The First District Court of Appeal addressed this issue recently in the case of Edwin Vazquez v. Carlos Romero, et. al., Case No. 1D15-0623 (November 9, 2015). In that case, the claimant filed a PFB against several employer/carriers, and all of them denied compensability based on no employer/employee relationship. The claimant then dismissed his PFB and filed a civil complaint for negligence against one of the employers. Such employer then attempted to obtain discovery in the workers’ compensation case.
The First District Court of Appeal held that the claimant’s dismissal of the PFB divested the JCC of jurisdiction. Note, however, that this is case is different as claimant was not receiving any workers’ compensation benefits. The Court cited a number of cases where a PFB is dismissed in a compensable case where claimant is receiving benefits and the Court suggested that in those cases the JCC does have jurisdiction to order discovery.
The decision is not final until the 15 days for Motion for Rehearing expire.