Welcome to the Workers' Compensation Section Home Page.
Your Executive Council has created this site in an effort to encourage and facilitate communication and exchange of ideas among the members of our Section. Enjoy! The purpose of the Workers' Compensation Section is to provide an organization within The Florida Bar open to all members in good standing who have a common interest in workers' compensation law. The Section provides a forum for discussion and exchange of ideas leading to the improvement of individual trial abilities in workers' compensation cases.
Send mail with questions or comments about this web site to:
Richard J Manno, Esq.
1099 W. Morse Blvd.
Winter Park, FL., 32789
On April 9th-10th, 2015 the Workers’ Compensation Section of the Florida Bar and the Association of Workers’ Compensation Claims Professionals (WCCP) will present the 2015 Florida Bar Workers’ Compensation Forum! This year the Forum plans to feature the latest in legal, claims, medical and vocational topics, all of which center around the FL Bar’s traditional Certification Review Course. This full slate of advanced programming will be delivered across two educational tracks that are attended by members of the Florida Bar, board certified workers’ compensation adjusters seeking to earn or maintain their advanced board certification, and other members of the Florida workers’ compensation claims, medical, and vocational community.
1500 Masters Blvd.
Champions Gate, FL., 33896
Filing Volumes Increased in 2014
The State's fiscal year concluded June 30, 2014. The OJCC is now in fiscal year 2015. The work has begun to tabulate various statistics and there will be a long audit process as numbers are checked and rechecked. However, the initial figures indicate that petition for benefit filing increased in 2014 by approximately 2%. New case filings also increased in 2014 according to the initial figures, about 3%, returning almost to 2011 volumes. These are the first increases in cases and petitions since 2008-09.
Changes in Pensacola Mediation Procedures
Mediator Wallace Hardy will retire at the end of July. This will leave Pensacola without a full-time mediator. Effective August 1, 2014 Pensacola mediations will be covered telephonically by Eddie Oramas in Panama City district. The staff Panama City will monitor for petition filings and schedule mediations on all Pensacola cases. Panama City staff will generate and upload notices of telephonic mediation, and the resulting mediation conference reports. If the Pensacola office staff receives a notice of cancellation or notice of voluntary dismissal or uploads a settlement order or uploads an order allowing private mediation, then the Pensacola staff will inform the Panama City staff of the change so that they can adjust the appointments on Mr. Oramas' calendar. Parties wishing to reschedule a mediation should contact the Panama City District Office directly. Parties should coordinate their attendance at mediation with Mr. Oramas. Any and all parties are welcome to come to the Pensacola District Office to attend mediation, and can call the Panama City office from there.
Thanks to our Judges who recently spoke at Seminars
In April, the Workers' Compensation Section presented the Forum in Orlando. This included presentations by Judges Sojourner (LKL) and Rosen (SPT) Lorenzen (TPA) and Judge Renee Hill (GNS). Mediator Stuart Suskin (GNS) also presented. In April, Judges Pitts (ORL), Punancy (WPB), Rosen (SPT) and Sojourner (LKL) presented at the WCI Spring Forum at the Caribe Royal in Orlando. In May, Judges Charles Hill (MIA), Geraldine Hogan (FTL), and Margaret Kerr (MIA) presented Changes in Workers' Compensation, Statutory Case Law and Procedural Rules at the Friends of 440 Annual Banquet. In June, Judges Renee Hill (GNS) and Nolan Winn (PNS) presented a view from the bench at the FWA annual educational conference in Orlando.
Temporary Trial Assignments in District MIA
The MIA district remains one judge short. As a result of that absence, other judges have been covering trials in Judge Castiello's division. Until further notice, all active GCC division cases in District MIA will be overseen by the following judges:
Judge Almeyda - All case numbers beginning with "14-"
Judge Medina-Shore - All case numbers not beginning with "14-" and ending in either "1" or "2"
Judge Kerr - All case numbers not beginning with "14-" and ending in either "3" or "4"
Judge Rosen - All case numbers not beginning with "14-" and ending in either "5" or "6"
Judge Massey - All case numbers not beginning with "14-" and ending in either "7" or "8"
Judge Charles Hill - All case numbers not beginning with "14-" and ending in either "9" or "0"
This will hopefully provide practitioners with predictability regarding their upcoming trials. In situations where more than one case number is currently active for a particular injured worker, the judge handling the combination of the multiple cases is based upon the last digit of the lowest of the Claimant's active case numbers. For example, if a Claimant has case number 13-xxxxx5 and 12-xxxxx9, the case would be handled by Judge Hill because the lower case number ends in "9."
