Ohio Workers Comp Bureau Agrees to $52 Million Settlement

July 21, 2006

The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation agreed this week to drop its appeal and pay $52 million awarded to injured state employees in a class-action lawsuit.

The bureau had argued that state laws prevented workers from being paid twice _ once by the state and once by insurance companies _ for the same injury. But the state Supreme Court said the laws were unconstitutional.

About 7,900 workers, who were forced to return their compensation from the state insurance fund, will get back 70 percent under the payment process approved by Judge Michael Donnelly of Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court on Wednesday. The remaining 30 percent will be paid to attorneys and an administrator hired to distribute the money.

The bureau’s decision to pay is a victory for thousands of workers who “will see a return of their funds that had been unlawfully collected,” said lead attorney Craig Bashein.

William Mabe, the bureau’s new administrator, decided that appealing the ruling was not appropriate given the agency’s attempts to rebuild trust following an investment scandal that rocked the agency.

The scandal erupted last year over unorthodox investments in rare coins and other collectibles and included a $215 million hedge fund loss.

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