Idaho Workers Comp Bill Resurfaces, Won’t Impact Lawsuit

April 17, 2009

The Idaho Senate resurrected a bill to reform how the State Insurance Fund pays dividends to its workers compensation policy holders, but this new version won’t affect a lawsuit alleging the fund’s managers have stiffed small policy holders since 2003.

The original bill died in the Senate Commerce Committee recently after Don Lojek, the plaintiffs’ lawyer, argued its retroactive provisions sought to undermine his case.

He won a March 5 Idaho Supreme Court decision that concluded all policy holders must share in dividends; the fund had been making payouts only to larger policy holders.

Sen. John Goedde, a State Insurance Fund board member and the bill’s sponsor, agreed April 14 to add an amendment shielding Lojek’s lawsuit.

If Goedde’s measure becomes law, the State Insurance Fund manager could decide how to distribute future dividends.

The fund still could be liable for $13 million to 50,000 businesses that missed out on payments over the last six years, if Lojek wins in 3rd District Court.

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