Q: Trial scheduled for disputed attorney fees.
I am an Applicant In pro per. I settled my WC case before trial thru a signed C&R. I dismissed my attorney a year before the settlement reached for "cause''. He now wants 15% of the settlement amount and has filed a DOR for it which I have objected and the case is set for Trial for attorney fee. I am still self-represented and have few questions which I appreciate your help.
1) Would a "Court reporter" be present in the Trial for attorney fee similar to the trial for WC case which is settled by myself thru C&R?
2) Do I have the same legal rights under WC law and entitled to file a "Petition for Reconsideration" if I disagree with the judge's final order on this matter? just like the right I had for an unfavorable WC final order by the judge.
A: 1) If the WCJ believes testimony is needed, then there will be a court reporter, otherwise most everything will be done in the WCJ chambers.
2) Yes you have all the rights available with respect to any trial result.
The attorney is entitled to payment Quantum Merit. That means the attorney gets paid for work done. I bill at $425 an hour, so it doesn't take long to generate thousands of dollars in attorney fees, especially with phone calls and emails billing at .2 hr each. You say you fired the attorney "for cause" but that can mean many things. For example, cause would be showing up late for a court date, or dressing improperly, etc. Yes, the attorney got fired, but the attorney is entitled to get paid for all work done up the the time the attorney was fired.
To keep it short, you are not going to convince at WCJ not to award attorney fees. I suggest you bargain with the attorney for a 12% fee and move on with your life.
A: JUST ANSWERED YOUR QUESTION ON AVVO: Be Careful!!!
Yes, if the matter goes on the record, the Judge has to call a Court Reporter. Yes, if you find a serious error of fact or law, you have the right to file a Petition For Recon.
NO, YOU CANNOT judge serve a Petition for Reconsideration just because you disagreed with the Judge. Filing an appeal with no basis in law can result in the judge ordering you to pay fines. Filing an appeal just because you disagree with a judge but failing to state any mistake made can get you designated as a VEXACIOUS LITIGANT and get you fined thousands for all the time the judge and the defense attorney spent answering your pleadings... ten$ of Thou$ands, if you are not careful.
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