Defense Base Act Compensation Blog

The Modern Day DBA Casualty

Posts Tagged ‘DBA Lawyers’

All’s Fair in Love and AIG WAR? No Ethics ?

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on March 14, 2012

Defense Base Act Claimants really are in another War Zone when they must file a DBA Claim.

As it turns out many, too many, of the Plaintiff’s own Attorneys are aiding and abetting the enemy

Last January ALJ  Berlin awarded the Dill Widow DBA Death Benefits in a very important PTSD/Suicide Claim.

This claim was denied for five years while Wade Dill’s  widow Barbara’s integrity was brutally attacked as though she had pulled the trigger herself.

KBR refused to supply Wade Dill’s medical records and other reports which would have exposed the state of mind he was in while still in Iraq.  But it is OK to defy discovery if you are AIG/KBR-SEII.  Do not try this yourself, you’ll lose your claim.

Dennis Nalick was the Attorney who brought this claim to a successful decision. 

Barbara Dill’s next Attorney, Bruce H Nicholson, refused to address misinformation in the records saying “you won the claim why would you want to mess with it”.

Mr Nicholson refuted any suggestion that this very important decision would be appealed.  He went so far as to tell the Widow that she should discontinue corresponding with those who assured her it would be.  Bad people we are, just trying to upset her needlessly.

AIG KBR SEII via Michael Thomas appealed the decision.

Mr Nicholson never responded to the Benefits Review Board on behalf of the Widow though he assured her he was on top of it and he and the widow corresponded regularly.

On February 28 the BRB overturned the ALJ’s decision, unopposed.  The widow was not represented at all.

Mr. Nicholson was though, prior to this decision, negotiating a “settlement” with Michael Thomas and AIG which would take this important PTSD Suicide decision out of this WAR as case law for all impending and future PTSD Suicide claims.  The same Mr Nicholson who posted here at the blog in response to the award:

“The decision represents a sound road map for work related contractor suicide claims and is unlikely to be overturned when followed.”

We ask, is no one in this wretched biased system held to any standard of ethical practice?

Mr Nicholson was responsible for representing the Widow and he did not.

Would it not have been a requirement of those who were involved in this to make the widow aware, to speak up?

We do not kid ourselves that this was simply a case of friendly fire.  There was too much at stake here.

Posted in AIG and CNA, AWOL Medical Records, Chartis, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Defense Base Act, Defense Base Act Attorneys, Defense Base Act Insurance, Defense Base Act Law and Procedure, Defense Base Act Lawyers, Defense Medical Examinations, Delay, Deny, Department of Labor, Dropping the DBA Ball, Follow the Money, Iraq, KBR, LHWCA Longshore Harbor Workers Compesnation Act, Misjudgements, Political Watch, PTSD and TBI, Suicide | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

My Defense Base Act Attorney is not responding to my calls or emails

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on April 27, 2011

AWOL DBA Attorneys

This is a complaint we hear everyday from Injured Contractors.

There are different reasons why this may be happening to you but trust that none of them are good.

Do not wait to hear from an ALJ or the DoL that your claim has been lost or severely damaged due to missing a deadline or not having been filed properly.

If your DBA lawyer is not responsive to your questions and not keeping you updated on the status of your claim you need to contact the Department of Labor yourself to check up on the status of your claim.

Always be certain that the DoL has a current, accurate, address for you so that you will receive copies of all actions being taken on your claim by both sides.  If you do not understand what the paperwork you receive means you need to find out right away.     Often there are 10 day deadlines for responding that must be met.

Always stay on top of your DBA Claim yourself, always.

Posted in Defense Base Act, Defense Base Act Attorneys, Defense Base Act Law and Procedure, Defense Base Act Lawyers, Department of Labor, Dropping the DBA Ball, LHWCA Longshore Harbor Workers Compesnation Act, OALJ | Tagged: , , , , , , | 10 Comments »

Longshore and Defense Base Act Reasonable Hourly Rate Determination

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on February 17, 2011

Longshore Act: Reasonable Hourly Rate Determination – Overview of Recent Decisions

Posted by the BRB Staff at Lexis Nexis

By Yelena Zaslavskaya
Senior Attorney for Longshore, Office of Administrative Law Judges
U.S. Department of Labor, Washington, D.C.

A. The Governing Law

Section 28 of the Longshore Act, 33 U.S.C.S. § 928, provides for an award of a “reasonable attorney’s fee” to a prevailing claimant’s attorney payable by employer (Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, 33 U.S.C.S. § 901 et seq.).

See also 20 C.F.R. §§ 702.132, 802.203.

