A law that shifted the cost of disability benefits for longtime injured workers from a state fund to private insurers is unconstitutional, the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled Thursday. In a victory for workers' compensation insurers, the high court ruled 4-3 in favor of Society Insurance…The 4 Justices legislating from the bench are conservative, deciding a case for corporate America before any proof of injury. But what about the "potential" and "unpredictable" situations that could happened, if you just use your imagination? The paranoid right wing ideologues on the court were overwhelmed by the "possibilities," so why wait.
Before 2006 (and a change in law), employers and their insurers were responsible for paying benefits and medical expenses to severely injured workers for 12 years. After that, the responsibility shifted to the state fund. But the Legislature in 2006 eliminated the 12-year statute of limitations, requiring employers and their insurers to cover the lifetime of benefits for those workers. The goal was to maintain the solvency of the fund, which is funded by assessments on employers and insurers.And the significant financial burden that has now been shifted to the employers fund?
Writing for the majority, Justice Patience Roggensack said … Applying the change retroactively exposes insurers to "POTENTIALLY significant and UNPREDICTABLE damage awards" and prevents their ability to recover the new expenses by increasing premiums … Assuming the goal was to maintain the fund's solvency, she said, "this weighs in Society's favor because it demonstrates the significant financial burden being shifted to insurers."
Dissenting Justice Patrick Crooks said Society "has not even come close to proving the statute unconstitutional beyond a reasonable doubt" because of a lack of evidence about the law's impact.