Castellanos v. Next Door Co.Annotate this Case
Petitioner, who was injured in the course of his employment with Respondent, prevailed in his workers’ compensation claim through the assistance of his attorney. The fee awarded to Petitioner’s attorney amounted to only $1.53 per hour. Petitioner had no ability to challenge the reasonableness of the hourly rate, and both the Judge of Compensation Claims and First District Court of Appeal were precluded by Fla. Stat. 440.34, which mandates a conclusive fee schedule for awarding attorney’s fees to the claimant in a workers’ compensation case, from assessing whether the fee award was reasonable. The First Circuit certified a question to the Supreme Court regarding the constitutionality of section 440.34, which creates an irrebuttable presumption that precludes any consideration of whether the fee award is reasonable to compensate the attorney. The Supreme Court held that the mandatory fee schedule in section 440.34 is unconstitutional under as a violation of due process under both the state and federal Constitutions. Remanded for entry of a reasonable attorney’s fee.