The First District Court of Appeals showed some courage and backbone recently in the case of Castellanos. The panel of Padavano, Benton, & Van Nortwick affirmed the lower court but agreed that the questions regarding the Constitutionality of the Workers Compensation fee provisions should be decided by the Florida Supreme Court.
Castellanos is big news, because many in Florida have felt the First District Court of Appeals had been obstructionist by refusing to allow the constitutional challenge to make it through to the Florida Supreme Court. The Appellate courts are appointed by the Governor, and many thought they wouldn’t have the courage and backbone to do the right thing by the injured workers of Florida.
The politics of the Special Interests who run Florida are against the middle class protections that were built into the original workers compensation law in Chapter 440. HB 941 was passed in 2012 allowing the Special Interests to keep over 200 million dollars worth of excess profits earned by denying injured workers Access to Courts, so expect a huge push back from the corrupt against the Castellanos decision. HB 941 abolished the law that mandated excess profits be returned to policyholders.
Our present Appeal, cited as the companion case/similar case to Castellanos, is still at the 1st DCA being briefed. It will be interesting to see if the courage of the 1st DCA withstands the pressure of the Special Interests, as we are asking for similar reief in our case.