Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Madill v. State Compensation Insurance Fund

Court of Workers Compensation of Montana

May 28, 1997

GERALD MADILL Petitioner
v.
STATE COMPENSATION INSURANCE FUND Respondent/Insurer for GREENFIELD IRRIGATION DISTRICT Employer.

          JUDGMENT AWARDING ATTORNEY FEES

          Mike McCarter Judge

         Summary: Supreme Court directed Workers' Compensation Court to award attorney fees and costs to claimant. On remand, amount of fees is at issue.

         Held: Documented costs awarded. Attorneys fees awarded regarding benefits attorneys work obtained for claimant. Attorneys fees denied with respect to claimant's successful pursuit of attorneys fees through appeal. Supreme Court decision governs scope of fees and does not authorize order of attorneys fees on attorneys fees. Moreover, authority for attorneys fees is statutory (section 39-71-612, MCA (1979)), with statutory language not authorizing attorneys fees on attorneys fees.

         Topics:

Constitutions, Statutes, Regulations and Rules: section 39-71-612, MCA (1979). On remand following Supreme Court decision ordering award of attorneys fees, Workers' Compensation Court refused to order attorneys fees on successful appeal to obtain attorneys fees where statute does not authorize such fees.
Attorney Fees: Cases Denied. On remand following Supreme Court decision ordering award of attorneys fees, Workers' Compensation Court refused to order attorneys fees on successful appeal to obtain attorneys fees where section 39-71-612, MCA (1979) does not authorize such fees and Supreme Court opinion did not address such fees.

         This case is on remand from the Supreme Court, which directed an award of attorney fees and costs to claimant, Gerald Madill (Madill). The decision of the Supreme Court governs the award.

. . . Madill is entitled to an attorney fee based on the difference between 300 weeks of benefits at his partial disability benefit rate, and the total disability benefits to which Madill has been entitled since May 31, 1988, and to which he will be entitled during the remainder of his life expectancy. The presumption is that a reasonable basis for the attorney fee award is Madill's fee agreement with his attorney. See Wight v. Hughes Livestock Co., Inc. (1983), 204 Mont. 98, 664 P.2d 303. That agreement provides for a fee equal to twenty percent of those amounts recovered due to the attorney's efforts. That portion of the fee related to those amounts which have already been paid is due in a lump sum. Any fee related to periodic benefits which are owed to Madill in the future should be paid periodically.

Madill v. State Fund, 930 P.2d 665, 673, 54 St. Rep. 54 (1996).

         Subsequent to the remand, Madill, through his attorney, filed various statements and memoranda setting out his claim for attorney fees and costs. The amounts claimed are as follows:

(1) Attorney fees on benefits already paid

$23, 456.13

(2) Costs set out in original statement

$3, 709.60

(3) Costs on appeal

$350.75

(4) Costs set forth in a supplementary Application for Taxation ofCosts, dated March 7, 1997 (This application includes the costs of appeal set forth separately in item (3))

$894.55

(5) Attorney's fees with respect to the award of attorney fees and costs

$9, 055.24

TOTAL CLAIMED

$37, 466.27

         Respondent has three objections to the amount claimed. First, it objects to $87.50 in undocumented costs. Second, it objects to the double counting of the costs on appeal. Third, it objects to any award of attorney fees upon attorney fees. Its objections are meritorious and are sustained. It also objects to claimant's request for interest.

         The first and second objections require little discussion. The $87.50 is indeed undocumented and claimant can recover his costs only once. Therefore, the amounts requested by claimant must be reduced by $438.25 ($87.50 plus $350.75.)

         As to claimant's request for an award of attorney fees with respect to his successful pursuit of attorney fees, he cites no authority for such award other than general language concerning the net award concept. His request is denied for two reasons. First, the Supreme Court decision in this case governs the scope of any award made upon remand and that decision does not authorize the award of attorney fees on attorney fees. Second, the statute governing an award of attorney fees expressly states that claimant is entitled to attorney fees based on the "difference between the amount settled for or awarded and the amount tendered or paid . . . ." § 39-71-612, MCA (1979); Madill v. State Compensation Ins. Fund, No. 96-117, slip op. at 13 (Mont. January 2, 1997). The language is plain on its face, permitting an ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.