Florida Supreme Court Delivers Coup de Gras to Padgett

In a short—yet stinging—Order issued late yesterday [December 22, 2015], the Supreme Court of Florida declined to accept jurisdiction and accordingly denied a petition for review that had been filed by a claimants’ group seeking to overturn the exclusive remedy provision of Florida’s Workers’ Compensation Law (“the Act”) [Fla. Stat. § 440.11]. Readers will recall that on August 19, 2014, the Circuit Court for Miami-Dade County, in what has become known as “the Padgett case,” held the exclusive remedy provision was unconstitutional, essentially on the grounds that the original “bargain” between employees and employers had been so eroded in favor of employers that the Act could no longer withstand constitutional scrutiny.

This past summer Florida’s Third District Court of Appeal reversed and completely repudiated the Circuit Court’s Padgett decision, however, saying the original case had been so “transformed” into a “completely different set of claims and parties” that the case lost, inter alia, the essential elements of a justiciable case or controversy, lacking an identifiable and properly-joined defendant [see my earlier post]. In its short Order, the Florida Supreme Court not only declined to hear the case, it also said it would not entertain a motion for rehearing.

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