Workmen’s Compensation – Proceedings to Secure Compensation – Allowance of Attorney’s Fees to Claimants Unsuccessful on Appeal

Employee claimed total permanent disability as a result of an industrial accident, but was awarded compensation for only a twenty percent permanent disability. Claimant was denied certiorari by the Florida District Court of Appeals. However, claimant’s request for an allowance of reasonable attorney’s fees for the unsuccessful appeal was granted. Claimant’s employer was then granted certiorari on its contention that the Florida workmen’s compensation statute and a past Florida Supreme Court decision had established that attorney’s fees would be allowed only when the claimant’s appeal was successful. On certiorari, held, award of attorney’s fees affirmed. The statute allows an appellate court a sound judicial discretion as to whether attorney’s fees should be allowed to the attorneys for the claimant-employee, even though he is unsuccessful on appeal. However, the court should impose upon an unsuccessful claimant-appellant a heavy burden to show the justification for the allowance of additional attorney’s fees under such circumstances. Wick Roofing Co. v. Curtis, (Fla. 1959) 110 S. (2d) 385.