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Battle to Help Injured Florida Workers Heats Up
Date:3/26/2008

Florida Supreme Court to Review Case of Emma Murray v. Mariner Health Care

April 9, 2008

MIAMI, March 26 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- It's known as Senate Bill 50A. For most Floridians that doesn't mean much of anything. However, for those Floridians who have been hurt on the job, Senate Bill 50A is something they have to endure.

The Bill went into effect in 2003, and since then, it has essentially given insurance companies carte blanche to destroy the lives of injured workers, heavily curtailing their benefits. They're left struggling to find legal representation because the Bill severely restricts claimant's attorney's fees while providing no cap on the insurance carrier's attorney's fees.

"Our Florida legislature passed a bill which is clearly unjust because it hands over the keys of the Workers' Compensation system to insurance companies at the expense of the injured worker," said Juan C. Parets, Florida Workers' Advocate President.

To date, five cases have been brought before the First District Court of Appeal and the Florida Supreme Court challenging the constitutionality of Senate Bill 50A. These were all dismissed until October 29, 2007 when the Supreme Court granted jurisdiction to review the case of Emma Murray v Mariner Health Care. Oral arguments for this case are scheduled for April 9, 2008 in the Florida Supreme Court in Tallahassee, 500 South Duval Street, Tallahassee, Florida.

On October 31, 2003, Emma Murray was injured on the job and her employer's insurance carrier contested her claim for workers' compensation, alleging a pre-existing condition. A Judges of Compensation Claims (JCC) hearing found in Murray's favor and awarded her $3,244.21 for lost time, medical expenses, interest and penalties.

Murray's attorney, Brian Sutter of Port Charlotte, was awarded only $648.84 for 84.4 hours of work, or $8.11 per hour. The judge called it "manifestly unfair" but had no choice in
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SOURCE Florida Workers' Advocates
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