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                                 BRB No. 98-0810

ROBERT  E.  LEWIS                       )
          Claimant-Petitioner           )    DATE ISSUED:   01/27/1999

     v.                                 )
INGALLS SHIPBUILDING,                   )
INCORPORATED                            )
          Self-Insured                  )
          Employer-Respondent           )    DECISION and ORDER

     Appeal of the Compensation Order Award of Attorney's Fee and Denial of Motion
     for Reconsideration of Jeana F. Jackson, District Director, United States Department
     of Labor.

     Scott O. Nelson (Maples and Lomax, P.A.), Pascagoula, Mississippi, for

     Traci M. Castille (Franke, Rainey & Salloum), Gulfport, Mississippi, for
     self-insured employer.

     Before:  SMITH and BROWN, Administrative Appeals Judges, and NELSON,
     Acting Administrative Appeals Judge.        


     Claimant appeals the Compensation Order Award of Attorney's Fee and Denial of
Motion for Reconsideration (Case No. 6-122578) of District Director Jeana F. Jackson rendered
on a claim filed pursuant to the provisions of the Longshore and Harbor Workers'
Compensation Act, as amended, 33 U.S.C. §901 et seq. (the Act).  The
amount of an attorney's fee award is discretionary and may be set aside only if the
challenging party shows it to be arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, or
not in accordance with law. See, e.g., Muscella v. Sun Shipbuilding & Dry Dock
Co., 12 BRBS 272 (1980).

     Claimant filed a claim for benefits under the Act on October 28, 1991, based
upon his  work-related hearing impairment.  Employer later accepted liability for
the claim and voluntarily paid benefits on December 14, 1995, prior to any formal
adjudication of the claim. Thereafter, claimant's counsel submitted a petition for
an attorney's fee for work performed before the district director, requesting a fee
totaling $1,204, representing 2.75 hours at $125 per hour and 5.25 hours at $150
per hour, plus expenses of $72.75. In her Compensation Order Award of Attorney's
Fee dated December 10, 1997, the district director awarded claimant's counsel a fee
totaling $642.50, for 5.875 hours at $100 per hour, and $55 in expenses, of which
employer was ordered to pay $367.50, with the remainder of the fee, $275, payable
by claimant as a lien upon the compensation award.  Relevant to the instant appeal,
the district director denied any time for attorney services rendered after the date
that employer paid benefits, December 14, 1995, based on her finding that no
further benefits were derived from services performed subsequent to that date. 
Claimant thereafter filed a motion for reconsideration on the ground that the
district director erred in denying all fees requested after December 14, 1995, the
date on which employer voluntarily paid benefits.  The district director summarily
denied claimant's motion for reconsideration on February 10, 1998.

     On appeal, claimant's counsel challenges the district director's denial of an
attorney's fee for services rendered after December 14, 1995.  Employer responds,
urging affirmance of the fee award.  

     Claimant's counsel asserts that, contrary to the district director's
determination, all entries on the fee petition after December 14, 1995, totaling
.875 hours,  reflect legal work that was required in order to ensure that this
claim was properly wrapped up and, as such, these fees are compensable as
reasonable and necessary "wind up" services associated with the claim. 
Specifically, counsel argues that claimant did not receive authorization to obtain
hearing aids from Dr. Wold until February 22, 1996, and therefore, any time spent
by counsel on legal work up to that date in order to obtain these medical benefits
is compensable.  Additionally, counsel argues that entries subsequent to December
14, 1995, involving the forwarding of the compensation payment to claimant, explanation
to claimant that employer had not provided the wage records necessary to determine whether the proper amount of
benefits had been paid, and counsel's subsequent efforts to procure the requisite records
and ensure that the proper amount of compensation had been paid, are all reasonable
and necessary to claimant's claim and therefore are compensable as attorney's fees.

     The Board has recently addressed the issue presented by claimant's appeal in
Everett v.  Ingalls Shipbuilding, Inc.,    BRBS     , BRB No. 98-0492 (Dec. 
16, 1998).  In Everett, the Board held that employer may be held liable for
reasonable "wind-up" services after it has agreed to pay benefits, such as reading
the decision and calculating the amount of benefits due, if the time requested is
considered to be necessary and reasonable. See Everett, slip op.  at 3;
see also Nelson v.  Stevedoring Services of America, 29 BRBS 90 (1995).  For
the reasons stated in Everett, we hold, in the instant case, that the
district director erred in rejecting all time requested for attorney services
performed after December 14, 1995, on the ground that no further benefits were derived
subsequent to that date, without first considering the necessity and reasonableness
of the time requested as it may relate to any services performed to "wind-up" this
case.  We therefore vacate the district director's denial of an attorney's fee for
services performed after December 14, 1995.  On remand, the district director must
provide an adequate discussion of the time requested and services rendered by
claimant's counsel after December 14, 1995, and assess the necessity and
reasonableness of the work involved, in order to discern whether these entries
represent "wind-up" services for which counsel may be entitled to a fee, payable
by employer.

      Accordingly, the district director's denial of all attorney's fees after
December 14, 1995, is vacated, and the case is remanded to the district director for
further consideration consistent with this opinion.  In all other respects, the
district director's fee award is affirmed.


                         ROY P.  SMITH
                         Administrative Appeals Judge

                         JAMES F.  BROWN
                         Administrative Appeals Judge

                         MALCOLM D.  NELSON, Acting
                         Administrative Appeals Judge

NOTE: This is an UNPUBLISHED LHCA Document.

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