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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Counsel Fees Awarded Against An Employer Who Failed to Pay Timely

A NJ Appellate Court has ordered that an employer must pay counsel fees to an injured worker's attorney, on an hourly basis, when the employer is penalized. The employer failed to timely pay an award for compensation benefits to the injured worker. The Appellate Court ruled that the workers' attorney was entitled, in additional to the standard contingency fee, and counsel fees awarded for the appeal of the matter, to an award for services rendered to enforce the Order of the court.

The Appellate Court, presented with the issue three times on appeal, exercised its original jurisdiction, and held "....that an award of attorney's fees is mandatory and the judge of compensation is not limited by the statutory formula governing fee awards following an award of benefits. Quereshi v. Cintas Corp. (Quereshi I), 413 N.J. Super. 492, 503 (App. Div. 2010)."

In its decision the Appellate Court opined, "...the judge of compensation misinterpreted our original opinion"....and that "the alternative interpretation of the judge's action -- willful defiance of our mandate --is completely unacceptable behavior."

Qureshi v. Cintas Corporation, A-2703-10T2 (NJ App Div 2012) Decided Feb 15, 2012 (Quereshi III), Unpublished Decision.  2012 WL 469726 (N.J.Super.A.D.

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