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An injured worker was entitled to additional attorneys fees for which she sought reimbursement that were incurred while litigating over an underlying petition for legal fees in her workers compensation claim, an Oregon appeals court has ruled.
In a Wednesday decision, the Court of Appeals of Oregon sided with claimant Karista Peabody, who filed an occupational disease claim against SAIF Corp.
Ms. Peabody’s claim was initially denied, but she fought the denial, and then filed a petition seeking $31,000 in attorneys fees if she prevailed in her case.
The Workers Compensation Board overturned an administrative law judge’s claim denial, and found Ms. Peabody was entitled to a reasonable attorneys fee of $12,500, but later reconsidered and found that $21,280 was more appropriate.
Ms. Peabody sought reconsideration, arguing she was now entitled to additional attorneys fees she incurred while litigating the underlying petition for attorneys fees.
The board rejected the request, finding additional fees are not awardable when the sole issue in the underlying case is the reasonableness of a separate attorneys fee award.
The appeals court disagreed, ruling that the comp board was “authorized to award, and claimant was entitled to receive, reasonable fees incurred in determining the amount of the fee award to which claimant was entitled for prevailing against SAIF’s denial of her claim on board review.”
The court remanded the case back to the comp board.