On March 20, 2013, the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas entered a verdict against the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) in the amount of approximately $860 million. The case was pursued as a class action by a group of Ohio employers alleging that the BWC had charged certain Ohio employers excessive and unreasonable workers’ compensation premiums due to the administration of the Ohio BWC’s Group Rating programs between 2001 and 2009.
Subsequently, through appeals, the Court judgment was reduced to approximately $651 million. On July 23, 2014, the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation reached a settlement in principle to resolve the San Allen v. BWC class action lawsuit. The settlement will result in the BWC setting up a fund of $420 million to pay claims to employers participating in the lawsuit.
The settlement agreement requires the BWC to establish a $420 million fund to pay for claims to employers participating in the lawsuit, the class’s attorney fees, court costs and the costs of administering the fund. Below are the relevant dates and deadlines which will govern the process for eligible employers to process their claims:
- August 22, 2014: Claim notification forms were mailed to employers. These are multi-page forms that the employer is required to fully and carefully complete. Some businesses and employers have more than one workers’ compensation policy number. As such, your business might receive more than one claim form. Please note that each claim form must be separately, timely, and properly completed and submitted in order to be valid. Don’t hesitate to seek advice with any questions or concerns you have relative to proper completion and submission of the claim forms.
- October 22, 2014: The claim forms are due. They must be post-marked by October 22, 2014. The claim administrator will review the claim forms for accuracy. All claims must be submitted with a completed IRS Form W-9.
- December 10, 2014 - Cure Period: The claims administrator will check for errors and omissions. If errors or omissions are present, eligible employers will be provided an opportunity to make corrections through December 10, 2014.
- January 7, 2015: The claims administrator must complete the claim process and compile a report that provides claim amounts for the class members who have properly completed the claim notification forms.
- Mid to Late January 2015: There will be a final discharge from the Judge. Claim payment checks will be mailed shortly thereafter.
Please be advised that employers are required to provide much detailed information on the claim forms. As mentioned, employers who have more than one workers’ compensation eligible policy number will receive a claim form for each of their BWC policy numbers. Similarly, employers are required to complete and return the claim form for each of their eligible BWC policy numbers.
The employer also has to complete an IRS W-9 form to be submitted with the claim form. The W-9 form is not part of the claim form being sent out to the employers. Employers will have to obtain and complete the IRS Form W-9 independently. The IRS Form W-9 is a required document when submitting the claim form.
The attorneys at Krugliak, Wilkins, Griffiths & Dougherty Co., LPA are here to help you through this process. This information is provided by:
Edward D. Murray is a director at the law firm of Krugliak, Wilkins, Griffiths & Dougherty Co., L.P.A. in Canton. Feel free to contact him with workers’ compensation questions at 877-876-9958 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
NOTE: This general summary of the law should not be used to solve individual claims since slight changes in the fact situation may require a material variance in the applicable legal advice.