Cases Discussed: Lockhart v. New Hampshire Ins. Co., 1999 MT 205

MCCF v. Liberty NW and Rusco [7/30/03] 2003 MTWCC 54 Medical benefits are not disputed for purposes of an award of attorney fees under Lockhart v. Hampshire Ins. Co., 1999 MT 205, 25, 295 Mont. 467, 984 P.2d 744, where the claimant initially failed to submit his claim to the second insurer in a Belton situation (Belton v. Carlson Transport, 202 Mont. 384, 658 P.2d 405 (1983)), and where once submitted the insurer requested additional information so it could properly evaluate his claim.
Bustell v.AIG Claims Service, Inc. and Ins. Co. of PA [8/18/03] 2003 MTWCC 50 The Lockhart attorney fee lien applies to all medical benefits secured through the efforts of the claimant's attorney. Lockhart v. New Hampshire Ins. Co., 1999 MT 205, 295 Mont. 467, 984 P.2d 744. Where the insurer has denied all liability and the Court finds the claim compensable, those efforts encompass both past and future medical benefits, therefore the lien applies to all medical benefits, past and future.
Kemp v. CIGNA Property & Casualty [12/16/99] 1999 MTWCC 81 Following Lockhart v. New Hampshire Ins. Co., 1999 MT 205, counsel for a medical provider wrote an insurer asserting that the medical provider must be paid its fees without deduction of the 20% attorney fee lien which the Supreme Court had decided must come out of medical benefits when the attorneys work resulted in obtaining medical benefits in a disputed liability case. Counsel attempted to distinguish Lockhart as applying only when other benefits were not sufficient to satisfy the fees. WCC held counsel's argument was frivolous under Lockhart, suggesting it may be sanctionable if made in a case in which counsel actually appeared.