§ 12-25-25. Attorneys' fees.
(a) The treasurer may award attorneys' fees pursuant to this section from the violent crimes indemnity account for successful appeals of the administrator's awards of compensation brought pursuant to § 12-25-18(g).
(b) The superior court may award attorneys' fees pursuant to this section from the violent crimes indemnity account for successful appeals of treasurer's office awards of compensation brought pursuant to § 12-25-18(i).
(c)(1) At the conclusion of the appeal proceedings, the attorney representing the plaintiff shall file a statement with the treasurer or court setting forth the amount of fee proposed to be charged in connection with his or her efforts and services rendered in the proceedings.
(2) In determining the amount of compensation to be awarded an attorney, the treasurer or the court shall consider the time expended by the plaintiff 's attorney in preparation, in settlement negotiations, and in court or hearing attendance, the total amount awarded to the plaintiff for injuries incurred, and the amount of revenue in the violent crimes indemnity account, together with the number and the nature of claims pending against it.
(3) The amount of compensation awarded to plaintiff 's attorney shall not exceed fifteen percent (15%) of the total amount awarded to the plaintiff, or fifteen hundred dollars ($1,500), whichever is less; provided, that in unusual circumstances, the treasurer or court may award a larger attorney's fee if it finds that a departure from the limits set forth in this subsection is warranted, stating specific reasons upon which the finding and award is based.
(4) Attorneys' fees shall not be awarded in those cases brought by the office of the child advocate.
(d) After the fee information is filed by an attorney under subsection (a) of this section, the treasurer or court shall determine whether the proposed fee conforms with the standards set forth in subsection (a) of this section. If the treasurer or court initially determines that the proposed fee does not so conform, the treasurer or court shall, upon notice to the attorney, determine the amount of a reasonable fee to be awarded in accordance with those standards.
(e) Any attorney who charges, demands, receives or collects for services rendered in connection with any proceedings under this chapter any amount in excess of that allowed under this section, if any compensation is paid, shall be subject to disciplinary action and other appropriate action to be taken by the bar association of the state of Rhode Island.
(f) Upon certification by the treasurer or court to the effect that the fee has been established, the administrator shall pay to the attorney named in the certification the amount of the counsel fee which shall be paid from the violent crimes indemnity account.
(P.L. 1996, ch. 434, § 3.)