Section 702.132(a) provides that a fee application must indicate the normal billing rate for each person who performed services on behalf of the claimant. The regulations further provide that any attorney’s fee approved shall be reasonably commensurate with the necessary work done and shall take into account the quality of the representation, the complexity of the legal issues involved, and the amount of benefits awarded.[FN2] 20 C.F.R. § 702.132(a),

see also 20 C.F.R. § 802.203(e).[FN3] In addition, case law addressing what constitutes a reasonable fee under other federal fee-shifting statutes is also applicable to fee determinations under the LHWCA. See City of Burlington v. Dague, 505 U.S. 557, 120 L. Ed. 2d 449, 112 S. Ct. 2638 (1992); see also Stanhope v. Elec. Boat Corp., 44 BRBS 107 (2010) (and cases cited therein). 

Continue reading this post with corresponding case law here

From the Longshore Manual

  1. Determination of Reasonable Legal Fee.
    1. In determining whether a fee is reasonable, a number of factors must be considered. A partial list of factors is provided in subparagraph 7b, below, but it is not all-inclusive. Although there may be a broad agreement on the factors to be considered in setting fees, in practice the standards of what is appropriate compensation for claimant’s counsel vary markedly from one State to another (The Law of Workmen’s Compensation, Arthur Larson). The variation is reflected not only in statutory limits but also in administrative and judicial decisions.
    2. The following factors should be considered in determining a reasonable legal fee (See 20 C.F.R. section 702.132):
      1. Usefulness and necessity of the representative’s services to the claimant.
      2. Nature and complexity of the claim.
      3. Actual necessary work performed (the itemization showing the dates on which services were performed, brief descriptions of services, time spent on each, and the amount of fees requested. Time spent in preparation of a fee application is a appropriate factor to be considered in the determination of a reasonable attorney fee). (See LHWCA Circular No 97-01).
      4. Amount of benefits involved.
      5. Customary local charges for similar services.
      6. Professional qualifications of the representative.
      7. When the fee is to be assessed against the claimant, the financial circumstances of the claimant are also to be taken into account.
      8. Enhancement for extraordinary delay in receiving payment. (See Anderson vs. Director 30 BRBS 67 (CRT) and LHWCA Circular No 97-01).
      9. Whether the fee is reasonable in relation to the results obtained. [(See Bullock v. Ingalls Shipbuilding 27 BRBS 90, July 16, 1993, for a decision of the two-prong test under Hensley vs. Eckerhart 461 U.S. 424 1983).]
    3. In considering the factors above, emphasis is given to the factor in subparagraph 7b(1), above. Before considering the other factors, the necessity or usefulness of the representative’s services should be considered. If the necessity for the service is questionable, the fee should be kept to a minimum. Many States prescribe, by statute or administrative regulation, the maximum dollar or percentage amount which can be charged. Others permit a sliding scale which allows certain percentages on various portions of the award.Since almost all States in one way or another regulate the amount of legal fees for claimants’ representatives, any person approving a legal fee under this act should be aware of the various States’ workers’ compensation laws governing attorney’s fees in that DO’s jurisdiction.
    4. If the requested fee is reduced, the DD must advise the attorney or representative in writing of the reduction, and state the reason(s) for the reduction. This may be stated in the compensation order approving the fee or in a letter accompanying the compensation order; however, any change must be justified. The recipient of a fee for representation of a claimant, if dissatisfied with the amount awarded, may appeal to the Benefits Review Board (BRB) for a review of the award.
    5. In the absence of collusion, when the parties in arm’s length settlement negotiation have reached an agreement on the amount of the fee which is the responsibility of the employer/carrier, the DD should approve the fee unless it is clearly excessive (Ballard v General Dynamics, 12 BRBS 966 (1980) and Watkins v Ingalls, 26 BRBS 179 (1993)).

Posted in Civilian Contractors, Defense Base Act Attorneys, Defense Base Act Law and Procedure, Defense Base Act Lawyers, Department of Labor | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Who Pays Your Defense Base Act Attorneys Fees ?

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on February 15, 2011

Alert:  We have received a report that a DBA Attorney is taking part of a claimants compensation checks.  This is  very low tactic and we hope this attorney is soon exposed.

When a Defense Base Act Attorney or Law Firm advertises “no money upfront, or no fees upfront”, or that all fees must be approved, or that their fee is contingent, it means that they plan to have you pay their fees out whatever lost wages or medical you may be awarded.  Never ever hire one of these lawyers who would take  money from you when the insurance company is supposed to pay.  Ask them how this benefits them because it sure as hell does not benefit you !!

“The way the Defense Base Act is set up in terms of attorneys fees (no up front attorney fee is required, all lawyer fees must be approved and an attorney fee is contingent and will only be owed if we are able to collect funds for you”  Clever, how would you know they mean that YOU will be owing these fees

The Defense Base Act provides for your attorney fees to be paid for by the Insurance Company.

9th Circuit Court Upholds LHWCA/DBA Attorney’s fees

In disputed claims, the attorney fee frequently is assessed against the employer and is paid in addition to compensation

You would probably not be at this blog  nor would you need an attorney if your claim were not disputed.

