Garson Johnson LLC Announces Appellate Court Affirms Decision to Pay Back Ohio Businesses because Ohio BWC Unlawfully Charged by nearly $1 Billion

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Ohio BWC Class Action Alert: Ohio's Eighth Appellate District Court (Cuyahoga County) upheld the decision of Judge McMonagle in 2012 that found the Ohio BWC had illegally overcharged 270,000 Ohio employers for premiums hundreds of millions of dollars (San Allen, Inc., et al. vs Stephen Buehrer, Administrator, Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation CV-07-644-950).

Imagine running a small business and your workers’ compensation bill doubles, triples or even increases 10 times over the previous year. The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) intentionally overcharged hundreds of thousands of Ohio businesses. Attorney Stuart Garson learned that these practices were seriously harming small business owners and in some cases bankrupting Ohio businesses. A class action seeking justice for those employers was filed in December 2007. (San Allen, Inc., et al. vs Stephen Buehrer, Administrator, Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation).

“We knew Ohio employers were suffering from inequitable workers' compensation rates and operating under a threat of massive rate increases from year to year, but we were surprised to learn that the BWC had been repeatedly warned by noted experts that its premium rates were highly inflated and inequitable," said lead trial counsel Jim DeRoche. Added attorney Stuart Garson, "the BWC rating practices were so indefensible we hoped early on that the public agency would hold itself to a higher standard and do the right thing by repaying employers who had been gouged." But ultimately the BWC chose a lengthy legal battle instead, forcing the case to trial in 2012.

The employers prevailed after a lengthy trial. In a March 2013 Final Judgment Trial Judge McMonagle wrote: "The Court awards the Plaintiffs $859,440,258.79 in restitution. IT IS SO ORDERED. NO JUST CAUSE FOR DELAY.”

Despite losing every step of the way, and despite admitting that premium rates were wrongfully inflated, the Ohio BWC did delay further by taking an appeal of the trial judge's decision. The Appellate Court issued a scathing decision affirming the judgment finding that the BWC violated its most basic obligation to set fair rates and in the process overcharged Ohio businesses. The unanimous decision scorns “bureaucrats and lobbyists for group sponsors who rigged workers’ compensation insurance premium rates.” The decision continues to compare the group rating system as “heads we win” for group members and “tails you lose” for businesses that were excluded from the group.

After fighting for justice for so long, Attorney Stuart Garson celebrated the decision as "a huge victory" for most Ohio businesses, who are eager to receive funds owed to them by the Ohio BWC. The BWC was quoted as being “disappointed with the decision and are considering our options.” "Certainly one of those options it should seriously consider is paying the money it owes to Ohio businesses," suggested attorney Stuart Garson.

For more information, visit or contact Garson Johnson at 216-696-9330.

About Garson Johnson
For more than 35 years, the Cleveland attorneys of Garson Johnson LLC have provided experienced representation for individuals who have been injured, disabled and families who are dealing with the loss of a loved one. For over a decade, we have been helping small business owners litigate complex matters and serve as lead counsel for class action lawsuits. Garson Johnson is a team of award winning lawyers who believe in clients not just cases, loyalty, community and experience make a difference in the practice of law.

Contact our Ohio firm to schedule a consultation or learn more by calling 216-696-9330 or toll free at 800-747-9330. Visit or email at info(at)garson(dot)com.

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Jeffrey D. Johnson
Garson Johnson LLC
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since: 02/2014
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Garson Johnson LLC, Cleveland Attorneys
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