"age, race, creed, color, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, military status, sex, disability, predisposing genetic characteristics, familial status, marital status, or status as a victim of domestic violence."
Tuesday, June 6, 2023
Sunday, June 4, 2023
Fee Schedules Revised
"have an adverse impact on small business or if the proposed rule is likely to directly or indirectly increase regulatory costs in excess of $200,000 in the aggregate within 1 year after the implementation of the rule."
- "impact economic growth . . . in excess of $1 million in the aggregate."
- adverse(ly) impact on business competitiveness . . . in excess of $1 million in the aggregate."
- "increase regulatory costs, including transactional costs . . . in excess of $1 million in the aggregate."
"shall be submitted to the President of the Senate and Speaker of the House of Representatives no later than 30 days prior to the next regular legislative session, and the rule may not take effect until it is ratified by the Legislature."
Thursday, June 1, 2023
- Would this depend upon when the accident happened (before or after the Governor signed CS/CS/HB487?
- Would it depend upon when the medical conflict became known?
- Would it depend upon when the party seeking an EMA filed the notice or motion?
Tuesday, May 30, 2023
Major Change in the EMA
"(9) EXPERT MEDICAL ADVISORS.—(c) If there is disagreement in the opinions of the health care providers, if two health care providers disagree on medical evidence supporting the employee's complaints or the need for additional medical treatment, or if two health care providers disagree that the employee is able to return to work, the department may, and the judge of compensation claims may
shall, upon his or her own motion or within 15 days after receipt of a written request by either the injured employee, the employer, or the carrier, order the injured employee to be evaluated by an expert medical advisor."
"amending s. 440.13, F.S.; authorizing, rather than requiring, a judge of compensation claims to order an injured employee's evaluation by an expert medical advisor under certain circumstances;"
Sunday, May 28, 2023
IN MEMORYOF THE MEN AND WOMEN
WHO SERVED IN THE VIETNAM WAR
AND LATER DIED AS A RESULT
OF THEIR SERVICE
People are largely enamored with "the wall" now. There are replicas in places like Pensacola (park pictured above) and Wildwood, New Jersey. There are traveling replicas that appear in city after city throughout the year. But I remember when the wall was criticized, the designer ridiculed. There were those who protested construction of that monument forty years ago. They were wrong. There is value in remembering. There is beauty in simplicity. There is catharsis in community.
Inumerable veterans have died here from the scars and exposures of their experiences elsewhere. Despite coming home, some war killed them. Some quicker than others, but killed nonetheless. Many of those that returned were greeted with scorn, hatred, and vitriol by people who lacked the intellect to comprehend them. The protestor and dissident disagreement with their government morphed into disrespect for those who sacrifice, follow orders, and serve.
Thursday, May 25, 2023
Built-in Loneliness Gene?
"Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio?Our nation turns its lonely eyes to you"
Tuesday, May 23, 2023
Work Comp Academy 2023
- Natalie Cavallaro
- Ana Gonzalez-Fajardo
- Hon Margret Kerr
- Lindsay Koppelman
- Javier Melendez
- Tara Pachter
- Hon. Neal Pitts
- Catharine Frances Agacinski, Esq.
- Holley Akers, Esq.
- Judge Wilbur Anderson
- Judge Brian Anthony
- Judge Robert Arthur
- Courtney Collins Bahe, Esq.
- Caitlin Beyl, Esq.
- John Paul Brooks, Esq.
- Jessica Carrier, Esq.
- Judge Barbara Case
- Natalie Cavallaro, Esq.
- Amie DeGuzman, Esq.
- Linda Farrell, Esq.
- Ana Gonzalez-Fajardo, Esq.
- Karen Gilmartin, Esq.
- Kristen Gottfried, Esq.
- Silvia Maria Hoeg, Esq.
- Judge Jill E. Jacobs
- Daniel Todd Jaffe, Esq.
- Judge Margret Kerr
- Ryan Michael Knight, Esq.
- Lindsay Jo Koppelman, Esq.
- Judge Sylvia Medina-Shore
- Javier Melendez Santiago, Esq.
- Gary Alan Miller, Esq.
- Judge John Moneyham
- Ivan P Morales
- Tara Pachter, Esq.
- Judge James “Pete” Peterson
- Judge Neal Pitts
- Barbara Richard, Esq.
- Grethel San Miguel-Callejas, Esq.
