BRIAN KROMKE (Wilmington) defended a compensable claim where the quadriplegic Plaintiff had a home voluntarily built by the carrier and who requires 24/7/365 attendant care from an RN and an NA to help him with every aspect of living in his own home and not in an institution. Plaintiff’s attorneys filed an expedited Hearing Request and dispensed with mediation, refusing to try and reach some agreements that would alleviate a Hearing. Plaintiff’s attorneys contended several modifications to Plaintiff’s home were necessary, despite the attendant care. They also contended roughly $700.00 in outstanding bills were unreasonably not paid by the carrier (out of a total of $3.2 million paid) and asked for attorneys fees in their pursuit of payment of the bills. The evidence illustrated that instead of helping effectuate payment of these bills over the course of roughly three years, Plaintiff’s counsel tried to “paper the file to death” and then seek attorneys fees from the IC through the hearing process. For the time period March 8, 2005 through June 25, 2008, Plaintiff’s attorneys claimed 1303.35 total hours were spent on “bill recovery” and their fee request was $86,188.50 with expenses of $5,087.19. The honorable DC Phil Baddour ordered the defense to make a number of modifications to the home on top of what AIG stipulated to provide pre-hearing and he also granted Plaintiff’s counsel attorney’s fees. On our appeal, the Full Commission wholly overturned the defense-negative portions of the DC’s O&A. AIG’s bill handling was found to be reasonable, no attorney’s fees were ordered to the plaintiff and the IC even ordered Plaintiff’s counsel to stay out of all aspects of bill handling. Plaintiff’s attorneys did not appeal.

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