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                                 BRB No. 98-0812

RONALD H. McCRAVEY                      )
          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 Fees and Order of
     Jeana F. Jackson, District Director, United States Department of Labor.

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

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

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


     Claimant appeals the Compensation Order Award of Attorney's Fee and Order
denying claimant's motion for reconsideration (Case No. 6-157884) 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 based upon his alleged work-related hearing impairment.  Employer accepted liability for the claim and
voluntarily paid permanent partial disability benefits to claimant on April 15,
1994, prior to any formal adjudication of the claim.  On May 9, 1994, employer
accepted liability for claimant's medical expenses, specifically hearing aids and
the cost of claimant's initial hearing evaluation.  Thereafter, claimant's counsel
submitted a petition for an attorney's fee for work performed before the district
director, requesting a fee totaling $900, representing 6 hours of attorney's
services at $150 per hour, plus expenses of $74.  In her Compensation Order Award
of Attorney's Fee dated December 10, 1997, the district director found that all
time claimed prior to May 13, 1994, the thirtieth day following the filing of the
claim, would be chargeable to claimant as a lien upon his compensation, but that
given the minimal amount of claimant's award it would be inequitable to assess any
fee against him as it would deprive him of any compensation for his injury.   Next,
the district director determined that, as the claim was accepted and benefits were
paid on April 15, 1994, time claimed after that date was not chargeable to employer
since no further benefits were derived after that date.  The district director also
denied $19 of the requested legal expenses for xeroxing, as she found that this was
included in overhead expenses, but awarded costs of $55.  In a letter dated
February 10, 1998, the district director denied claimant's motion for

     On appeal, claimant's counsel challenges only the district director's denial
of an attorney's fee for services rendered after April 15, 1994.  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 April 15, 1994, reflect legal
work that was required in order to ensure that this claim was properly wrapped up
and, as such, these fees should be paid by employer as they are reasonable and
necessary "wind up" services associated with the claim.  We disagree.  In denying
the fee requested by claimant's counsel, the district director in the case at bar
specifically found that the thirtieth day following the filing of the claim was May
13, 1994; the record does not dispute, and neither party challenges, this finding. 
Moreover, it is uncontroverted that employer tendered all disability and medical
benefits to claimant prior to May 6, 1994.  Thus, as employer did not decline to
pay any compensation to claimant on or before the thirtieth day following the
filing of this claim, we affirm the district director's determination that employer
is not liable for claimant's counsel's attorney fees.  See 33 U.S.C.
§928; 20 C.F.R. §702.134.

     Accordingly, the district director's Compensation Order 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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