Attorneys Fee: Amount

MONTANA SUPREME COURT DECISIONS
Bustell v. AIG Claims Service Inc., 2004 MT 362 (No. 04-124) The Supreme Court will not interfere with the determination of reasonable attorney’s fees absent a showing that the WCC has abused its discretion.
Bustell v. AIG Claims Service Inc., 2004 MT 362 (No. 04-124) Section 39-71-614, MCA (1985) was enacted as a direct response to the holding in Wight v. Hughes Livestock Co. (1983) 204 Mont. 98, 664 P.2d 303, superseded by statute as stated in Baeta v. Don Tripp Trucking (1992) 254 Mont. 487, 491, overruled on other grounds by Kloepfer v. Lumbermens Mut. Cas. Co. (1995) 272 Mont. 78, and was intended to eliminate any question that the basis for determining the fee would be an hourly fee, for which the Workers’ Compensation Judge has discretion in determining what is reasonable.
Madill v. State Compensation Insurance Fund, 280 Mont. 450, 930 P.2d 665 (1996) The presumption is that a reasonable basis for an attorney fee award is claimant's fee agreement with his attorney.
 
WORKERS' COMPENSATION COURT DECISIONS
Porter v. Liberty Northwest Ins. Corp. [03/06/08] 2008 MTWCC 12 Where Petitioner prevailed on some issues, but not on the issue related to his cervical condition, and where one doctor’s involvement with Petitioner’s case was specific to the causation issue involving the cervical condition, Petitioner cannot recover attorney fees for time his counsel spent working on that doctor’s involvement with the case.
Porter v. Liberty Northwest Ins. Corp. [03/06/08] 2008 MTWCC 12 A nurse consultant is not an attorney and therefore Respondent is not statutorily required to pay an “attorney fee” for the services of a nurse consultant.
Pinnow v. MSF [02/24/06] 2006 MTWCC 9 Where Petitioner sought to deny her attorney the 20 percent fee she agreed to in her Attorney Retainer Agreement, the Court found that her attorney obtained a very reasonable settlement of Petitioner’s claims. The Court noted that a strong presumption exists in favor of approving authorized contingent fee agreements, and Petitioner failed to meet her burden as to why the agreement should not be honored.
Bustell v. AIG Claims Service and The Ins. Co. of PA [11/14/03] 2003 MTWCC 66 Attorney fees awarded against the insurer must be based on documented hours of the attorney. No fees can be awarded where an attorney does not keep track of his or her time. Affirmed at Bustell v. AIG Claims Service Inc., 2004 MT 362 (No. 04-124).
Bustell v. AIG Claims Service and The Ins. Co. of PA [11/14/03] 2003 MTWCC 66 While the Department of Labor and Industry rule regarding attorney fees initially fixes a maximum fee of $75 an hour, the rule also allows for an increase of the hourly fee based upon consideration of ten factors. Giving consideration to those factors in this case, the Court awards the claimant's attorney fees at a $140 hourly rate, which it finds is a reasonable rate for his services. Affirmed at Bustell v. AIG Claims Service Inc., 2004 MT 362 (No. 04-124).
Bustell v. AIG Claims Service and The Ins. Co. of PA [11/14/03] 2003 MTWCC 66 While the attorney fee regulation of the Department of Labor and Industry, ARM 24.29.3802, was expressly enacted under section 39-71-613, MCA (1999), subsection (2), of that section generally authorizes it to establish attorney fees. The provision in section 39-71-614(2), MCA (1999), limiting the Court to the Department's schedule when awarding attorney fees, is mere recognition of the Department's authority under section 39-71-613, MCA. The claimant's attorney therefore had fair notice of the limitation and was not denied due process of law by application of the fee schedule. Affirmed at Bustell v. AIG Claims Service Inc., 2004 MT 362 (No. 04-124).
Bustell v. AIG Claims Service and The Ins. Co. of PA [11/14/03] 2003 MTWCC 66 Attorney fees which can be awarded by the Court must be based on the hours worked by the claimant's attorney at either his usual and customary hourly rate or the rate established by the Department of Labor and Industry, whichever is less. 39-71-614(2), MCA (1999). Affirmed at Bustell v. AIG Claims Service Inc., 2004 MT 362 (No. 04-124).
Ingebretson v. Louisiana Pacific Corp. [11/06/95] 1995 MTWCC 92 Under section 39-71-614, MCA (1991), and regulations adopted by the Department of Labor and Industry, the maximum recovery for attorneys fees is $75.