Okeechobee Health Care v. Collins, No. 97-3362

CourtCourt of Appeal of Florida (US)
Writing for the CourtBENTON.
Citation726 So.2d 775
PartiesOKEECHOBEE HEALTH CARE and Associated Industries Insurance Company, Inc., Appellants, v. Ann COLLINS, Appellee.
Decision Date07 October 1998
Docket NumberNo. 97-3362

726 So.2d 775

OKEECHOBEE HEALTH CARE and Associated Industries Insurance Company, Inc., Appellants,
v.
Ann COLLINS, Appellee

No. 97-3362

District Court of Appeal of Florida, First District.

October 7, 1998.


Mary Ann Stiles, Rayford H. Taylor, and Karen M. Smith of Stiles, Taylor, Grace & Smith, P.A., Tallahassee, for Appellants.

Barbara B. Wagner, Deerfield Beach, and Debra H. Pierce, Fort Pierce, for Appellee.

BENTON, Judge.

Ann Collins was injured in an accident arising out of her employment on January 17, 1994. On this account, the judge of compensation claims ordered temporary partial disability benefits for one period and temporary total disability benefits for another period. Her employer, Okeechobee Health Care, and its workers' compensation insurance carrier, Associated Industries Insurance Co., Inc., appeal this order, which awarded Ms. Collins more than 104 weeks of temporary disability benefits altogether. They contend that temporary disability benefits are capped at 104 weeks. We agree, reverse on that basis, and remand for entry of an order that does not award temporary disability benefits for periods aggregating more than 104 weeks.

A covered employee who is temporarily unable to work at all because of an injury arising out of his or her employment is eligible for temporary total disability benefits. Section 440.15, Florida Statutes (Supp. 1994), provides:

(2) TEMPORARY TOTAL DISABILITY.—
(a) In case of disability total in character but temporary in quality, 66 2/3 percent of the average weekly wages shall be paid to the employee during the continuance thereof, not to exceed 104 weeks except as provided in this subsection.... Once the employee reaches the maximum number of weeks allowed, or the employee reaches the date of maximum medical improvement, whichever occurs earlier, temporary disability benefits shall cease and the injured worker's permanent impairment shall be determined.
726 So.2d 776
A covered employee whose ability to work is temporarily diminished—but not extinguished altogether—because of an injury arising out of his or her employment is eligible for temporary partial disability benefits, depending on the extent of any diminution in wages. Section 440.15, Florida Statutes (Supp.1994), provides:
(4) TEMPORARY PARTIAL DISABILITY.—
(a) In case of temporary partial disability, compensation shall be equal to 80 percent of the difference between 80 percent of the employee's average weekly wage and the salary, wages, and other remuneration the employee is able to earn, as compared weekly; however, the weekly benefits may not exceed an amount equal to 66 2/3 percent of the employee's average weekly wage at the time of injury....
(b) Such benefits shall be paid during the continuance of such disability, not to exceed a period of 104 weeks, as provided by this subsection and subsection (2). Once the injured employee reaches the maximum number of weeks, temporary disability benefits cease and the injured worker's permanent impairment must be determined.

(Emphasis supplied.) Once eligibility for temporary disability benefits ends, eligibility for permanent impairment benefits or permanent total disability benefits may arise under other provisions of section 440.15, Florida Statutes (Supp.1994).

To ascertain what limit the statute places on temporary disability benefits, we turn first to the plain language of section 440.15, Florida Statutes (Supp.1994). See, e.g., City of Miami Beach v. Galbut, 626 So.2d 192 (Fla.1993). But other rules of statutory construction also apply.1

Especially when enacted into law simultaneously, subsections of the same statute must be construed in pari materia. See, e.g., Wiggins v. B & L Servs., Inc., 701 So.2d 570 (Fla. 1st DCA 1997). The language in subsection (2) "not to exceed 104 weeks except as provided in this subsection" is properly interpreted—not in isolation as authorizing 104 weeks of temporary total disability benefits, regardless of other benefits—but with regard to, and in keeping with, the rest of section 440.15, Florida Statutes (Supp. 1994).

