Dismissal Affirmed In Claim For Fees For Representing Workers’ Compensation Claimants

E. B. (Chip) Chiles IV and Sarah Keith-Bolden obtained the dismissal of an attorney’s claim that a circuit court should award him attorney’s fees out of amounts collected by a medical provider whose bills were satisfied as part of a workers’ compensation award.  The attorney, who represented two successful workers’ compensation claimants, claimed that his services allowed the medical provider to collect amounts owed by the claimants.  He sought an attorney’s fee award of one-third of the amount collected by the medical provider.  Mr. Chiles and Ms. Keith-Bolden successfully argued that Arkansas’s workers’ compensation statute vests exclusive jurisdiction over attorney’s fees awards in workers’ compensation cases with the Workers’ Compensation Commission.  The Arkansas Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that the attorney could not establish unjust enrichment on the facts alleged.