November 25, 2014

Elyria
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Judge awards Ohio employers $860 million for workers’ comp overcharges

COLUMBUS — Ohio employers are collectively owed $860 million after being overcharged for nearly a decade by the state insurance fund for injured workers, a Cleveland judge ruled Wednesday.

Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Richard McMonagle’s decision involving the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation affects about 270,000 mostly small-business owners, many unaware they are covered by the class action. His order rejected the state’s arguments for paying a smaller amount.

The lawsuit, which began in 2007, said the bureau gave discounted premiums to companies that joined group insurance plans and charged companies not in the groups excessive rates to pay for the discounts.

McMonagle ruled in December in favor of business owners who didn’t participate in the group rating program, agreeing they had been charged unfair premiums from July 2001 to June 2009.

Lawyers for the businesses argued companies paying group rates were not charged premiums that covered their losses, which forced the other companies to cover the difference. The bureau discounted its group plans as high as 90 percent.