Trump Has Successfully Gamed the Courts

Legal Events

At its simplest level, the impeachment of President Donald Trump looks like a collision between the legislative and executive branches of government. In that fight, each side is trying to defend its prerogatives as it sees them: For Congress (or at least the Democratic-led House), this includes the power to appropriate foreign aid, and the power to conduct oversight; for the executive branch, this means the power to make foreign policy as it sees fit, and to protect its internal deliberations.

What is missing from this portrait is the crucial role of the third branch of government, the judiciary, which has powerfully shaped the impeachment process by declining to exercise its prerogatives, rather than defending them. By choosing to treat the current moment as business as usual, federal courts have effectively removed themselves from the process. In effect, that has dictated what arguments can be mounted in the impeachment fight and what witnesses Congress, and the public, can hear?narrowing and obscuring the case against Trump.

None of this absolves Democrats of the decisions they’ve made. The House majority could have chosen to fight in court to compel testimony from current and former administration officials, especially former National Security Adviser John Bolton. Those fights would not have been resolved in time to hold an impeachment vote before Christmas, but that deadline is self-imposed and politically motivated. Democrats could have waited, or they could have pursued the court battle while also charging ahead.

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Workers’ Compensation Subrogation of Administrative Fees and Costs

When a worker covered by workers’ compensation makes a claim against a third party, the workers’ compensation insurance retains the right to subrogate against any recovery from that third party for all benefits paid to or on behalf of a claimant injured at work. When subrogating for more than basic medical and indemnity benefits, the Texas workers’ compensation subrogation statute provides that “the net amount recovered by a claimant in a third‑party action shall be used to reimburse the carrier for benefits, including medical benefits that have been paid for the compensable injury.” TX Labor Code § 417.002.

In fact, all 50 states provide for similar subrogation. However, none of them precisely outlines which payments or costs paid by a compensation carrier constitute “compensation” and can be recovered. The result is industry-wide confusion and an ongoing debate and argument with claimants’ attorneys over what can and can’t be included in a carrier’s lien for recovery purposes.

In addition to medical expenses, death benefits, funeral costs and/or indemnity benefits for lost wages and loss of earning capacity resulting from a compensable injury, workers’ compensation insurance carriers also expend considerable dollars for case management costs, medical bill audit fees, rehabilitation benefits, nurse case worker fees, and other similar fees. They also incur other expenses in conjunction with the handling and adjusting of workers’ compensation claims. Workers’ compensation carriers typically assert, of course, that, they are entitled to reimbursement for such expenditures when it recovers its workers’ compensation lien. Injured workers and their attorneys disagree.

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