Court Case Update, Kentucky—September 2019
On August 29, 2019, in Holcim v. Swinford, the Supreme Court of Kentucky ruled that the 2018 amendments to workers compensation statute KRS 342.730(4)—limiting income benefits to age 70 or four years after the employee’s injury or last exposure, whichever occurs later—apply retroactively.
To determine legislative intent, the court relied on legislative notes that specifically reference that the amended statute was to be applied retroactively, even though the retroactive language was omitted from the official version of the statute during the codification process. The court found that the duration of income benefits for workers compensation claims that are not fully and finally adjudicated, are in the appellate process, or for which time to file an appeal has not lapsed as of the effective date of the 2018 amendments, must be based on the durations set forth in the amended statute.
The court also noted the recent history of KRS 342.730(4), amended in 2018 to address the supreme court’s 2017 decision in Parker v. Webster County Coal, LLC (Parker). In Parker, the court found that the previous version of KRS 342.730(4)—specifically the termination of income benefits when injured older workers qualify for normal old age Social Security retirement benefits— was unconstitutional.
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