The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (“OBWC”) settled a $420 million class action settlement for charging inflated premiums. Business owners may be eligible to share in the settlement, but must submit their form by October 22, 2014.
Eligible business owners were sent a notice from the Settlement Administrator in August of this year and if you received a notice, you should visit http://www.ohiobwclawsuit.com/, click on the Online Policy Information Portal and submit your Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation Policy Number and the claim number listed on any form sent by the Settlement Administrator. If you are a business owner who has not received a notice, but believe you may be eligible, you should contact the Settlement Administrator at (844) 322-8230, as soon as possible.
In 2007, a class action lawsuit was filed against the OBWC alleging that it illegally charged individual employers higher premiums to offset lower prices given to group members. In 2012, the Cuyahoga Common Pleas court initially awarded the business owners $859 million; however the Eight District Court of Appeal reduced the amount to $650 million in May of this year and while it was once again appealed to the Ohio Supreme Court, the case was settled for $420 million. This settlement affects approximately 270,000 Ohio businesses, churches and charities.
The settlement class includes private non-group rated employers who, in one or more policy years from 2001-2008: (1) subscribed to the state workers’ compensation fund; (2) were not group-rated; and (3) reported payroll and paid premiums in a manual classification for which the non-group effective base rate was ‘inflated’ due to application of the group experience rating plan.