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Office of Workers' Compensation Programs
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Division of Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation (DLHWC)

Region IV — Appeals of DLHWC Decisions

If either party does not agree with the recommendation of this office, the claim will be referred to the Office of Administrative Law Judges for a formal hearing on receipt of Form LS-18, Pre Hearing Statement. The recommendation made by the Claims Examiner may not by law be referred to the Office of Administrative Law Judges. The Formal Hearing is recorded, witnesses' testimonies are taken, and evidence is received into the official record as exhibits. The decision issued by the Administrative Law Judge is binding.

If the carrier proceeds to a Formal Hearing and an Order is issued against the carrier, the award must be paid within 10 calendar days of the date the Order is filed, or a 20% penalty will be due. The only way a carrier can be relieved of this payment is to receive a Stay Order from the Benefits Review Board. The only way a Stay Order will be issued is if the Benefits Review Board finds that payment of the Order will cause the carrier irreparable harm, and this is seldom done.

Also, if an Order is issued against the carrier, they can apply to the Judge for Reconsideration of the Order within 10 days of the date our office serves the Judge's Order. If the reconsideration is filed timely — the carrier still has to pay — but the time in which to file an appeal to the Benefits Review Board is tolled until a response from the Judge is received either denying or upholding the carrier's Motion for Reconsideration. The party who is offended by the Order on Motion for Reconsideration then has 30 days from the date our office serves the Order to file an appeal to the Benefits Review Board.

The Benefits Review Board appeal must be based upon the evidence submitted at the Formal Hearing — no new evidence can be submitted. If you owe compensation, it must be paid while the case is on appeal — and that could take 2 years or more before a decision is issued due to the backlog of cases waiting to be reviewed by the Benefits Review Board.

The next step in the litigation process after an Order has been issued by the Benefits Review Board, is an appeal to the U. S. Circuit Court of Appeals in the District in which the injury occurred. For instance in Florida, appeals would be under the jurisdiction of the U. S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit. The party who seeks an appeal to the Circuit Court has 60 days from the date the Benefits Review Board issues its Order to file the appeal.

Cases under the Longshore Act can be further appealed to the U. S. Supreme Court, but will be considered only if they grant certiorari.