An injured worker was entitled to additional attorneys’ fees for which she sought reimbursement incurred during trial on an underlying request for legal fees in her workers’ compensation claim, an Oregon appeals court has ruled.
In a ruling Wednesday, the Oregon Court of Appeals sided with plaintiff Karista Peabody, who filed an occupational disease claim against SAIF Corp.
Peabody’s claim was initially denied, but she fought the denial and then filed a request for $31,000 in attorney’s fees should she win her case.
The Workers Compensation Board reversed an administrative law judge’s denial of claims and found that Peabody was entitled to a reasonable attorney̵7;s fee of $12,500, but reconsidered later and found that $21,280 was more appropriate.
Peabody moved for reconsideration, arguing that she was now entitled to additional attorney’s fees incurred in bringing the underlying request for attorney’s fees.
The Board denied the request, finding that additional fees cannot be awarded when the only issue in the underlying case is the reasonableness of a separate attorney’s fee award.
The Court of Appeals disagreed, holding that the corporation’s board had “authority to award, and the plaintiff was entitled to receive, reasonable fees incurred in determining the amount of the fee to which the plaintiff was entitled to prevail against SAIF’s denial of her claim for board review .”
The court referred the case back to the board.