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Saturday, May 29, 2010

Employer Responsible For Payment of Counsel Fees On Penalty

"... a judge of compensation must award counsel fees in addition to a penalty when an employer fails to make timely payment of temporary disability benefits and the appropriate standard to fashion the reasonable attorneys' fees allowed by statute. We hold that an award of attorneys' fees is mandatory and the judge of compensation is not limited by the statutory formula governing fee awards following an award of benefits. See N.J.S.A. 34:15-64.

"...a petitioner who resorts to section 28.1 to force payment of temporary disability benefits receives not only the 25% penalty but also reasonable legal fees incurred "as a result of and in relation to [the] delay[ ] or refusal[ ]." The fee is not subject to the 20% limitation of section 64, and shall be calculated in accordance with the standard factors for constructing a fee award.

Petitioner was represented by NJ Super Lawyer, David Tykulsker, Esq.