(1) An initial decision or dismissal order issued by an administrative law judge;
(2) A final decision issued by a small claims officer; or
(3) A final decision issued by the Commission.
(c) Filing petitions for attorney fees.
(1) In order to recover attorney fees, the prevailing party must file a petition within 30 days after a decision becomes final. For purposes of this section, a decision is considered final when the time for seeking judicial review has expired or when a court appeal has terminated.
(2) The prevailing party must file the petition with either:
(i) The administrative law judge or small claims officer, if that official's decision became administratively final under § 502.227(a)(3), § 502.227(c), § 502.304(g), or § 502.318(a); or
(ii) The Commission, if the Commission reviewed the decision of the administrative law judge or small claims officer under § 502.227, § 502.304, or § 502.318.
(d) Content of petitions.
(1) The petition must:
(i) Explain why attorney fees should be awarded in the proceeding;
(ii) Specify the number of hours claimed by each person representing the prevailing party at each identifiable stage of the proceeding; and
(iii) Include supporting evidence of the reasonableness of the hours claimed and the customary rates charged by attorneys and associated legal representatives in the community where the person practices.
(2) The petition may request additional compensation, but any such request must be supported by evidence that the customary rates for the hours reasonably expended on the case would result in an unreasonably low fee award.
(e) Replies to petitions. The opposing party may file a reply to the petition within 20 days of the service date of the petition. The reply may address the reasonableness of any aspect of the prevailing party's claim and may suggest adjustments to the claim under the criteria stated in paragraph (d) of this section.
(f) Rulings on petitions.
(1) Upon consideration of a petition and any reply thereto, the Commission, administrative law judge, or small claims officer will issue an order granting or denying the petition.
(i) If the order awards the prevailing party attorney fees, the order will state the total amount of attorney fees awarded, specify the compensable hours and appropriate rate of compensation, and explain the basis for any additional adjustments.
(ii) If the order denies the prevailing party attorney fees, the order will explain the reasons for the denial.
(2) The Commission, administrative law judge, or small claims officer may adopt a stipulated settlement of attorney fees.
(g) Timing of rulings. An order granting or denying a petition for attorney fees will be served within 60 days of the date of the filing of the reply to the petition or expiration of the reply period, except that in cases involving a substantial dispute of facts critical to the determination of an award, the Commission, administrative law judge, or small claims officer may hold a hearing on such issues and extend the time for issuing an order by an additional 30 days.
(h) Appealing rulings by administrative law judge or small claims officer. The relevant rules governing appeal and Commission review of decisions by administrative law judges (§§ 502.227; 502.318) and small claims officers (§ 502.304) apply to orders issued by those officers under this section. [Rule 254.]