Starnes Davis Florie


SDF ALERT: Alabama’s Workers Comp Law Unconstitutional?

May 17, 2017

As you have likely heard, a trial judge in Jefferson County recently ruled that Alabama’s Workers Compensation law is unconstitutional. Specifically, Judge Pat Ballard found that the $220.00 a week cap on permanent partial disability and the 15% cap on attorney’s fees are unconstitutional. These rulings resulted in the entire Act being held unconstitutional. Judge Ballard stayed his order for 120 days to allow the state legislature to take action. However, it does not appear that the legislature will have an opportunity to address the situation within this time frame. An appeal is inevitable. Of course, it will take time for the appellate courts to consider the case. Therefore, the current state of confusion will persist for the near term.

Our firm is coordinating efforts with the officers and directors of the Alabama Workers Compensation Defense Lawyers Association, which is a statewide association of outside counsel who specialize in workers comp defense work. The Association’s plan is to speak with employers and develop a united front to respond to this decision. The Association is discussing how best to proceed with that response at the appellate level and, potentially, also at the trial court level by way of an intervention. The hope is for employers statewide to respond uniformly.

Our workers compensation attorneys are closely monitoring the situation and available to advise on how your individual circumstances should be handled until this controversy is resolved:

Contributing Attorneys: Trip Umbach, Jeannie Walston, Andy Laird, Jordan Gerheim, Ben Presley, and Billy DeBuys

The following language is required by the Alabama Rules of Professional Conduct: No representation is made that the quality of legal services to be performed is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers.

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