In local news:

A recent First Circuit decision sheds light on the importance of clarity and detail when a settlement seeks the approval of attorney’s fees. In Malaysia Brown v. C&S Wholesale Services, Brown successfully settled a workers’ comp claim with her employer with the assistance of her attorney Ann Johnson-Griffin for an agreed-upon sum worth 20 percent of the final settlement value. However, the workers’ compensation judge lowered Johnson-Griffin’s fees from the 20 percent (equal to $27,000 of the $135,000 lump sum) to less than half of the that amount. As an explanation, the WCJ wrote that: “Sett of $135K w/ $125K future meds. Only $10K available that is not for future medicals. Therefore, atty fees reduced to $10,000.” Johnson-Griffin appealed based on the contract she had with her client. The First Circuit ruled in her favor, restoring the fees to $27,000 and explaining that: “the WCJ did not consider Ms. Johnson-Griffin’s time, skill, and effort […] we cannot find, nor did the WCJ direct us to, any statutory or jurisprudential authority providing that, in a workers’ compensation case, an attorney cannot be paid a fee for his services from funds allocated to or awarded for future medical expenses.”

Read the entire decision: Brown v. C&S Wholesale Services

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