SOCIAL SERVICES LAW | WORKERS’ COMPENSATION | ATTORNEY FEES

Submitted by New Jersey Workers Compensation Lawyer, Jeffrey Hark

62-2-3970 Patel v. Showboat Casino, App. Div. (per curiam) (6 pp.)

Petitioner appeals a perceived inadequate fee award to his counsel on a motion for medical and temporary disability benefits in the Division of Workers’ Compensation. Because the fee awarded was in accord with applicable law and well within the discretion of the judge of compensation, the appellate panel affirms. The judge appropriately found that a greater fee based on the $280,000 spent on petitioner’s treatment was not warranted because those payments resulted from the uncontested reinstatement of the claim and not petitioner’s motion for medical and temporary disability benefits. Counsel’s $5000 fee was based solely on his approximately ten hours of time spent in connection with the motion. The judge concluded that counsel’s motion to reinstate petitioner’s claim accomplished petitioner’s goals of reinstating his claim and re-authorizing treatment. The motion for medical and temporary disability was not necessary to compel respondent’s compliance with its obligation to furnish necessary medical and surgical treatment. Nevertheless, the judge found that counsel’s efforts in scheduling a prompt independent medical exam and filing the motion were justified.

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