Posts tagged "Spaniol’s"

Spaniol’s Case (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-141-13)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.  If you find a typographical error or other formal error, please notify the Reporter of Decisions, Supreme Judicial Court, John Adams Courthouse, 1 Pemberton Square, Suite 2500, Boston, MA 02108-1750;  (617) 557-1030; SJCReporter@sjc.state.ma.us       SJC‑11218   BRUCE SPANIOL’S CASE.     Suffolk.     April 2, 2013.  ‑  July 30, 2013. Present:  Ireland, C.J., Spina, Cordy, Botsford, Gants, Duffly, & Lenk, JJ.       Workers’ Compensation Act, Insurer, Amount of compensation, Attorney’s fees, Settlement agreement.       Appeal from a decision of the Industrial Accident Reviewing Board.   After review by the Appeals Court, the Supreme Judicial Court granted leave to obtain further appellate review.     Kimberly Davis Crear for the insurer. Charles E. Berg for the employee. Paul M. Moretti, for Property Casualty Insurers’ Association of America, amicus curiae, submitted a brief.       SPINA, J.  At issue in this case is whether a provision of the Workers’ Compensation Act (act) pertaining to attorney’s fees, G. L. c. 152, § 13A (10), allows an insurer to withhold up to twenty-two per cent of an employee’s compensation award for specific injuries under G. L. c. 152, § 36, to offset the insurer’s payment of the attorney’s fees incurred by the employee.  We conclude that it does not.  Therefore, we reverse the decision of the reviewing board (board) of the Department of Industrial Accidents (department), which reached a contrary conclusion. 1.  Statutory and regulatory framework.  General Laws c. 152, § 13A (10), provides, in relevant part: “The attorneys’ fees specified in this section shall be the only fees payable for any services provided to employees under this chapter unless otherwise provided by an arbitration agreement pursuant to section ten B.  In any instance in which an attorney’s fee under subsection (1) to (6), inclusive, is due as a result of a cash award being made to the employee either voluntarily, or pursuant to an order or decision, the insurer may reduce the amount payable to the employee within the first month from the date of the voluntary payment[,] order or decision, by the amount owed the claimant’s attorney; provided, however, that the amount paid to the employee shall not be reduced to a sum less than seventy-eight percent of what the employee would have received within that month if no attorney’s fee were payable” (emphasis added).   General Laws c. 152, § 5, vests the Commissioner of Industrial Accidents (commissioner) with the authority to “promulgate rules and regulations consistent with this chapter for carrying out the functions of the department.”  See Solomon v. School Comm. of Boston, 395 Mass. […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - July 30, 2013 at 4:20 pm

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