The Division of Administrative Hearings amended the Florida 60Q Rules of Procedure for Workers’ Compensation Adjudications effective October 31, 2010 in an effort to advance a more efficient and self-executing workers’ compensation system. Some highlights include:
- Motion hearings will not be held except in exceptional circumstances and for good cause shown, a dramatic shift away from face-to-face interaction with the JCC. Written motions will be normally disposed after the response is filed or after the response period has expired, based on all supporting documentation filed. See Fla. Admin. Code R. 60Q-6.115(4).
- The E/C may now file a motion to require the Claimant to file a verified motion for attorney’s fees and costs and request adjudication. See Fla. Admin. Code R. 60Q-6.107(4).
- Failure to attend a mediation without good cause or full authority to resolve the issues shall subject the party or the attorney to sanctions. See Fla. Admin. Code R. 60Q-6.110(6).
- Any claims that are ripe, due, and owing, and all available defenses not raised in the pretrial stipulation are waived unless amended by the judge for good cause. See Fla. Admin. Code R. 60Q-6.113(2)(a).
- Impeachment/rebuttal witness and exhibits must be identified in the pretrial stipulation and trial brief memorandum. See Fla. Admin. Code R. 60Q-6.113(2)(d) and 60Q-6.116(7).
- No discovery shall be permitted within 10 days of the final hearing absent prior approval by the judge for good cause shown or by agreement of the parties. See Fla. Admin. Code R. 60Q-6.113(7).
- The revisions encourage electronic filing and promote a motion-based system, allowing judges to rule on issues without hearings.
- The Employer/Carrier’s newly established ability to push for a resolution of pending attorney’s fees and costs eliminates potential unnecessary delays and closes the procedural loophole used by claimant’s attorneys to use time as an additional bargaining tool. In addition, the new rules promote meaningful pretrial stipulations, streamline cases, and avoid surprises at the time of final hearing. The Amended Rules also maximize Judicial resources by offering video teleconference and/or video testimony.
For a complete review of the new rules, see www.flrules.org