Your DBA Attorney is required  to keep track of their hours and expenses (receipts) for the duration of the legal process and turn them in to the ALJ or DD for approval and subsequent payment by the DBA Insurance Company when they have in fact succeeded in securing an award in your favor.

It is not illegal for a Defense Base Act Attorney to charge Injured Contractors and Widows these fees.

The fees do have to be approved by an ALJ or DD and we do not know why an ALJ or DD would allow this.

But it might just be illegal for a Defense Base Act Attorney to have Injured Contractors and Widows sign on to pay as much 40%  without ever disclosing to them that they are not required to do so under the Act.

We’d love to hear what excuses these attorneys are using to bleed more money out of the Injured Contractors and Widows, many of them foreign and more susceptible to this treatment.

Please let us know in the comment section below if you have been asked to pay your attorneys legal  fees.

From the Longshore Manual

Fee When Carrier Declines to Pay Compensation. Under section 28(a), if an EC does not pay any compensation within thirty days after receiving written notification of a claim being filed, and the case is later settled at the informal level in favor of the claimant, the DD/CE must assess the fee for an attorney against the EC

Fee Where Voluntary Payment Made, But Controversy Arises Over Amount of Additional Compensation.

  1. If the EC voluntarily pays compensation without an award and a controversy develops over the amount of additional compensation (if any) to which the claimant may be entitled, the DD/CE shall, within ten days of knowledge of the controversy, set the case for an informal conference. Either at the conference or afterwards, the DD/CE is to recommend in writing the disposition of the matter. If the claimant has utilized the services of an attorney during this period to obtain additional compensation, any additional legal fee (based on efforts to obtain additional compensation) is to be assessed against the EC.

Continue reading here to learn why your informal conference is so important to you which we will soon post on.

Posted in Civilian Contractors, Defense Base Act, Defense Base Act Attorneys, Defense Base Act Insurance, Defense Base Act Law and Procedure, Defense Base Act Lawyers, Department of Labor, Follow the Money, Injured Contractors, LHWCA Longshore Harbor Workers Compesnation Act, Misjudgements, Racketeering | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 32 Comments »

Why Thar’s Gold in Them Injured Contractor’s DBA Claims

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on January 29, 2011

Or So You’d Think……..

Seems like just yesterday one  Houston Attorney was bragging to the media

that he was one of only a few attorneys across the country who even handled

Defense Base Act Claims

-for better or worse-

For too many of  us here it proved to be for worse

As of late there are a rash of new websites up for Attorneys

who want to represent you in your DBA claim

In the words of one Attorney

“there is so much money, just there for the taking”

He was not referring to the claimants award

We welcome new untainted blood to the DBA Attorney gene pool

We are pleased to have more attorneys advocating for the injured contractor

when indeed that is their intention

But please do not do further harm to the injured and widowed by taking on claims

you are ill prepared or inclined to put up a tenacious and timely fight for

To those of you who know the law and will advocate for the claimant

Welcome to the Wild Wild West

but it’s no gold mine

Posted in Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Defense Base Act Attorneys, Defense Base Act Law and Procedure, Defense Base Act Lawyers | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Why does the question of whether DBA attorneys take kickbacks come up so often?

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on August 15, 2010

We’ll start this with our disclaimer:

We do not know if any Defense Base Act Plaintiff’s  attorneys  take financial kickbacks or any other possible kickback  from DBA insurance companies.  We just see the question come up often.

These are our own plaintiff’s attorneys that this question is being asked about.

Financial reward is likely the driving force behind the DBA insurance company defense attorney, though we suspect it is more a sport for a few of them.

But offering, or taking, a bribe to throw an injured contractor’s claim at a hearing or talk him into taking a much smaller settlement than he is entitled too,  would have disastrous legal implications for any attorney who were caught.  The insurance company would probably not miss a profit.

Never the less, this question remains a very hot topic.  One that many would be compelled to ask when researching the outcomes of claims of Injured War Zone Contractors and the Death Benefit Claims of those who did not survive.

If not for financial reward then what would drive an Attorney/Lawyer  to allow an insurance company to deny benefits to clearly maimed and/or mentally disabled persons without putting up the best fight possible utilizing every resource available to them?

The Reasonable costs of representing a claimant must also be paid by the insurance company and it is not the Insurance companies’ attorney who decides what legal costs will be paid, it is the Judge.

The lack of effort and resources put into most DBA Claimants cases saves the insurance companies billions of dollars without ever an outright exchange of dirty money necessary.

