Information for Attorneys and Representatives Before the Office of Administrative Law Judges:
In certain types of cases adjudicated by the Department of Labor, attorneys or non-attorney representatives may or must file fee petitions. Special rules may apply depending on the case area. An attorney or representative representing a client before DOL, therefore, should become familiar with applicable procedural regulations.
For example, in Black Lung Benefits Act cases, a claimant may not be charged a fee by an attorney unless benefits are awarded. 20 C.F.R. §725.365. If benefits are awarded, attorney's fees are paid by the employer or the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund. The attorney must file a fee petition with the presiding ALJ in compliance with 20 C.F.R. §725.366. If a successful claimant was represented by a non-attorney representative and there is no employer liable for the payment of the benefits, the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund will not pay fees or costs to lay representatives. In such a circumstance the claimant is personally liable for any fees owed. As with attorneys, however, if no benefits are awarded a lay representative may not charge a fee for the unsuccessful representation.
In cases in which a fee petition is submitted to the presiding ALJ, attorneys and representatives must present evidence documenting the hours worked and the rates claimed. If the documentation of hours is inadequate, the award may be reduced.
For more information, see
- Judges' Benchbook of the Black Lung Benefits Act (2003), Chapter 27, Representative's Fees and Representation Issues
- Judges' Benchbook: Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act (2002), Topic 28, Attorney's Fees
- Nuclear and Environmental Whistleblower Digest, Division XVI, Damages and Remedies, Subdivision E, Litigation Expenses
- STAA Whistleblower Digest, Division IX, Damages and Remedies, Subdivision C, Litigation Expenses