Benefits: Medical Benefits: Lockhart

Briese v. Ace American Ins. Co. [02/20/09] 2009 MTWCC 5 A Lockhart lien is a payment which a claimant makes to his attorney out of his medical benefits and therefore, a penalty may attach to a Lockhart lien pursuant to § 39-71-2907, MCA, because a penalty may be imposed on the “full amount of benefits due a claimant during the period of delay or refusal to pay.”

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.