- Judge Lourdes Sancerni
- Judge Megan Silver
- Carolyn “Lyn” Slowikowski, Esq.
- Judge Timothy Stanton
- Dawn Traverso, Esq.
- Judge Rita Young
Sunday, May 21, 2023
I hate these posts. I am compelled and driven to write them but hate these posts.
In January 2022, I marked the passing of Judge Dietz. I admired him and his quirky humor. I noted then the death of several others such as Douglas Myers, Jack Langdon, Bob Barrett, and Hon. Joseph Farrell. I am tired of these events and feel the weight of age each time I sit to pen one. It is a cost and burden of becoming old, seeing your friends and peers pass from this earth.
I got an email several weeks back. It advised me that Jon Wheeler was not doing well. I have known former Clerk Wheeler for several decades, and that was bad news. It seemed like only days thereafter before I received word that he had passed.
I suspect many will not remember Jon. He retired from the Court in 2017 and faded into his favorite pastime, supporting FSU sports. I heard of his travels (family mostly) and retirement through mutual friends but lost touch with him as the years passed. Certainly, COVID did not help in the "keeping in touch" realm either.
I ran into him early in my career and found him somewhat larger than life. He was the Clerk of the Florida First District Court when I wrote my first appellate brief. I sent it to the Court on the final day before my deadline, by overnight delivery. But, I made a technical error. I was proud when Mr. Wheeler called me personally to compliment my prudence with the delivery method and embarrassed by his explanation of my very simple error. He helped me rectify my mistake and was patient and kind in doing so.
Jon was sometimes sarcastic and even sardonic. He was persistently outgoing and helpful though. I recall another instance I became involved with in my early career. A senior lawyer and I disagreed on a rule interpretation. I suggested we "call the Clerk." The older lawyer mocked me and advised quite imperiously (1) that the Court Clerk would not take my call and (2) that I was being naive. Guess who took the call, listened patiently to a very new lawyer, and provided sound and patient advice? Guess what an old lawyer's face looks like when an authority figure behaves with grace, poise and patience?
I did a fair number of appeals in my practice. Hint, it happens when you lose a lot at trial. I was likely someone the various clerk staff at the Court had a few laughs about. What I lacked in talent and intellect, I sometimes partially made up for with energy and persistence. Other times, I likely just frustrated those poor clerks.
I have two more very vivid memories of Jon. The first involves the Legislature's 1994 decision to compel the Court to have oral arguments via video conference. The Court was tied into a network of video facilities owned by the state. The oral argument notice told us where to go and when. I was comfortable in my office one morning in lovely downtown Ponte Vedra (back then, that was two grocery stores, a gas station, and a couple of restaurants). The phone rang, and it was Clerk Wheeler calling.
He said, literally, "Mr. Langham, where are you?" Keep in mind folks, back then most phones were connected to the wall with a wire. You could walk around with it but could not leave the building. Cell phones existed, but they were expensive (we paid by the minute), analog, and people rarely shared their numbers widely. Thus, he well knew where I was, and I found the question confusing.
As I sputtered and strove to respond, he clarified "You are supposed to be in an oral argument, the judges are on the bench, where are you?" Fortunately, the case was not mine. I was listed on the paperwork, but my partner was handling the argument. Jon and I worked together and soon learned that all the lawyers were in a hallway in downtown Jacksonville. They could see the bench through a narrow window in the locked door. With some effort, the bench managed to bring the camera to see that little window and the frantic lawyers. I would not have wanted to be on the other end of Mr. Wheeler's next call to the Jacksonville building manager.
Years later, having worked on many projects with Mr. Wheeler, I ran into him one evening in a hallway at the annual workers' compensation conference. He was adorned with his nametag, dressed in a Hawaiian shirt, and wore several bright, neon "glow sticks." I remained in my usual suit and tie. We paused for a moment, and I asked him if he was having a good time. He complimented the food available in a particular suite down the hall, and said to me "You should get some, and try to lighten up a little." I guess my face did not reflect comprehension as he dryly and critically added "Lose the tie judge, office hours are over." After a short pause, he added "live a little."
I am fortunate to have known Clerk Wheeler. I enjoyed his stories of the Air Force, the Judge Advocate's office, his family, the Court generally, and the challenges of implementing e-filing there. Many may forget that the First District led the way to appellate e-filing, and he deserves some measure of credit. Many may forget that Mr. Wheeler was a person that got the job done.
