Alabama workman’s compensation laws ruled unconstitutional

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) – A judge has ruled that two statutes of the Alabama Workmans Compensation Act are unconstitutional, thereby rendering the entire act unconstitutional because of a non-severability statute.

The Gadsden Times reports Jefferson County Circuit Judge Pat Ballard found fault with statutes capping recovery for workers permanently but not totally disabled at $220 per week, and capping attorney fees at 15 percent.

The decision was a response to a lawsuit brought by a woman against CVS Caremark Corp. in 2013 after she suffered a lower back injury on the job.

Attorneys presented evidence that the $220 cap was commensurate with standards in 1987, when the act was written, but was a fraction of minimum wage and poverty level standards today. Attorney Don Rhea says he hopes lawmakers will rewrite the act.

Judge Ballard stayed his ruling for 120 days to give the legislature time to act.


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