It will take months before the Florida Supreme Court issues its decision in the case of Emma Murray v. Mariner Health/ACE USA (SC07-244), which has been the most highly anticipated case since the legislature rewrote the claimant attorneys' fee statute in 2003. Depending on one's point of view, the case is either akin to Custer's last stand on the behalf of claimant attorneys or the final victory that employers/carriers need to solidify the 2003 reforms. But a closer look at the case shows just how complicated the ramifications could be, especially if the court overturns part or all of the statute.
As stakeholders await the high court's ruling, plenty of speculation exists as to what an employer/carrier loss might mean to a system that has received only good news since the legislature effectively signed off on an industry-written law. The facts speak for themselves. Since 2003, rates have fallen by more than 50 percent and the market has become so competitive that it has left many individuals surprised by the huge deductible and guaranteed dividend plans that carriers are offering.