He was persistent and insistent. He was collaborative and helpful when asked. However, he did not suffer fools lightly. I learned much from him over the years and am troubled by his passing. My thoughts are with his family, and all who were touched by his professionalism, friendship, and presence. Goodbye, Jon. "May the road rise up to meet you," may the good Lord keep you. You will be sorely missed.The following are thoughts shared with me in recent days
- Impish smile.
- Passed after coping with a nagging illness.
- Clerk for almost 30 years. After retiring from USAF as a JAG Colonel in the Pentagon.
- Avid, almost fanatical, FSU sports fan.
- FSU Law Grad, in the first charter class.
- After retirement, he devoted time to his family and grandkids.
- Supported the annual educational efforts of the OJCC with appellate tips and stats. And managed the First DCA oral arguments during the annual WC conference in Orlando.
- Very nice, professional, and just a good person.
Thursday, May 18, 2023
The Postman Rings?
It all started when some fellow from the federal government showed up at my office. We were initially surprised and somewhat taken aback. He explained that response is not uncommon. He was here to bring us something called "mail." This involves someone putting pen to paper, applying a stamp and address, and providing this all to the government. They truck the paper all over the place, sort it, and then deliver it. Right to your door, I kid you not.
It became apparent to me from my conversation that this fellow does this on a daily basis. There are apparently some people that do a lot of this paper sending. He explained that much of it is "junk" and that it should not concern us if we do not see him for long periods. Somehow, the fellow looked like Kevin Costner to me, but I cannot place why.
But, the Postman does not always ring twice (great title, but the film is not even about mail, go figure). It is rare that we see a Postman at all. The days of paper are behind us. Us dinosaurs lament it, but we understand it nonetheless.
What did the Postman deliver?
I had received an email several weeks back. A law school was having a competition for first-year students. They were delivering closing arguments in a mock trial setting. They wanted volunteer judges, and I am a sucker for students. So, I clicked to volunteer.
That was a lesson in itself. I learned about an app that lets me read shared spreadsheets on my phone. I learned how to make alterations to this sheet in the cloud, and add my name to the volunteer list. I am struggling with evolving technology, but it is so worthwhile to be challenged and to learn. The young people running that competition forced me to grow. God bless them.
I tuned in as instructed, scored the round, and took some time to provide feedback. Both of the competitors were well prepared, and had memorized their material. Both were somewhat nervous and seemed to dislike the virtual experience a bit. Each was outstanding overall but had some elements that might benefit from some further work. In all, I was impressed, proud, and encouraged.
That was weeks ago. This was in early April. The experience had slipped my mind after a few days. I remembered to wonder a couple of times if one of the students I mentored had progressed or even prevailed. But, it was all soon relegated to the warehouse in the back of my head as new challenges took on my daily attention.
Then this Postman showed up out of the blue. The envelope (a contrivance of paper folded and pasted for the sole purpose of containing and conveying another piece of paper) was addressed by hand, in cursive, with an ink pen. That was intriguing. It contained a simple card with a reminder of the "1L closing argument competition." It said "your feedback was very encouraging and I am very grateful."
You guessed it, it made my day.
The week after, this Postman showed up again. This second envelope had my name printed on it, in ink. They say many young people do not write in cursive anymore. I get it. Where were the anti-cursive forces when I was in school? This one was a pre-printed "Thank You." Inside it acknowledge my volunteering and said "I found your advice to be helpful," and closed with "thank you."
I doubt either of those cards took more than 2 minutes. I suspect that in their own day-to-day neither of those students will look back much on the 30 minutes we all spent together on Zoom. I doubt sincerely that I provided any real wisdom that will alter the trajectories of two young lives. In short, they each did more for me than I did for them.
That said, there is a glimmer in the dark recesses of my mind. I am hopeful that they wrote because they deemed it the right thing to do (not just because someone said to). I am grateful that someone likely did suggest it; that means that teaching is not dead and law school is doing more than teach technical and analytics. Courtesy, you see my friend, matters. Cordial and careful communication is a powerful tool.
I was deeply touched by the occurrences, the deliveries of these notes. I was impressed that someone would take the time to say "thank you." I was enthused (again) that tomorrow's leaders are showing such promise, poise, and persistence. I was pleased and compelled to write this down.
