Briefly Speaking – FL Case Law Summaries (9/20/17)

TUMBNAIL - Briefly Speaking 150

By:                    Ryan M. Knight – Miami

Contributor:   Tara Said – Pensacola

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August 2017 Attorney’s Fees & Costs Orders

Miguel Hernandez v. Jakes Enterprises of Palm Beach

JCC Owens: Port St. Lucie District                     Order Date: August 4, 2017

OJCC Case: 15-013559                                           JCC Order: Click Here

Claimant’s Counsel: William Haro                     E/C’s Counsel: Michael Kiner

Hourly Fee Awarded: $275 per hour

Summary: The Employer/Carrier stipulated to fee entitlement on a petition requesting follow up medical care. Claimant’s Counsel alleged 63.5 hours were spent obtaining that benefit. JCC Owens disagreed and found that only 9.2 hours of the 63.5 were spent obtaining that specific benefit. Claimant’s Counsel was therefore awarded $2,530 based on a rate of $275 per hour.

Dustin Dwayne Maxwell v. Harbor Freight and Matrix Absence Management

JCC Pitts: Orlando District                                  Order Date: August 15, 2017

OJCC Case: 15-018690                                         JCC Order: Click Here

Claimant’s Counsel: Basil Valdivia                    E/C’s Counsel: Gina Jacobs

Hourly Fee Awarded: $250 per hour

Summary: Claimant’s Counsel alleged 32 hours were spent procuring the benefits at issue. Counsel for the Employer/Carrier alleged only 18 of those hours were spent specifically in obtaining those benefits. The Judge determined Claimant’s Counsel spent 24.3 hours procuring the requested benefits. Claimant’s Counsel was awarded $6,075 based on a rate of $250 per hour.

Arlene Tanis v. Florida Department of Transportation

JCC Lewis: Fort Lauderdale District                    Order Date: August 18, 2017

OJCC Case: 16-023702                                           JCC Order: Click Here

Claimant’s Counsel: Erik Grindal                       E/C’s Counsel: Diane Hernandez

Hourly Fee Awarded: $325 per hour

Summary: Counsel for the Employer/Carrier did not contest that Claimant’s attorney was entitled to an Employer/Carrier paid fee. There was a dispute however regarding the hourly rate to be paid and the number of hours spent obtaining the benefits in question. Claimant’s Counsel alleged 80.2 were spent in procuring the benefits while counsel for the Employer/Carrier asserted only 37.2 hours were reasonable. The JCC determined 60 hours were reasonably incurred. The JCC also determined that a rate of $325 per hour was reasonable and awarded $19,500 to Claimant’s Counsel.

Marlene Napoles v. Kendall Regional Medical Center

JCC Massey: Tampa District                              Order Date: August 25, 2017

OJCC Case: 15-013813                                         JCC Order: Click Here

Claimant’s Counsel: Mark Touby & Richard Sicking

E/C’s Counsel: George Kagan                           

Appellate Hourly Fee Awarded: $375 per hour

Summary: Claimant’s appellate counsel reasonably spent 111.4 hours during the course of the appeal. The attorneys disputed the appropriate hourly rate for Claimant’s Counsel. The Employer/Carrier alleged $350 to $375 was reasonable. Claimant’s Counsel alleged a rate between $650 and $800 was reasonable. The JCC ultimately determined the rate requested by Claimant’s Counsel was unreasonable and determined a rate of $375 was appropriate. Claimant’s Counsel was awarded $41,775 in appellate fees.