Updated Oct. 9, 2019
Bill Herrle, NFIB’s state executive director for Florida, released the following statement today in response to Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier’s remarks at today’s National Council of Compensation Insurance public rate hearing on a proposed 5.4 percent decrease in the state’s workers’ compensation rates for 2020:
“I was glad to see Commissioner Altmaier drill down into the issue of attorneys’ fees. He made a real difference in finally breaking the logjam on the assignment of benefits last year. If today’s hearing means the commissioner is ready to correct the Castellanos opinion, then the small business community can be optimistic that something may happen.”
In the case of Castellanos v. Next Door Company, the Florida Supreme Court ruled in 2016 that the state’s mandatory attorney fee schedule for workers’ comp cases was unconstitutional. NFIB warned at the time that the ruling would devastate small businesses by allowing workers’ comp litigation to explode.
“Today’s testimony showed that, despite the declining workers’ comp rates, attorneys fees as a portion of settled claims have nearly doubled since the Castellanos opinion. Commissioner Altmaier’s leadership on the issue will make a real difference”