Effects of Senate Bill 2176

On June 1, 2010, Governor Crist approved senate bill No. 2176, which was codified as Chapter Law 2010-175. The law contains significant changes to (1) the course and scope of employment of deputy sheriffs; and (2) the availability of the section 112.18 presumption to law enforcement, correctional, and correctional probations officers. A summary of the specific provisions are as follows:

Course and Scope of Employment of Deputy Sheriffs

The legislature amended section 30.2905(2) regarding deputy sheriff's as follows:

Applicability of section 112.18

The legislature amended section 112.18 to limit the availability of the presumption in cases where a law enforcement officer, correctional officer, or correctional probation officer materially departed from a prescribed course of treatment. The changes apply to accidents occurring after July 1, 2010. Note the changes only affect the aforementioned employees, and does not impact firefighters.

Because of inconsistent provisions, it is unclear whether the changes go into effect on July 1, 2010 or January 1, 2011. However, the best interpretation is that the changes take effect on July 1, 2010. It appears the intent of the legislature in passing senate bill 2176 was to limit the availability of section 112.18, while clarifying the types of activities that may entitle an injured deputy sheriff to workers' compensation. As the provisions of Chapter Law 2010-175 are self-explanatory; I have attached a copy of the law with this letter for your review.

I think it is obvious that these changes will have far-reaching effects. The statute also contains numerous vague and ambiguous provisions that the court will ultimately clarify. In the meantime, you should keep these new rules in mind when evaluating your claims. Additionally, if you have any questions regarding the changes to the law, or wish to discuss this matter further, or for a copy of the bill, please contact my office.

Michael Broussard