-chair of the Kids’ Chance scholarship program through the Louisiana Bar Foundation – among many other leadership roles – is this month’s “Women in Comp” featured executive. Find out what the born and raised Baton Rougian has to say about the range of work experience that inspires her practice today, and how being female confers some distinct advantages in the world of workers’ comp.