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Briefly Speaking – FL Case Law Summaries (7/6/17)

TUMBNAIL - Briefly Speaking 150

By:                    Ryan M. Knight – Miami

Contributor:   Tara Said – Pensacola

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June 2017 Attorney Fees & Costs Orders

Robert Willoughby v. Madison Correctional Institute

JCC Lazzara: Tallahassee District                        Order Date: June 2, 2017

OJCC Case: 16-023787                                             JCC Order: Click Here

Claimant’s Counsel: Erika Brenneman               E/C Counsel: Thomas Criss

Hourly Fee Awarded: $250/hour

Summary: Claimant’s Counsel petitioned for a $4,000 E/C paid fee in addition to the $4,500 statutory fee. The JCC found that that only six hours were reasonably expended in obtaining the past benefits valued at $63.28. Claimant’s Counsel was awarded only $1,500 of the $4,000 requested fee based on an hourly rate of $250 per hour.


Willie Worlds v. Progressive Employer Management

JCC Almeyda: Miami District                              Order Date: June 7, 2017

OJCC Case: 15-025523                                            JCC Order: Click Here

Claimant’s Counsel: Kevin Gallagher                 E/C Counsel: Andrew Borah

Hourly Fee Awarded: $250/hour

Summary: Claimant’s Counsel was successful in obtaining $594 in benefits. Claimant’s Counsel alleged 91.8 hours were expended in obtaining these benefits with a corresponding range of $325-$375. Counsel for the Employer/Carrier argued that only 33 hours were spent in procuring the obtained benefits. The Employer/Carrier also maintained that a rate of $300 per hour was more reasonable. The JCC determined that because many of the hours were not related to the procured benefits, the hours should be reduced to 67.5. The JCC also determined that due to simplicity of the case and the small value of benefits procured, a rate of $250 per hour was more reasonable. Claimant’s Counsel was awarded $16,875. Claimant’s motion for rehearing was denied.


Kenneth Ray Boyd v. Dixie Mac dba McDonalds

JCC Rosen: St. Petersburg District                      Order Date: June 7, 2017

OJCC Case: 16-022165                                             JCC Order: Click Here

Claimant’s Counsel: Dana Greenbaum              E/C Counsel: Gregory Brooks

Hourly Fee Awarded: $250/hour

Summary: Counsel for the Employer/Carrier failed to timely respond to Claimant’s Verified Fee Petition. As such, the JCC awarded the $6,125 requested by Claimant’s Counsel based on 24.5 hours at $250 per hour.


Jose Cereijo v. City of Miami

JCC Almeyda: Miami District                                              Order Date: June 8, 2017

OJCC Case: 95-008776                                                           JCC Order: Click Here

Claimant’s Counsel: Mark Touby & Richard Sicking     E/C Counsel: Richard Otruba

Hourly Fee Awarded: Stat fee only

Summary: Claimant’s Counsel filed a Verified Fee Petition requesting an upward departure from the statutory fee schedule based on the complexity of the case. The total amount of benefits obtained were $541,796. The JCC concluded that the statutory fee guideline of $54,929 resulted in a reasonable hourly rate. The JCC did not state how many hours were expended during litigation but nevertheless denied the request for an upward departure from the statutory guideline fee.


Robin Shultz v Target Corporation

JCC Hogan: Ft. Lauderdale District                     Order Date: June 9, 2017

OJCC Case: 12-026886                                           JCC Order: Click Here

Claimant’s Counsel: Mark Touby                       E/C Counsel: David Gold

Hourly Fee Awarded: $350/hour

Summary: Claimant’s Counsel was successful in obtaining benefits valued at $1,500. The JCC found that Claimant’s Counsel reasonably expended 153.7 hours during the course of litigation. The JCC ordered the Employer/Carrier to pay Claimant’s Counsel $53,795 based on an hourly rate of $350 per hour.


Michael Dzielak v. Lee Squared, Inc.

JCC Weiss: Ft. Myers District                             Order Date: June 9, 2017

OJCC Case: 15-014341                                           JCC Order: Click Here

Claimant’s Counsel: Victor Arias                       E/C Counsel: David Hamilton Roos

Hourly Fee Awarded: Stat fee only

Summary: Claimant’s Counsel requested an attorney fee of $35,525 based on 109.3 hours at $325 per hour. The Employer/Carrier argued that of those hours, only 11.16 were spent in procuring the relevant benefits. The JCC agreed with the Employer/Carrier and ruled that only 11.16 hours were reasonable. This amount would have resulted in a downward departure so Claimant’s Counsel was awarded a statutory fee of $2,847.31.


Juan Miranda v. Pinnacle Engineering & Development and Builders Insurance

JCC Almeyda: Miami District                              Order Date: June 15, 2017

OJCC Case: 16-002236                                           JCC Order: Click Here

Claimant’s Counsel: Robert Rivera                    E/C Counsel: Allison Harnett

Hourly Fee Awarded: $100/hour

Summary: Claimant’s Counsel sought a fee of $15,090 based on 50.3 hours expended at $300 per hour. The Claimant, however, failed to present any competent substantial evidence that any benefits had actually been provided. Claimant apparently had no interest in any of the petitioned benefits as he failed to appear for a deposition and did not seek medical treatment authorized. The JCC determined that the statutory fee based on the $0.00 of benefits was $0.00. As a fee of $0.00 is unreasonable, the JCC awarded a fee of $3,590 based on 35.9 hours at $100 per hour. Claimant’s motion for rehearing was denied.


Cathleen Casper Fernandez v. Tarpon Helpers

JCC Rosen: St. Petersburg District                      Order Date: June 15, 2017

OJCC Case: 16-030800                                            JCC Order: Click Here

Claimant’s Counsel: William Heller                    E/C Counsel: Anne Dinan

Hourly Fee Awarded: $250/hour

Summary: The JCC determined that Claimant’s Counsel reasonably spent 103 hours obtaining TPD benefits valued at $8,400. The JCC therefore awarded a fee of $25,750 based on an hourly rate of $250 per hour.


Darrin Gatlin v. Sherwood Food Distributors

JCC Weiss: Ft. Myers District                                   Order Date: June 27, 2017

OJCC Case: 14-000479                                               JCC Order: Click Here

Claimant’s Counsel: Cory Schnepper & Clifford Moskowitz E/C Counsel: Robert Rodriguez                   

Hourly Fee Awarded: $250/hour

Summary: Claimant’s Counsel filed a Verified Fee Petition alleging 85.81 hours were expended and a reasonable rate of $450 per hour. The Employer/Carrier argued that only 37.46 hours were expended in regards to the relevant benefits. Of those hours, only 11.37 hours were spent by the lead attorney. The JCC concluded that 44.6 hours were reasonably spent and a rate of $250 per hour was reasonable. The Employer/Carrier was therefore ordered to pay Claimant’s Counsel $11,150.


Elmo Zorrilla v. Harbor America

JCC Kerr: Miami District                                        Order Date: June 29, 2017

OJCC Case: 16-015112                                              JCC Order: Click Here

Claimant’s Counsel: Robert Feldman                 E/C Counsel: Stephanie Robinson

Hourly Fee Awarded: $350/hour

Summary: The JCC determined that Claimant’s Counsel reasonably expended 25 hours during the course of litigation. It was also determined that a rate of $350 was reasonable based on the Lee Engineering factors. Claimant’s Counsel was therefore awarded $8,750.