Briefly Speaking – FL Case Law Update (5/4/18)

April 2018 Attorney Fees & Costs Orders

Marilyn Kay Kopp v. Heartland Dental

JCC Dietz: Melbourne District                        Order Date: April 5, 2018

OJCC Case:  17-004257                                    JCC Order: Click Here

Claimant’s Counsel: Michael J. Celeste        E/C’s Counsel: Justin R. Crum

Hourly Fee Awarded: $300/hour for Partner and $200/hour for Associate

Summary: Claimant’s Counsel obtained PTD benefits valued at $198,204.26. The guideline fee on that benefit was $20,570.43 which equates to an hourly rate of $216.42. The JCC determined this rate was unreasonable and awarded an upward adjustment. Based on the Lee Engineering factors, the JCC awarded claimant’s attorney a fee of $28,065 based on an hourly rate of $300/hour for the partner and $200/hour for the associate.

Cecil Matthews v. City of Jacksonville

JCC Holley: Jacksonville District                        Order Date: April 17, 2018

OJCC Case: 14-008786                                       JCC Order: Click Here

Claimant’s Counsel: John H. Rahaim              E/C’s Counsel: Michael Arrington

Hourly Fee Awarded: $300/hour for Partner and $250/hour for Associate

Summary: This claimant was successful on appeal and alleged 58.65 hours were expended during the appeal. The Judge found that the issues present in this case, mainly the heart/lung issues, were novel and required a higher level of expertise. Out of the 58.65 hours alleged, the Judge determined 54.95 of those hours were reasonable. The Judge ultimately awarded an appellate attorney fee of $14,987.50 based on a rate of $300 per hour for the lead attorney and $250 per hour for the associate.

Rogelia Orozco v. Top Cut Lawn Services

JCC Hedler: West Palm Beach District               Order Date: April 26, 2018

OJCC Case: 16-025853                                            JCC Order: Click Here

Claimant’s Counsel: David C. Wiitala                 E/C’s Counsel: Scott LeVine

Hourly Fee Awarded: $350 per hour

Summary: The Claimant was successful at a prior Final Hearing and obtained back due TPD benefits along with penalties and interest. Claimant’s Counsel alleged 91.2 hours were incurred during the litigation. Claimant’s Counsel testified that this time was reasonable as the litigation included six depositions, two trial memoranda, and a five hour Final Hearing. The Employer/Carrier alleged only 64.8 of those hours were reasonable and related to the secured benefits. The Judge ruled that all 91.2 hours were reasonably incurred in the litigation. Claimant’s Counsel was awarded a fee of $31,920 based on an hourly rate of $350 per hour.