By Associated Press - Wednesday, November 23, 2016

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - A Florida judge is blocking a 14.5 percent rate hike in insurance premiums paid by the state’s business owners to cover their employees.

Circuit Judge Karen Gievers on Wednesday ruled that the state’s Sunshine Law was violated in the way that an insurance industry organization and state regulators came up with the proposed rate hike.

Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier approved the rate hike in September. It was supposed to take effect on Dec. 1.

The National Council on Compensation Insurance asked regulators for a rate hike based on recent state Supreme Court decisions. One ruling struck down a law that limited attorney fees in workers’ compensation cases.

Miami attorney James Fee filed a lawsuit earlier this year that contended that NCCI had to follow the state’s open meetings and public records law while drawing up the rate hike proposal.

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