Posted in Contractor Casualties and Missing, Defense Base Act Law and Procedure, Follow the Money, Injured Contractors, Misjudgements, Political Watch, Racketeering | Tagged: , , , , , , | 8 Comments »

Danger: Never attend an Insurance Company Second Opinion Unarmed

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on July 27, 2010

Never attend any medical or psychiatric evaluation on behalf of the DBA insurance company without your lawyer or an advocate that your attorney provides and

Never attend one of these without a videographer.


The Insurance Company may have you see a doctor of their choice for a second opinion.  While you must attend these you are afforded many rights under the DBA that are being ignored at your expense by YOUR attorneys, the DoL, and the ALJ”s.   Ask your attorney what your rights are.

This is especially important if you are a TBI or PTSD patient.  You will need an advocate with you at all times who is able to protect you from inappropriate questioning and intimidation tactics.

You are required to attend, you must cooperate within the “scope and purpose” of the examination as it relates to the aspect of your claim you are being examined for.

Your lawyer, your advocate, and your video of the examination are your only defense against manipulative and deceitful Doctors who are paid by insurance companies to help deny your claim.

Shame on you DBA attorneys who send your unsuspecting clients into these ambushes blind, far from their geographic area, without the scope and purpose of the examination clearly defined, on short notice and without even checking the credentials and backgrounds of these insurance company whores.

And even more worrisome are the ALJ’s who set aside the rights afforded the claimant under the very rules and regulations used to set up these deceitful exams on behalf of the insurance company.

Never attend an Insurance Company Second Opinion Unarmed

Posted in ACE, AIG and CNA, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Defense Base Act Law and Procedure, Department of Labor, Dropping the DBA Ball, Misjudgements, OALJ, Political Watch | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

A Day with the Covington Cabal

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on June 4, 2010

Another opportunity to join the Insurance Companies and their legal firms and cohorts in Covington, if you can afford it.

Save the Date !!

A Day with the Department of Labor
September 29, 2010
Pan American Life Center
New Orleans, LA

Posted in ACE, AIG and CNA, Civilian Contractors, Defense Base Act Law and Procedure, Department of Labor, OALJ | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

In desperation KBR attorneys attempted to “encourage” Army to reconsider

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on June 4, 2010

June 2, 2010 — Ms Sparky

On February 23, 2010 the law firm of McKenna Long & Aldridge sent a letter to the Army on behalf of their client KBR. The letter was entitled:

Re:  Request for Reconsideration of Denial of Use of LGEN (Ret.) Ricardo S. Sanchez as Expert Witness

Apparently the Army’s recent decision to not allow LGEN (Ret.) Ricardo S. Sanchez to supply expert testimony on KBR’s behalf didn’t sit well.

I first blogged about LGEN Sanchez testimony in March but didn’t have the letter at that time. I have it now and am disturbed at the sheer level of arrogance of KBR’s attorneys.

I am not going reprint the entire three page letter in this post. If you want to read it in it’s entirety click HERE. I am going to highlight what I consider to be the most disturbing and desperate statements in the letter followed by my Ms Sparky (snarky) interpretation.

Read this post at MsSparky’s

Posted in Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, KBR, Toxic Exposures | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

The Defense Base Act Compensation Blog

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on October 26, 2008

Welcome to the Defense Base Act

$$$$   We are the Best Kept Secret of the Wars   $$$$

DoL Jacksonville District Office and CNA

Blood on their Hands

 Is the Department of Labor covering up for companies who fail to provide DBA Insurance and those who fail to file claims, late or never?

and how should the taxpayer feel about them hiring “Reputation Management” Firms to cover up their cover ups?

CNA Lies to the DoL

Civilian Contractor Casualty Count

Our Fallen Contractors Memorial

At Least 121 Civilian Contractor Deaths in Third Quarter of 2012

At Least 59 Civilian Contractor Deaths in Second Quarter of 2012

At Least 49 Civilian Contractor Deaths filed on in First Quarter of 2012

At Least 418 Civilian Contractor Deaths in 2011

After Injury, The Battle Begins House Oversight Committee

“Something cruel, heartless and cynical took place in the back rooms of carriers with responsibility for civilian claims. If you like Edgar Alan Poe, you’ll love the claims files of AIG and CNA.”

War Hazards Act pays Insurance Companies

more for expenses

than to Claimants for compensation

Class Action Tax Misclassification filed against Xe, Formerly Blackwater

CNA May Finally Face Criminal Charges

Eysslinck Vs Ronco Consulting Injustice Prevails

CNA’s Double Agent in South Africa




Contact us at

All comments made here are solely the opinion of the person commenting and not necessarily the opinion of this blog.

Posted in ACE, AIG and CNA, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Defense Base Act, Defense Base Act Attorneys, Defense Base Act Insurance, Defense Base Act Law and Procedure, Defense Base Act Lawyers, Department of Labor, Dropping the DBA Ball, Injured Contractors, LHWCA Longshore Harbor Workers Compesnation Act, OALJ, War Hazards Act | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments »

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