Florida’s First District Court of Appeal has reversed a Judge of Compensation Claims’ order denying an injured employee’s request for stipulated costs in a workers’ compensation case. In Gobel v. American Airlines, a Florida worker successfully pursued medical benefits payments from his employer following a workplace accident. After that, the parties jointly submitted a stipulation request related to the employee’s legal fees and costs to a Judge of Compensation Claims (“JCC”). As part of the stipulation, the man’s employer agreed to pay him $200 in costs.
The JCC reviewed the parties’ request and ultimately denied the stipulation regarding costs. According to the JCC, it was unclear whether the $200 constituted actual costs or disguised legal expenses, since the parties failed to submit supporting documentation with their request. In response, the hurt worker argued that such supporting documentation was not required under Rule 60Q-6.123(5) of the Florida Administrative Code because the stipulated amount was less than $250. The JCC rejected the woman’s claim and stated the rule was not valid.