The Norman Transcript

Headlines

December 11, 2013

State court hears challenge

OKLAHOMA CITY — Opponents of Oklahoma’s new workers’ compensation law urged the state Supreme Court Tuesday to find it unconstitutional, arguing that in certain circumstances it would allow employers in the state to treat injured workers differently than other workers.

But attorneys for the state and business groups that support the law urged the state’s highest court to uphold it. The law was a top priority for Republican leaders who say the state’s previous system was a detriment to business and industry in the state. GOP Gov. Mary Fallin signed it in May.

The law changes Oklahoma’s court-based system to an administrative one. Supporters said it will dramatically reduce workers’ compensation costs to businesses, but opponents said cost savings will come at the expense of injured workers.

The lawsuit was filed by Sen. Harry Coates, R-Seminole, Rep. Emily Virgin, D-Norman, the Professional Firefighters of Oklahoma and its president, Rick Beams. Their attorney, John McMurry, of Oklahoma City, attacked the statute on several grounds, including an “opt-out” provision that would permit employers to create their own benefits plan for injured workers.

“We find it the most troublesome part,” McMurry said. He said the provision is an unconstitutional special law because it would permit employers to treat their workers differently than those who remain in the state’s administrative system.

“There are significantly fewer rights for the injured employee,” McMurry said. “The employer can do pretty much what he or she wants to. The employee has no choice.”

The lawsuit also attacks other provisions of the law, including those that would allow the use of American Medical Association guides and Work Loss Data Institute Official Disability Guidelines in workers’ compensation cases, which McMurry said is an unconstitutional delegation of legislative powers. McMurry also says the law would unconstitutionally delay an injured worker’s access to the state’s courts to seek compensation.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Headlines
  • Norman firefighter performs Heimlich maneuver on Moore man after he chokes on food

    What started out as a normal night out for a Moore couple ended with them being thankful a firefighter was in the right place at the right time....

    July 22, 2014

  • Common Core repeal has state teachers worried about instruction

    OKLAHOMA CITY — With the Legislature’s repeal of tough, new English and math standards known as Common Core, education leaders said they’re concerned Oklahoma students will fall further behind their counterparts in more than 40 states ...

    July 22, 2014

  • 18-year-old killed; 72-year-old man, young boy injured

    Those involved in the wreck Friday near 136th Avenue and South Sooner Road were identified Monday by Oklahoma City police. Logan Rosado-Santoni, 18, was pronounced dead on the scene after the 4:30 p.m. multi-vehicle wreck. Two others were ...

    July 22, 2014

  • New AP program to begin in Norman

    NORMAN — Norman Public Schools Board of Education learned about Advanced Placement Capstone at a regular board meeting Monday....

    July 22, 2014

  • Rebels release train with bodies from jet

    HRABOVE, Ukraine — Bowing to international pressure, pro-Moscow separatists released a train packed with bodies and handed over the black boxes from the downed Malaysia Airlines plane, four days after it plunged into rebel-held eastern ...

    July 22, 2014

  • Gaza death toll passes 560

    GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — A high-level attempt by the U.N. chief and the U.S. secretary of state to end deadly Israel-Hamas fighting was off to a rough start Monday: Gaza’s Hamas rulers signaled they won’t agree to an unconditional ...

    July 22, 2014

  • Moore City Council paves way for Sam’s Club location

    MOORE — The Moore City Council approved a $5 million bond Tuesday to be repaid with sales tax and utility revenues. “A good amount of street improvements needs to be done,” Moore City Manager Steve Eddy said. “This will be paid for with ...

    July 22, 2014

  • Perry sending Guard troops to border

    AUSTIN, Texas — Gov. Rick Perry is deploying up to 1,000 National Guard troops to the Texas-Mexico border over the next month to combat what he said Monday were criminals exploiting a surge of children pouring into the U.S. illegally. ...

    July 22, 2014

  • Better weather to aid in fire fight

    SPOKANE, Wash. — Calmer winds and cooler temperatures were allowing firefighters to go on the offensive Monday against a destructive wildfire that has charred hundreds of square miles of terrain in Washington State and is the largest in ...

    July 22, 2014

  • Gay, transgender workers gain U.S. bias protection

    WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama on Monday ordered employment protection for gay and transgender employees who work for the federal government or for companies holding federal contracts, telling advocates he embraced the “irrefutable ...

    July 22, 2014