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Jeff V. Layson and W. Greg Harvey, both of Bowling Green, have been appointed as ALJs with the Ky. Department of Workers’ Claims.  Layson’s term expires July 14, 2020, while Harvey’s term expires December 31, 2017.

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The DWC has announced that per a KBA opinion issued May 1, 2017, preparation and filing of a Form 110-Agreement as to Compensation constitutes the practice of law under SCR 3.020.  Therefore, the DWC will no longer accept Form 110 settlement agreements prepared by individuals not licensed to practice law in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

Beginning July 1, 2017, all Department of Workers’ Claims (DWC) submissions must be made in electronic format via the DWC’s Litigation Managment System (LMS).  However, due to the ongoing development of the capacity of the LMS to receive and process settlement agreements in electronic format, the DWC will continue, until further notice, to accept Form 110 Settlement Agreements in paper format subsequent to July 1, 2017.

The Workers’ Compensation Nominating Committee has recommended three nominees for the Administrative Law judge position, term expiring December 31, 2017, in the Department of Workers’ Claims.

Nominees are:  Anthony Gray, a defense attorney with Quintairos Prieto Wood Boyer of Lexington, KY; W. Greg Harvey, a Bowling Green, KY defense attorney with Kerrick Bachert; and Gregory Schabell, a Covington, KY plaintiff’s attorney with Berger and Cox.  This is Schabell’s 4th nomination for the position.

Sorry-were-closed-signThe Kentucky DWC announces that effective June 30, 2017, the Louisville DWC hearing site at 410 W. Chestnut Street will permanently close.  Beginning July 1, 2017 all Louisville dockets will be temporarily relocated and conducted at the Frankfort hearing site, 1025 Capital Center Drive, Frankfort, Kentucky.

Old-workerIn a decision rendered April 27, 2017, the Kentucky Supreme Court addressed the constitutionality of KRS 342.730(4) (adopted in 1996), which allows for the termination of workers’ compensation benefits when the injured employee qualifies for “normal old-age Social Security retirement benefits” under 42, U.S.C. secs. 301 to 1387f, or two years after the employee’s injury, whichever last occurs.

In deeming KRS 342.730(4) unconstitutional under the Equal Protection Clause, the Court found there was no reasonable basis for treating older injured workers differently from younger injured workers. The Court also found that KRS 342.730(4) violates the prohibition against special legislation found in Section 59 of the Kentucky Constitution, noting that “[a] special law is legislation which arbitrarily or beyond reasonable justification discriminates against some persons or objects and favors others.” (citation omitted)

Read the opinion here.

The Ky. Finance Cabinet has released the mileage rate for April through June 2017.  The rate will be .40.

2017 mileage rate april through june

The Ky. Senate has given HB 296 its second reading and returned it to the Senate Economic Development Committee.   As of today, a meeting of the committee has not been scheduled.

question-mark10William P. Emrick, without explanation, has been replaced as Acting Commissioner of the Department of Workers’ Claims (DWC) by Michael J. Nemes, who is Deputy Secretary of the Kentucky Labor Cabinet.  No explanation or official statement from the DWC has been issued.

billA new bill relating to workers’ compensation has been introduced in the Ky. House. Plaintiff attorneys express concern about the bill and its potential reduction of injured worker benefits, especially medical benefits.  It, in part, addresses recent case law regarding the statute of limitations for reopening a claim and payment of TTD benefits. The bill further addresses attorney fees, subrogation and a pharmaceutical formulary, among other topics.

A summary of the bill with a link to the complete text is set forth below:

HB 296/LM (BR 1013) – A. Koenig, B. Rowland, J. DeCesare, M. Dossett

AN ACT relating to workers’ compensation.
Amend KRS 342.020 to limit the obligation to pay medical benefits indefinitely for certain permanent partial disabilities; limit medical benefits to age 70 or four years after date of injury, whichever is later, except for permanent total awards or awards involving prosthetic devices which continue for as long as the employee is disabled; limit the number of urine drug screens for which an employer, insurer, or payment obligor is required to pay; amend KRS 342.035 to require the commissioner of the Department of Workers’ Claims to develop, adopt, and implement treatment guidelines and a pharmaceutical formulary on or before December 31, 2018; amend KRS 342.040 to reduce the amount of interest paid on awards; amend KRS 342.125 to clarify that the four-year reopening window begins only from the date of the original order granting or denying benefits; amend KRS 342.185 to provide a statute of repose for cumulative trauma claims; amend KRS 342.320 to increase limitation on attorney’s fees to $18,000; amend KRS 342.700 to extend subrogation recovery of medical expenses and delete reference to legal fees and expense; amend KRS 342.730 to allow payment of temporary total disability benefits to be offset for net wages paid to an employee during a period of light-duty work or work in an alternative job position; amend KRS 342.990 to conform; specify the applicability of substantive changes to claims arising on or after effective date of Act and remedial changes to all claims irrespective of injury date.

Read the Lexington-Herald Leader story on the bill.

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