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                                  BRB No. 98-376

JAMES O. BEASLEY, SR.                   )
          Claimant-Respondent           )    DATE ISSUED:   10/21/1998
     v.                                 )
INGALLS SHIPBUILDING,                   )
INCORPORATED                            )
          Self-Insured                  )
          Employer-Petitioner           )    DECISION and ORDER

     Appeal of the Supplemental Decision and Order Awarding Attorney Fees of 
     Richard D. Mills, Administrative Law Judge, United States Department of

     Rebecca J. Ainsworth (Maples & Lomax, P.A.), Pascagoula, Mississippi,
     for claimant.

     Traci M. Castille (Franke, Rainey & Salloum), Gulfport, Mississippi, for

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


     Employer appeals the Supplemental Decision and Order Awarding Attorney Fees
(94-LHC-2121) of Administrative Law Judge Richard D. Mills 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's counsel sought an attorney's fee of $956.25, representing 6.375
hours at $150 per hour, for work performed before the administrative law judge in
connection with claimant's hearing loss claim.  The administrative law judge
awarded counsel a fee of $796.88, representing 6.375 hours at an hourly rate of
$125.  Employer appeals the administrative law judge's fee award, incorporating by
reference the arguments it made below into its appellate brief.  Claimant responds,
urging affirmance of the fee award.  Employer filed a reply brief.

     Employer's objections to the number of hours and hourly rate awarded are
rejected, as it has not shown that the administrative law judge abused his
discretion. See Ross v. Ingalls Shipbuilding, Inc., 29 BRBS 42 (1995);
Maddon v. Western Asbestos Co., 23 BRBS 55 (1989); Cabral v. General
Dynamics Corp., 13 BRBS 97 (1981).  Employer's specific contention, that the
administrative law judge erred in allowing .125 hours on each of three dates for
the review of correspondence concerning the applicability of Section 8(f), is
without merit.  The administrative law judge reasonably determined that claimant's
counsel's fee request was not excessive and that counsel was entitled to review all
correspondence to keep abreast of the issues. 

     We also reject employer's contention that the administrative law judge should
have disallowed the 2.125 hours claimed after August 26, 1994, when employer
completed payment to claimant for a 19.69 percent binaural hearing loss and
accepted liability for medical benefits, as there was no "successful prosecution"
after this date.  The administrative law judge reasonably awarded the fee as
requested after concluding that the time was spent to close out the case. See
generally Nelson v. Stevedoring Services of America, 29 BRBS 90 (1995);
Anderson v. Todd Shipyards Corp., 22 BRBS 20 (1989).

     Contrary to employer's remaining contention on appeal, the administrative law
judge's award of a fee of $796.88 is clearly reasonable in view of claimant's
success in obtaining payment for a 19.69 percent binaural impairment. See
Hensley v. Eckerhart, 461 U.S. 424 (1983); Ingalls Shipbuilding, Inc. v.
Director, OWCP [Baker], 991 F.2d 163, 27 BRBS 14 (CRT)(5th Cir. 1993);
George Hyman Constr. Co. v. Brooks, 963 F.2d 1532, 25 BRBS 161 (CRT)(D.C.
Cir. 1992).

     Accordingly, the Supplemental Decision and Order of the administrative law
judge is affirmed.

     SO ORDERED.  

                           ROY P.  SMITH                                     Administrative Appeals Judge


                         REGINA C.  McGRANERY
                         Administrative Appeals Judge


                         MALCOLM D.  NELSON, Acting
                         Administrative Appeals Judge

NOTE: This is an UNPUBLISHED LHCA Document.

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