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Lawyers, businesses still awaiting ruling on workers' compensation law


Jefferson City, Mo. – It's been more than a year since the Missouri Supreme Court heard arguments in a case about a workers compensation law, but the seven judges still have not issued a ruling.

The law makes it harder for people to win compensation benefits. And workers, employers and attorneys are anxiously waiting for a decision.

This is the longest amount of time the court has spent deciding a case in recent years.

In fact, the Missouri Supreme Court already has waited four times as long as its average span from hearing arguments to issuing opinions, according to an Associated Press analysis of 182 opinions issued by the court in 2007 and 2008.

The Supreme Court is not saying why this case is taking so long.

However, Beth Riggert, an attorney who serves as a spokeswoman for the court, noted that the cases which come before the high court "tend to involve particularly difficult legal issues."

"While the court strives to decide cases as expeditiously as possible, the court will take as much time as it believes it needs to give proper consideration to all the legal issues the parties raise in a case, to reach the decision the law requires, and to explain the reasons for that decision in a clear and thorough manner," Riggert said in a written response to questions about the delay in the workers' compensation case.