Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in case of Dorothy Gilroy, w/o Joseph v. General Machine Products Company, No. A-69787.
Charles F. Quinn, appellant, for himself.
James N. Diefenderfer, with him Howard M. Ellner, for appellees.
President Judge Bowman and Judges Crumlish, Jr., Kramer, Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer, Rogers and Blatt. Opinion by Judge Mencer.
This is an appeal by Attorney Charles F. Quinn (appellant) from an order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board (Board). The Board's order modified a referee's determination by limiting the amount that appellant could recover from his client, Dorothy Gilroy (claimant), for services he performed pursuant to a
contingent fee agreement concerning her workmen's compensation claim.
The undisputed facts reveal that in 1973 claimant retained appellant to file a fatal claim petition on behalf of herself and her five children, based upon the alleged compensable death of her husband. Appellant and claimant entered into a contingent fee agreement which provided in relevant part:
"(2) Pursuant to 77 P.S. Section 998, I agree to an attorney's Contingent Fee of twenty percent (20%) out of any verdict, settlement, or award that I may receive and I further agree to pay said percentage of my benefits on all future benefits or awards arising out of the attorney's representation of me, and this is to include awards of total disability in futuro or partial disability in futuro, as arising under Section 307 of the Workmen's Compensation Act or the Occupational Disease Act of Pennsylvania. This percentage to be applied to all work done and completed at the level of the Referee.
"(3) Should there be appeals and effort by the attorney above the level of the Hearing Examiner or Referee and should that effort be of substantial benefit to me, I hereby give the Hearing Officer, empowered to determine fee, permission and authority to increase the fee of counsel up to but not above thirty-three and one-third percent (33 1/3%) on the basis and to the extent set forth in paragraph two.
"(4) Should nothing be realized by way of settlement, verdict or award, the attorney shall have no claim against me of any kind for services rendered or costs incurred by him.
"(5) All costs of litigation, including appeal costs, shall be paid first out of any sums received, before distribution is made and litigation costs are not to be taxed ...