Missouri Court Temporarily Blocks Workers’ Comp Judge Firings

June 30, 2009

A Missouri court has temporarily blocked the firing of three administrative law judges who decide workers’ compensation cases.

The judges were to be laid off by the July 1 start of the new fiscal year.

But Cole County Circuit Judge Jon Beetem issued a temporary restraining order June 29. He scheduled a hearing July 6 on whether to issue a preliminary injunction against the layoffs.

Gov. Jay Nixon’s administration says the layoffs are necessary under the budget cuts passed by the Legislature.

The lawsuit claims that cost savings are not a legal reason to dismiss the judges. It says the judges can be removed before their terms end only upon the recommendation of a performance evaluation panel.

One of those suing is Henry Herschel, a former chief counsel under Gov. Matt Blunt.

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