28 CFR § 32.7 - Fees for representative services.

§ 32.7 Fees for representative services.

(a) A person seeking to receive any amount from (or with respect to) a claimant for representative services provided in connection with any matter under this part may petition the PSOB Office for authorization under this section. Such petition shall include -

(1) An itemized description of the services;

(2) The total amount sought to be received, from any source, as consideration for the services;

(3) An itemized description of any representative or other services provided to (or on behalf of) the claimant in connection with other claims or causes of action, unrelated to the Act, before any public agency or non-public entity (including any insurer), arising from the public safety officer's death, disability, or injury;

(4) The total amount requested, charged, received, or sought to be received, from any source, as consideration for the services described in paragraph (a)(3) of this section;

(5) A statement of whether the petitioner has legal training or is licensed to practice law, and a description of any special qualifications possessed by the petitioner (other than legal training or a license to practice law) that increased the value of his services to (or on behalf of) the claimant;

(6) A certification that the claimant was provided, simultaneously with the filing of the petition, with -

(i) A copy of the petition; and

(ii) A letter advising the claimant that he could file his comments on the petition, if any, with the PSOB Office, within thirty-three days of the date of that letter; and

(7) A copy of the letter described in paragraph (a)(6)(ii) of this section.

(b) Unless, for good cause shown, the Director extends the time for filing, no petition under paragraph (a) of this section shall be considered if the petition is filed with the PSOB Office later than one year after the date of the final agency determination of the claim.

(c) Unless the petition is approved pursuant to paragraph (h)(1) of this section (without regard to the exception thereto), consideration of a petition under paragraph (a) of this section shall be subject to paragraph (d) of this section and shall be based on the following factors:

(1) The nature of the services provided by the petitioner;

(2) The complexity of the claim;

(3) The level of skill and competence required to provide the petitioner's services;

(4) The amount of time spent on the claim by the petitioner;

(5) The results achieved as a function of the petitioner's services;

(6) The level of administrative or judicial review to which the claim was pursued and the point at which the petitioner entered the proceedings;

(7) The ordinary, usual, or customary fee charged by other persons (and by the petitioner) for services of a similar nature; and

(8) The amount authorized by the PSOB Office in similar cases.

(d) Unless the petition is approved pursuant to paragraph (h)(1) of this section (without regard to the exception thereto), no amount in a petition under paragraph (a) of this section shall be approved for -

(1) Any stipulated-, percentage-, or contingency fee;

(2) Services at a rate in excess of that specified in 5 U.S.C. 504(b)(1)(A)(ii) (Equal Access to Justice Act); or

(3) Services provided in connection with -

(i) Obtaining or providing evidence or information previously obtained by the PSOB determining official;

(ii) Preparing the petition; or

(iii) Explaining or delivering an approved claim to the claimant.

(e) Upon a petitioner's failure (without reasonable justification or excuse) to pursue in timely fashion his filed petition under paragraph (a) of this section, the Director may, at his discretion, deem the same to be abandoned, as though never filed. Not less than thirty-three days prior thereto, the PSOB Office shall serve the petitioner and the claimant with notice of the Director's intention to exercise such discretion.

(f) Upon its approving (in whole or in part), or denying, a petition under paragraph (a) of this section, the PSOB Office shall serve notice of the same upon the claimant and the petitioner. Such notice shall specify the amount, if any, the petitioner is authorized to charge the claimant and the basis of the approval or denial.

(g) No agreement for representative services in connection with a claim shall be valid if the agreement provides for any consideration other than under this section. A person's receipt of consideration for such services other than under this section may, among other things, be the subject of referral by BJA to appropriate professional, administrative, disciplinary, or other legal authorities.

(h)

(1) Except as provided in paragraph (h)(2) of this section, the PSOB Office shall approve any petition under paragraph (a) of this section for authorization to receive an amount that is not greater than the following, for representative services provided by an individual who was duly licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction in any State:

(i) In connection with a claim that is approved under subpart B or C, an amount equal to three percent of the benefit paid to (or with respect to) the claimant on whose behalf the representative services were provided;

(ii) In connection with a claim approved under subpart E that is subsequently approved under subpart F, an amount equal to six percent of the benefit paid to (or with respect to) the claimant on whose behalf the representative services were provided; and

(iii) In connection with a claim denied under subpart E that is subsequently approved under subpart F, an amount equal to nine percent of the benefit paid to (or with respect to) the claimant on whose behalf the representative services were provided.

(2) In the event that it decides that the amount set forth in paragraph (h)(1) of this section would be excessive (or otherwise inappropriate) for the representative services that form the substance of a particular petition under paragraph (a) of this section, the PSOB Office shall consider the petition pursuant to paragraph (c) of this section.

[71 FR 46037, Aug. 10, 2006, as amended at 83 FR 22383, May 15, 2018]