Statewide Judicial Nominating Commission to Meet
The Statewide Nominating Commission for Judges of Compensation Claims (SNCJCC) announces that it will meet on Monday, August 18, 2014 at 9:00am at the Orlando World Center Marriott Resort & Convention Center, 8701 World Center Drive Orlando, Florida 32821, for the purpose of interviewing the following Judges of Compensation Claims (JCC's) for reappointment: Honorable Geraldine Hogan (FTL), Honorable Ray Holley (JAX), Honorable Ralph Humphries (JAX), Honorable Margaret Sojourner (LKL), Honorable E. Douglas Spangler (FTM), Honorable Kathy Sturgis (FTM), and Honorable Nolan Winn (PNS).
E-filing Reminder and Tip
How do you properly file attachments to PFBs? Typically the attachment is a medical record and some attorneys insist on filing them as a "Pleading" and naming it "Support for PFB" or "Medical Records in support of PFB #2," when they could quite simply file using the "Medical/Exempt Records" selection in eJCC which also asks to which PFB the document is supposed to be attached. The docket code would be MR instead of PF if filed correctly.
Vacancies on the Statewide Nominating Commission
Upcoming Chances to See Our OJCC Speakers
On August 19, 2014, see Judges Basquill (WPB), Humphries (JAX), Kerr (MIA) and Rosen (SPT) at the WCI conference at the Marriott World Center in Orlando. They will present "The Workers' Compensation Practice from the Judicial Perspective."
On August 19, 2014, see Judge Thomas Sculco (ORL) at the WCI conference at the Marriott World Center in Orlando. As part of a panel including attorneys Paul Kelley, Sean O'Connor, Frank Wesighan, and Scott Williams will present "Focus on Ethics and Professionalism."
The Annual Survey is Concluded
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The Florida Bar Continuing Legal Education Committee and The Workers’ Compensation Section Present
COURSE CLASSIFICATION: Intermediate LEVEL
Message from the Chair
By William H. Rogner, Esq. Orlando, FL
I am honored to serve as Chair the Workers’ Compensation Section of The Florida Bar for 2014 – 2015. I hope to continue to lead our Section in the pursuit of legal excellence, professionalism, and the promotion
of an enjoyable and sustainable Florida workers’ compensation legal practice. This pursuit requires a collaborative effort among all members of the Section, which include lawyers representing injured workers, lawyers representing industry, mediators, and Judges of Compensation Claims.
As Chair, I hope to foster the continued collegiality and courtesy between workers’ compensation practitioners that appealed to me as a new lawyer over 23 years ago. I routinely hear lawyers in other practice areas lament acrimony and distrust among lawyers. Conversely, with very few exceptions I greatly enjoy the relationships with my opponents in workers’ compensation matters. Moreover, my service on the Section’s Executive Council has allowed my to develop relationships with workers’ compensation lawyers statewide that I would have otherwise never met. I recommend service on the Executive Council and I encourage Section members to run for positions as they become available.
Even more importantly, I aim to foster and improve upon the relationship Section members have with the Judges of Compensation Claims. Without hesitation, I contend that we have never had a more professional, talented, and knowledgeable cadre of Judges. The leadership of Deputy Chief Judge Langham has been exemplary, leading to unprecedented technological innovation, timely dissemination of information, and open communication between practitioners and the judiciary. I hope to increase both JCC membership in the Section and their active participation in the Section.
Finally, during my term I hope to expand and improve the Section’s outstanding educational services. I have called upon Dawn Traverso to continue coordinating our webcast seminars. She has done, and will continue to do, exemplary work. I encourage Section members to get involved by volunteering to teach a one-hour course on a topic of your choice. Contact Dawn or myself if interested. I am also committed to growing and improving the Workers’ Compensation Forum, the premier Florida workers’ compensation educational conference. Led by Leo Garcia, and co-sponsored by WCCP, the Forum is a Florida-focused, advanced educational opportunity that should not be missed. I encourage Section member firms to take advantage of sponsorship opportunities, which provide valuable exposure to leaders in the business and insurance industries.
I offer my sincere thanks and appreciation to outgoing Section Chair Chris Smith. Chris’ dedication, passion, and commitment will be missed. Fortunately, he remains on the Council as the Immediate Past-Chair and I intend to call on him frequently. I congratulate Chair-Elect Mike Winer, who is both a friend and worthy adversary. I also offer my appreciation for the tireless efforts of Alan Kalinoski and Joanne Prescott, who will remain in the roles of Treasurer and Secretary, respectively. I wish to recognize the outstanding work of program coordinator Willie Mae Shepherd, without whom I would be lost. I applaud the continued efforts of News & 440 editor Jeff Appel and I encourage Section members to submit articles to Jeff for publication. Finally, thank you to those that graciously agreed to serve as committee chairs during my term.
I applaud the continued work of our section lobbyist Fausto Gomez. Along with legislative committee chairs Chris Smith and Rick Thompson, Fausto will be ready to address any legislation that may be considered during the 2015 session. Your Council's dedicated team of leaders provides experience from both a claimant and defense perspective that can be of assistance to legislators as they address changes to our workers’ compensation system.
Sincerely, Bill Rogner