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State Can Lay off Worker’s Comp Judges

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (CN) - Missouri can lay off three administrative law judges as it makes budget cuts, the Missouri Western Appeals court has ruled. Overturning a lower court's November ruling, a three-member panel found that lawmaker's budget-cutting decisions were reason enough to reduce the number of judges.

Missouri's Department of Labor and Industrial Relations sought to cut five administrative judge positions as of June 30, 2009 after the Legislature approved budget cuts.

Three of the judges - Henry Herschel, Matthew Murphy and John Tackes - filed a complaint claiming that administrative law judges can be removed only after their terms expire or upon the recommendation of an evaluation committee. The judges preside over worker's compensation cases.

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