Montana Code Annotated 2023



Part 6. Claims for Benefits

Calculation Of Attorney Fees -- Limitation

39-71-614. Calculation of attorney fees -- limitation. (1) The amount of an attorney's fee assessed against an insurer under 39-71-611 or 39-71-612 must be based exclusively on the time spent by the attorney in representing the claimant on the issues brought to hearing. The attorney must document the time spent, but the judge is not bound by the documentation submitted.

(2) The judge shall determine a reasonable attorney fee and assess costs. The hourly rate applied to the time spent must be based on the attorney's customary and current hourly rate for legal work performed in this state, subject to a maximum established by the department.

(3) This section does not restrict a claimant and an attorney from entering into a contingency fee arrangement under which the attorney receives a percentage of the amount of compensation payments received by the claimant because of the efforts of the attorney. However, an amount equal to any fee and costs assessed against an insurer under 39-71-611 or 39-71-612 and this section must be deducted from the fee an attorney is entitled to from the claimant under a contingency fee arrangement.

History: En. Sec. 2, Ch. 575, L. 1985; amd. Sec. 19, Ch. 464, L. 1987; amd. Sec. 64, Ch. 613, L. 1989.