Reading subsection (2) in conjunction with subsubsection (4)(b), which provides that "benefits shall be paid during the continuance of such disability, not to exceed a period of 104 weeks, as provided by this subsection and subsection (2)," requires the conclusion that the Legislature intended to limit temporary disability benefits, whether payable under subsection (2) or under subsection (4), to 104 weeks. Until January 1, 1994, subsection (2) limited the maximum period of temporary

726 So.2d 777
total disability benefits to 260 weeks, and subsection (4) limited the maximum period of temporary partial disability benefits to 260 weeks, creating the...

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19 practice notes
  • Westphal v. City of St. Petersburg, No. 1D12–3563.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • September 23, 2013
    ...end run around the two-year limit on temporary benefits. See§§ 440.15(2)(a), 4(e), Fla. Stat. (2009); 4Okeechobee Health Care v. Collins, 726 So.2d 775, 776 (Fla. 1st DCA 1998) (holding temporary benefits cannot be paid for more than 104 weeks). This is brazen defiance of a clear statutory ......
  • Blinn v. Florida Dept. of Transportation, No. 1D99-3671.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • December 29, 2000
    ...is engendered by a seeming inconsistency with other parts of the same or a closely related statute); Okeechobee Health Care v. Collins, 726 So.2d 775, 776 (Fla. 1st DCA 1998)(court turns first to the plain language of the statute to ascertain meaning, but also must consider subsections of t......
  • St. Augustine Marine Canvas v. Lunsford, No. 1D04-5560.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • December 19, 2005
    ...statute must be read in pari materia, especially when they are enacted into law simultaneously. See Okeechobee Health Care v. Collins, 726 So.2d 775, 776 (Fla. 1st DCA 1998). Section 440.13, Florida Statutes, was rewritten in 1993 when the Legislature made significant changes in the workers......
  • Greenberg v. Cardiology Surgical Ass'n, No. 1D02-2221.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • September 26, 2003
    ...within the province of the courts to interpret the workers' compensation statutes. See, e.g., Okeechobee Health Care v. Collins, 726 So.2d 775 (Fla. 1st DCA 1998). "It is axiomatic that an administrative rule cannot enlarge, modify or contravene the provisions of a statute." Willette v. Air......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
19 cases
  • Westphal v. City of St. Petersburg, No. 1D12–3563.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • September 23, 2013
    ...end run around the two-year limit on temporary benefits. See§§ 440.15(2)(a), 4(e), Fla. Stat. (2009); 4Okeechobee Health Care v. Collins, 726 So.2d 775, 776 (Fla. 1st DCA 1998) (holding temporary benefits cannot be paid for more than 104 weeks). This is brazen defiance of a clear statutory ......
  • Blinn v. Florida Dept. of Transportation, No. 1D99-3671.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • December 29, 2000
    ...is engendered by a seeming inconsistency with other parts of the same or a closely related statute); Okeechobee Health Care v. Collins, 726 So.2d 775, 776 (Fla. 1st DCA 1998)(court turns first to the plain language of the statute to ascertain meaning, but also must consider subsections of t......
  • St. Augustine Marine Canvas v. Lunsford, No. 1D04-5560.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • December 19, 2005
    ...statute must be read in pari materia, especially when they are enacted into law simultaneously. See Okeechobee Health Care v. Collins, 726 So.2d 775, 776 (Fla. 1st DCA 1998). Section 440.13, Florida Statutes, was rewritten in 1993 when the Legislature made significant changes in the workers......
  • Greenberg v. Cardiology Surgical Ass'n, No. 1D02-2221.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • September 26, 2003
    ...within the province of the courts to interpret the workers' compensation statutes. See, e.g., Okeechobee Health Care v. Collins, 726 So.2d 775 (Fla. 1st DCA 1998). "It is axiomatic that an administrative rule cannot enlarge, modify or contravene the provisions of a statute." Willette v. Air......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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