In Ohio, Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Richard McMonagle has ruled that the state of Ohio owes businesses $860 million in a return of premiums for workman’s compensation.
It was this past December when the judge sided with the plaintiffs in the class-action lawsuit alleging that Ohio overcharged many businesses in their workman’s compensation premiums from July 2001 to June 2009.
“The court finds that the figure submitted by the plaintiffs was calculated accurately,” he wrote.
Attorneys for the plaintiffs successfully argued that Ohio had discounted workman’s compensation premiums for businesses which were part of group insurance plans. However, Ohio subsidized the discounts by overcharging every other business not part of the groups. In 2007, a class-action lawsuit was filed on behalf of those businesses affected. Specifically, businesses participating in the group plans did not have to pay premiums covering losses – the most expensive part of workman’s compensation insurance.
In some instances, that omission resulted in 90% discounts.
In 2009, Ohio changed regulations regarding these discounts which make the maximum discount available to the groups 53% following Judge McMonagle ordering the state to do so.
After Ohio lost the case this past December, the state argued for a lower compensation for overcharged premiums. Judge McMonagle largely disagreed and awarded plaintiffs $860 million of the original $1.3 billion award they sought.
James DeRoche, a Cleveland attorney for the business owners, said the plaintiffs they are thrilled, but compinsation is key.
“Now is the time for the BWC to do the right thing and immediately reimburse these businesses,” he said. “If the BWC is truly business-friendly it will not further delay payment so tens of thousands of small businesses can reinvest those dollars into creating and protecting Ohio jobs.”
The employers’ organization Pay Us Back Ohio BWC has set up an informational website, www.PayNowBWC.com, with an employer search feature. Protesters affiliated with the group had packed McMonagle’s courtroom last week as a sign of their concern.
Judge: Ohio owes overcharged employers $860M
Judge awards Ohio employers $860M for overcharges