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Don’t Knock on Wood: Court of Appeals Clarifies Method for Determining “Reasonable” Fees for Partially Successful No-Fault Claimant
MCL 500.3148(1) allows a claimant to recover “a reasonable fee” for their attorney’s work “in an action for personal or property protection insurance benefits that are overdue.”
The question of what is “reasonable” has generated considerable litigation; in Pirgu the Court clarified that a determination of attorney fees under § 3148(1) must begin with calculating the reasonable hourly rate and multiplying the rate by the reasonable number of hours expended by the attorney.
Then, Pirgu directs the trial court to consider a “hybrid” of the factors articulated in Wood v DAIIE.
In Komendat, the panel found that the trial court did not follow Pirgu when it drastically reduced the Plaintiff’s fee award to reflect the fact that Plaintiff only prevailed on a very small amount of her total claim.
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