Workman's Comp Laws Ruled Unconstitutional

May 9, 2017

A circuit judge has ruled that parts of Alabama’s Workman’s Compensation Act are unconstitutional – meaning the whole act is 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’s fees at 15 percent.

Ballard’s decision was in response to a lawsuit brought against CVS Caremark Corporation in 2013, after an employee suffered a lower back injury on the job. Attorneys presented evidence that the employee’s $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.

Ballard is staying his order for 120 days so that the Alabama Legislature can correct the offending statutes. Attorney Don Rhea says he hopes state legislators will rewrite the act.