Attorney Fired Late in the Case Entitled to Quantum Meruit Recovery of Fee

An attorney represented the client from September 2007 through May 16, 2008, when the employer/workers compensation carrier offered $ 7,500 to resolve the case. Before the offer was accepted, the client discharged the attorney and hired a new attorney.
Three days later, the new attorney settled the case for $ 10,000. The JCC denied the attorneys entitlement to fees under a quantum meruit theory, concluding that because the attorney did not "secure" any benefits, no fees were due under § 440.34(4), Fla. Stat. (2003). (WCxKit)
The appellate court held that although the new statute limited the amount of attorneys fees that could be paid based on the amount of benefits secured, it did not, either expressly or by implication, suggest that the Legislature intended to abolish a discharged attorneys right to obtain an equitable quantum meruit share of the recovery by way of a charging lien. 
The court remanded the case to the JCC to make the appropriate determination as to whether the attorney was entitled to a quantum meruit charging lien and the appropriate amount. [See Rosenthal, Levy & Simon, P.A. v. Scott, 17 So. 3d 872, 2009 Fla. App. LEXIS 13672 (Fla. 1st DCA 2009); see Larson's Workers Compensation Law Ch. 133, § 133.03 [5] n41  
Copyright 2011 LexisNexis. All rights reserved. This material is excerpted from Larson's Workers Compensation Law. Reprinted with permission.
Workers Comp Resource Center Newsletter

Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.

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