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WLSC Appellate Win: 1st DCA Reverses JCC Decision to Grant 1st Responder PTSD indemnity benefits

Palm Beach County Fire Rescue and Preferred Governmental Claims Solutions v. Andrew Wilkes, 1D20-1615. (PDF Link Here)

In a high-stakes case for municipalities in Florida, the 1st DCA reversed the JCC’s award of PTSD indemnity benefits pursuant to the 2018 amendments to Fla. Stat. Sec. 112.1815(5) which provided for indemnity benefits for a “mental/mental” injury sustained by First Responders.  The Court held that the statute contained an unusual statute of repose which required that a claim for benefits under the statute be brought within 52 weeks of certain delineated qualifying events.  (The JCC had held that a claim could be brought within 52 weeks of manifestation of PTSD.)

Had the JCC’s decision not been reversed, the proverbial flood gates would have been open exposing municipalities and other employers of First Responders to exposure of PTSD claims whose originating events could have occurred at any time in the past.  Walton Lantaff partners Michele Ready and Stephen Kaufer represented Palm Beach County.

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