Serrano Ramon v Island StevedoRing, LLC, and Zurich American Insurance Company

DECISION AND ORDER APPROVING SETTLEMENT APPLICATION
By letter dated February 14, 2012, counsel for the employer/carrier, Robert L. Bamdas,
submitted an application for approval of agreed settlement in the above-captioned matter
pursuant to Section 8(i) of the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, as amended,
33 U.S.C. § 901, et seq., (the Act). The application is signed by the claimant’s counsel, David
Pacheco, the claimant and Mr. Bamdas.
Having considered the pertinent information contained in the settlement application with
respect to the claimant’s age and work history, the vocational evidence, claimant’s medical
history, the need for further medical treatment, and all other relevant factors as set forth in the
application and attachments thereto, in accordance with 20 C.F.R. §§ 702.242(a), 702.242(b)(1),
and 702.243(f), I find the amount of the settlement set forth in the application is adequate and
was not procured under duress.
The parties have considered the provisions of the Medicare Secondary Payer Act found at
42 U.S.C. § 1395y(b)(2) and its implementing regulations at 42 C.F.R. § 411. They agree that
because the claimant is not within thirty months of Medicare eligibility and the settlement is less
than $250,000, approval of the settlement is not required by the Center for Medicare Services – 2 –
(CMS). Notwithstanding, the parties have allocated $30,000.00 towards future Medicare
covered medical expenses and these funds will be paid directly to the claimant, but are intended
to be used for medical purposes related to this claim. Claimant agrees to waive any future
actions against the employer/carrier, including but not limited to any private cause of action for
damages pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1395y(b)(3)(A) et.seq. Included with the application is a
Medicare affidavit executed by the claimant. In approving this settlement, the undersigned is in
no way determining Medicare’s interests, if any, in this matter or whether Medicare’s interests
have been adequately protected under the provisions of the Medicare Secondary Payer Act.
An application for attorney’s fees, together with an affidavit in support of the fees, were
filed with the settlement application by claimant’s counsel, Clifford R. Mermell, in which he
itemizes the hours of services that he and Mr. Pacheco devoted to this case. Based on this
itemization and the hourly rates customarily charged by the respective members of his firm, Mr.
Mermell calculates that they normally would be entitled to total fees of $32,865.00 for this claim.
Notwithstanding, claimant’s counsel and the employer/carrier have agreed in the settlement
application to fees totaling only $27,500.00 for claimant’s counsel in this matter.
The attorney’s fees that the employer/carrier has agreed to pay claimant’s counsel to
settle this case appears significant. However, the claimant is receiving a lump sum of
$57,500.00 in compensation and $35,000.00 for past, present and future medical expenses. Thus,
I find Mr. Mermell and Mr. Pacheco have negotiated a successful result for their client through
this settlement, which I find is the most important factor to consider in determining the
reasonableness of counsel’s fees.
After carefully considering the attorney fee issue, I find that the agreed upon attorney’s
fee is reasonably commensurate with the necessary work performed in this matter, taking into
consideration the quality of the representation, the complexity of the legal issues involved, and
the amount of the benefits awarded. See 20 C.F.R. § 702.132(a) & (c). I therefore approve the
amount of fees that the employer/carrier has agreed to pay claimant’s counsel to settle this
matter.
ORDER
In accordance with the terms of the settlement agreement, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED
that:
1. Island Stevedoring, LLC and/or Zurich American Insurance Company shall pay
to the claimant the sum of Fifty Seven Thousand Five Hundred Dollars ($57,500.00)
in past, present and future compensation benefits;
2. employer/carrier shall pay to the claimant Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000.00) for
past, present and future medical benefits;
3. Island Stevedoring, LLC and/or Zurich American Insurance Company shall pay the
claimant Thirty Thousand Dollars ($30,000.00) for future Medicare covered medical
benefits; and,- 3 –
4. employer/carrier shall also pay to Clifford R. Mermell, Esquire, and David Pacheco,
Esquire, an additional sum of Twenty Seven Thousand Five Hundred Dollars
($27,500.00) as attorney’s fees, incident to counsel’s representation of claimant in
this proceeding.
5. Upon payment of the aforesaid amounts, any and all claims, including compensation
benefits, medical benefits, attorney’s fees, penalties, interest, and all other costs of
any kind arising out of or related to the claimant’s injury of September 6, 2009 made
the basis of this claim under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act
shall be discharged. ADONALD W. MOSSER
Administrative Law Judge
Full Document

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CASE NO.: 2011-LHC-00787
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Clifford R. Mermell, Esq.
Clifford R. Mermell, Esq., created the law firm of Gillis, Mermell & Pacheco, P.A. on March 1, 1996. Mr. Mermell has been the senior and managing partner of the firm since its creation. The firm was created to champion the rights of injured workers nationwide. It represents cases under the Worker's Compensation, Wrongful Termination, Personal Injury, Admiralty and Maritime, Defense Base Act, and Longshore & Harbor Worker's Compensation Act Laws.

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