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Settlement Announced in Case Finding Comp Act Unconstitutional

Friday, November 10, 2017 | 1009 | 0 | 209 min read

The case that prompted a circuit court judge to declare caps on weekly payments for permanent partial disability and attorney fees were unconstitutional was settled Wednesday, according to a report on the Alabama Media Group’s website AL.com.

Judge Pat Ballard

Judge Pat Ballard

Documents filed with the Jefferson County Circuit Court indicated CVS Caremark Corp. agreed to pay a settlement to Nora Clower and provide an annuity, the newspaper consortium reports.

Clower’s attorney, Lawrence King, filed the lawsuit after CVS disputed benefits owed to his client for a claim in November 2013 over a back injury.

Circuit Court Judge Pat Ballard in May said statutes capping weekly PPD benefits at $220 and limiting attorney fees to 15% of awarded benefits were both unconstitutional. Because two separate provisions were unconstitutional, the judge said the entire Workers’ Compensation Act was void.

A week after issuing his decision, the judge stayed his ruling indefinitely to give state lawmakers time to fix the laws so the act would pass constitutional muster.

AL.com reports that King vowed to continue efforts to increase the state’s cap on benefits, which has not been updated since 1987.

“In practical effect, regarding the law itself, we are back to square one in terms of an antiquated and outdated system unfair to wounded workers, and our work to push the modernization effort will continue on behalf of working Alabamians statewide,” he said.


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