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Briefly Speaking – FL Case Law Updates (10/17/17)

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Alonzie Wiggins v. Personnel Staffing Group

JCC Medina-Shore: Miami District                     Order Date: September 6, 2017

OJCC Case: 15-027193                                             JCC Order: Click Here

Claimant’s Counsel: Erik Grindal                       E/C’s Counsel: Stephanie Robinson

Hourly Fee Awarded: $350 per hour

Summary: The Employer/Carrier stipulated to Claimant Counsel’s entitlement to an E/C paid fee for securing the following benefits: custom shoes ($300.00), physical therapy ($10,000.00), urological referral ($5,000.00), TPD benefits from 5/13/16 through 5/5/17 ($15,879.52), and home attendant care ($12,507.63). The Employer/Carrier argued that a fee ranging from $8,450 to $10,985.00 was appropriate based on 33.8 hours and an hourly range of between $250.00 and $350.00. Claimant’s Counsel sought a fee of $42,680 based on 106.7 hours at $400 per hour. The Judge determined that a fee of $26,250 based on a rate of $350 was appropriate based on the benefits obtained and the complexity of the case. 


Luis Bomate v. Kendal Imports and Summit

JCC Owens: Port St. Lucie District                     Order Date: September 25, 2017

OJCC Case: 13-023691                                           JCC Order: Click Here

Claimant’s Counsel: Rayo Moreno                    E/C’s Counsel: Omar Perez

Hourly Fee Awarded: $225 per hour

Summary: The Judge rejected Claimant Counsel’s argument that the hours spent litigating the hourly rate were compensable because the Employer/Carrier had stipulated to fee entitlement. A disagreement as to the hourly rate does not make the hours spent regarding the fee compensable. The Employer/Carrier stipulated to fee entitlement in their motion to compel verified fee petition so no additional hours could be included. The JCC concluded 5.4 hours were reasonably incurred for attending claimant’s deposition when no petition was pending. The JCC awarded Claimant’s Counsel $1,215 based on an hourly rate of $225.


Henry Crist v. Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office

JCC Rosen: St. Petersburg District                         Order Date: September 29, 2017

OJCC Case: 16-005054                                               JCC Order: Click Here

Claimant’s Counsel: Christopher Petruccelli       E/C’s Counsel: L. Gray Sanders

Hourly Fee Awarded: $325 per hour

Summary: Compensability was established after the Claimant prevailed at Final Hearing over that issue. The order was also affirmed by the First DCA. Both parties agreed that 102.9 hours were reasonably incurred during litigation. The JCC determined that the complexity of the case was such that a fee of $325 per hour was reasonable despite that being higher than the district’s standard rates. Claimant’s Counsel was therefore awarded $33,442.50.


Nereyda O’Neil v. Fresh Express Inc.

JCC Sojourner: Lakeland District                       Order Date: September 29, 2017

OJCC Case: 16-022556                                            JCC Order: Click Here

Claimant’s Counsel: Daniel DeCiccio                 E/C’s Counsel: Neil Ambekar

Hourly Fee Awarded: $275 per hour

Summary: Claimant’s Counsel’s entitlement to an E/C paid fee was established after he prevailed at Final Hearing on TPD, penalties and interest, notice, and misrepresentation. Claimant’s Counsel requested a rate of $350 per hour based on his board certification and the complexity of the case. The JCC, however, agreed with the Employer/Carrier that a rate of $275 per hour was more appropriate for this case. It was determined that 52.27 hours out of the alleged 71.06 hours were related to the procurement of benefits. Claimant’s Counsel was therefore awarded $14,374.30.