Francisco Gonzales vs. De Loach Ranches, And State Compensation Insurance Fund

In this case, De Loach Ranches and the State Compensation Insurance Fund were involved in a dispute over the amount of attorney's fees due to Francisco Gonzales. The WCJ initially found that Gonzales was 100% permanently disabled and returned the matter to the trial level to determine the appropriate attorney's fee. The WCJ determined that a fee of $33,600 was reasonable, but the attorney for Gonzales filed a petition for reconsideration, arguing that a 15% fee was more appropriate. The WCAB agreed and amended the award to defer the issue of the attorney's fee, the permanent disability indemnity award, and the order of commutation of the attorney's fee, and returned the matter to the trial level for the attorney

De Loach Ranches, And State Compensation Insurance Fund Francisco Gonzales , this matter to the trial level for further proceedings and decision by the WCJ.            On December 10, 2010, we amended the WCJ’s October 1, 2010 Findings and Award to find that applicant was 100 percent permanently disabled. We returned the matter to the trial level to determine the appropriate attorney’s fee. The WCJ explains, at pages 1-2 of his Report, “Following the WCAB Panel’s December 10, 2010 decision, this Court held a status conference on January 4, 2011. As is noted in the minutes of said conference, the issues of the total amount of permanent disability indemnity award (present value) and attorney fees submitted [sic] were submitted for decision. The minutes also state that the Court will refer the matter of present value to DEU and give the parties seven days to object. On January 20, 2011, this Court wrote counsel for both applicant and defendant and advised that the then present value of the 100% award [sic] approximately $280,025.12. The Court also advised that it anticipated an additional commutation of the attorney’s fees. Neither party objected. In fact, applicant advised, via Mr. Weinberger’s letter dated January 24, 2011, that applicant had no objection to the DEU calculations and requested that a commutation of the attorney’s fee be made. On March 10, 2011, this Court filed the instant decision, to wit: the present value of the permanent disability award (as of January 12, 2011) was approximately $280,025.12 and that $33,600.00 was a reasonable attorney’s fee.”            Applicant’s attorney filed a timely petition for reconsideration. Although the WCJ’s Report states that the petition was not properly verified, as required by Labor Code section 5902, applicant has demonstrated with his letter dated April 6, 2011, that the petition was verified.            Labor Code section 4906(d) provides, “In establishing a reasonable attorney’s fee, consideration shall be

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