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                                   BRB No. 92-2662

RICHARD DOBIHAL                         )
          Claimant-Petitioner           )
     v.                                 )
DRY DOCK COMPANY                        )    DATE ISSUED:   04/26/1995
          Self-Insured                  )
          Employer-Respondent           )    DECISION AND ORDER

     Appeal of the Supplemental Order-Attorney Fees of Bruno DiSimone,
     District Director, United States Department of Labor.

     Clifford W. Cuniff, Annapolis, Maryland, for claimant.

     Donna L. Jacobs and Gloria S. Wilson (Semmes, Bowen & Semmes),
     Baltimore, Maryland, for employer.

     Before:  HALL, Chief Administrative Appeals Judge, SMITH and DOLDER,
     Administrative Appeals Judges.


     Claimant appeals the Supplemental Order (04-0028993) of District Director
Bruno DiSimone awarding an attorney's fee 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 sought benefits for a work-related hearing loss.  Employer
controverted the claim, and the case was transferred to the Office of
Administrative Law Judges for a hearing.  The administrative law judge found that
employer is liable for claimant's benefits as the responsible employer and he
awarded claimant benefits for a stipulated 6.6 percent binaural impairment. 
Thereafter, the administrative law judge awarded claimant's counsel a fee in the
amount of $4,073.13, representing 28.50 hours of legal services at the rate of $135
per hour, and $225.63 for costs.

     Claimant's counsel also filed a fee petition for work performed before the
district director, requesting a fee in the amount of $1,485 representing 11 hours
of legal services at the hourly rate of $135.  Employer submitted objections to
counsel's fee request.  After considering employer's objections, the district
director awarded claimant's counsel a fee in the amount of $931.50 representing 6.9
hours of legal services at the hourly rate of $135.

     On appeal, claimant contends that the district director erred by arbitrarily
reducing the number of hours requested without adequate explanation.  Employer
responds, urging affirmance of the district director's Supplemental Order as it is
in accordance with law.

     We agree that the district director's fee award does not comport with law, as
a sufficient explanation for reductions in fee requests must be provided. See
Devine v. Atlantic Container Lines, G.I.E., 23 BRBS 279 (1990); Bell v.
Volpe/Head Construction Co., 11 BRBS 377 (1979).  Where a district director has
not set forth a sufficient explanation for the reduction, the Board is prevented
from reviewing the award and will remand the case to the district director for an
explanation. Devine, 23 BRBS at 288; Speedy v. General Dynamics
Corp., 15 BRBS 448 (1983).

     In the instant case, the district director stated that employer had proposed
reasonable objections to the amount of time claimed, but failed to specifically
discuss the application of the regulatory criteria of 20 C.F.R. §702.132 to
the fee reduction.  Moreover, the district director neglected to state which
specific hours were being disallowed.  Therefore, the award must be vacated and the
case remanded for reconsideration pursuant to the regulatory criteria. Roach v.
New York Protective Covering Co., 16 BRBS 114 (1984).   On remand, the district
director must specify any reductions and provide an explanation therefor.
Devine, 23 BRBS at 288.

     Accordingly, the district director's Supplemental Order-Awarding an Attorney's
Fee is vacated and the case is remanded for reconsideration consistent with this



                         BETTY JEAN HALL, Chief
                         Administrative Appeals Judge


                         ROY P. SMITH
                         Administrative Appeals Judge


                         NANCY S. DOLDER
                         Administrative Appeals Judge

NOTE: This is an UNPUBLISHED LHCA Document.

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