Roberts v. Sticklen, slip opinion no. 2014-CA-000793-WC (Ky.App. 2014) (Designated to be published): An attorney representing multiple parties on one claim is limited to one fee with the statutory maximum of $12,000.
Roberts represented the surviving spouse, three children and estate of a deceased claimant arising from a single claim alleging a work-related death. Following settlement of the claim, Roberts sought an order approving five separate motions for attorney fees amounting to fees just under $30,000. The ALJ concluded Roberts had represented multiple parties on just one claim and limited him to the statutory maximum of $12,000 per KRS 342.320(2). The Court of Appeals agreed and hinged its holding on what constitutes an “original claim” as the term is used in KRS 342.320. Relying on Curry v. Toyota Motor Mfg. KY., Inc. 91 S.W.3d 557 (Ky. 2002), it determined that “original claim” means one claim and one work-related injury. The court held the settlement and resulting benefits in the matter before it stemmed from one claim and one work-related incident, resulting in entitlement to one fee not exceeding $12,000.