How much can you accomplish with a "thank you?" How much can you do with a simple card? What does it say about you when you take the time? Our focus this year has been on professionalism. I experience it every day, and hope you do also. But, these two examples are noteworthy, empowering, and special. I hope every one of us learns a lesson from their example. I have sent a link to this post to the Dean of that school. It is my hope that every dean is receiving similar positive feedback recognizing those who will replace us all, and the careful hands that guide them.
Tuesday, May 16, 2023
Let's Get Together
I landed last week at Southwest Florida Airport (RSW). They are celebrating 40 years. Imagine that in 1983 Ft. Myers' airport opened. Don't misunderstand, the town was there long before. The old timers will reminisce occasionally about Page Field. There may have been some romance to that old spot, but their recollections may also be shaded a bit by nostalgia and denial.
Ft. Myers in the springtime. There is construction everywhere. Sure, the winter crowds had eased by mid-May. The Hoosiers and Buckeyes have migrated back north. Sure, there are the lingerers. The town is not deserted by any sense of the word, but the congestion is decreased. Did I mention that there is construction everywhere?
Quick Ft. Myers joke - How can you tell when the seasons change in Ft. Myers? That's easy, the colors on the license plates change.
Ft. Myers was hit pretty hard in September 2022. Ian arrived with a fury and delivered significant devastation around town. It was one of those modern hurricanes that somehow devastated one house or side of a street and ignored others. It was described to me by a local as "surreal." The explanation was visibly difficult, stilted, and halting. The residents of the area were traumatized and impacted. by the storm or its sequela.
As I reflected on that conversation, I realized he described Ian much as I had Ivan so many years before. Most Floridians have a storm they remember. Sure, we recall many. We discuss many. But, we each seem to remember a particular one. We each have our hallmark, our nemesis. It is the one that we somehow dodged, lived through, and reflect upon. Over Ivan? No. I understand the sentiments and emotions. The Ian survivors are recovering, as did the Michael survivors before. They will progress and time will pass. But they will likely remember nonetheless.
We are accustomed to hurricanes in Florida. Not accepting. Not welcoming. But we are accustomed. We live with them in our thoughts. We wonder what is coming next, and we persevere, we rebuild, and we prepare for the next one. See Its that Time Again (April 2023).
I was in Ft. Myers for a lawyer gathering. This all started in December with a roundtable program in Orlando. The tip of the spear on that project was Paolo Longo, who will soon take the helm of The Florida Bar Workers' Compensation Section. The idea is an informal lunch. There is camaraderie and conversation. The judges rotate from table to table or room to room. There is collegiality, reminiscent stories, questions, and community. That last is the key, community.
The Orlando event in December was wildly successful, drawing more than 50 lawyers. There is a palpable desire to get back to the face-to-face. The success was noted, and plans began. Mr. Longo and Judge Humphries produced a great gathering in Jacksonville in early April. Ft. Myers last week was the third example, thanks to Mr. Longo and Judge Weiss. Tampa remains in June, and then a hiatus is predicted until the writer's strike is over. You don't think we make this stuff up ourselves do you? Seriously, we will break for the summer and all that entails with family, the WCI, and more.
But first, we will be in Tampa on June 2, 2023. This event is at the workers' compensation office at noon. Thanks to Judge Arthur for his effort on this iteration. No, there is no agenda. Yes, everyone is invited. No, there are no power points. Yes, any questions you bring will be addressed. That is not to say everyone will love the answer(s) perhaps, but there will be an answer.
This is a great opportunity to rejoin your community. It is high time we appreciate our community, The workers' compensation professionals have a great deal for which to be thankful. And though there are some perhaps eclectic community members, it is a very collegial group to engage with, to practice with, and to enjoy.
The pandemic should remind us of the importance of community. The experience of our neighbors with Ian should remind us of our interdependence and community. We should be celebrating the fact that this practice survived and thrived in recent years while other practices, communities, and jurisdictions failed, utterly. We persevered. Come join us for a light-hearted and interactive gathering in Tampa. Let's talk about what is right (or not) in Florida workers' compensation.
The opportunity is important. The need for us to be face-to-face is critical. We are, at our core, a simple community. We need to appreciate each other, our contributions, our successes, our failures, and our interdependence. We need to gather and focus on how we can be successful today, recruit and retain the best for tomorrow, and build a new future. I hope to see you there.