40 Fla. L. Weekly D1564c
(b)1. For any workers’ compensation claim filed under this section and chapter 440 occurring on or after July 1, 2010, a . . . correctional officer . . . is presumed not to have incurred such disease in the line of duty . . . if the . . . officer:
a. Departed in a material fashion from the prescribed course of treatment . . . ; or
b. Was previously compensated pursuant to this section . . . .
2. As used in this paragraph, “prescribed course of treatment” means . . . .
3. If there is a dispute as to the appropriateness of the course of treatment prescribed . . . .
4. A law enforcement officer, correctional officer, or correctional probation officer is not entitled to the presumption provided in this section unless a claim for benefits is made prior to or within 180 days after leaving the employment of the employing agency.
8. Claimant argues the reference to claims “filed under this section and chapter 440 occurring on or after July 1, 2010” means the 2010 amendments only apply to workers’ compensation claims involving dates of accident/disablement on or after July 1, 2010. Does the sentence mean any petition for benefits, regardless of the date of accident, filed on or after July 1, 2010, is subject to section 112.18(1)(b)? Or does it mean, as Claimant argues, that the amendment does not apply to dates of accident/disablement before July 1, 2010, regardless of when the petition for benefits is filed?
9. The Legislature certainly used a curious grammatical construction when it chose to follow the verb “filed” with the verb “occurring.” I conclude it is unnecessary to construe the sentence containing the reference to July 1, 2010, to decide this case because it is in subparagraph 1. of paragraph (b). The language at issue in this case is in subparagraph 4. of paragraph (b). Applying the canons of statutory interpretation known as the scope-of-subparts canon5 and the nearest-reasonable-referent canon,6 I conclude the reference to July 1, 2010, relates only to subparagraph 1., not to the 180-day time limitation in subparagraph 4.
5“Material within an indented subpart relates only to that subpart; material contained in unindented text relates to all the following or preceding indented subparts.” Scalia and Garner, Reading Law: The Interpretation of Legal Texts 156 (2012).
6“When the syntax involves something other than a parallel series of nouns or verbs, a prepositive or postpositive modifier normally applies only to the nearest reasonable referent.” Scalia and Garner, Reading Law: The Interpretation of Legal Texts 152 (2012).
Alternatively, if the date reference[d] in section 112.18(1)(b)1. applies to section 112.18(1)(b)4., it pertains to all claims filed on or after July 1, 2010, regardless of the date of accident
10. If the first sentence of section 112.18(1)(b)1. does apply to section 112[.18](1)(b)4., I construe the sentence to mean the amended statute applies to all claims filed on or after July 1, 2010, regardless of the date of accident. As I see it, there are two ways to give meaning to the sentence. One is to read it as saying the amended statute applies to all cases where the filing of a claim occurs on or after July 1, 2010. The other is to read it as saying, “For any workers’ compensation claim filed under this section and chapter 440 for accidents occurring on or after July 1, 2010. . . .” Because the latter interpretation would require me to insert words into the statute that the Legislature did not use, I reject the latter interpretation and accept the former.
(WOLF, J., CONCURS; RAY, J., DISSENTS WITH OPINION.)
First, the Court must ascertain whether the Legislature intended for the statute to apply retroactively. Second, if such an intent is clearly expressed, the Court must determine whether retroactive application would violate any constitutional principles.
*The 180-day limitation period applies to law enforcement officers, correctional officers, and correctional probation officers. § 112.18(1)(b)4.
* * *