The industrial commission shall adopt rules concerning the payment of attorney's fees and shall protect parties against unfair fees. The commission shall fix the amount of fees in the event of a controversy in respect thereto. The commission and the bureau of workers' compensation shall prominently display in all areas of an office which claimants frequent a notice to the effect that the commission has statutory authority to resolve fee disputes. The commission shall adopt rules designed to prevent the solicitation of employment in the prosecution or defense of claims and make and adopt reasonable rules designed to promote the orderly and expeditious submission, hearing, and determination of claims and may inquire into the amounts of fees charged employers or claimants by attorneys, agents, or representatives for services in matters before the commission.
The commission shall set reasonable standards for those attorneys, agents, or representatives who practice before the bureau, district or staff hearing officers, or the commission.
With respect to payment of fees to attorneys for services in securing an award under section 4123.64 of the Revised Code, the commission shall:
(A) Approve, disapprove, or modify applications for lump sum payment for attorney's fees;
(B) Allow payment of a reasonable fee after review of the application;
(C) Require the attorney to disclose all fees received in obtaining the award under which the fee is requested and certify that the client is liable for no further fee with respect to continuing compensation, except if a later dispute arises in the claim requiring additional services;
(D) Require such supporting evidence as the commission deems necessary to justify any such application.
The commission shall suspend from practice before the bureau, district or staff hearing officers, or the commission for such period of time as the commission determines, or reprimand, as the nature of the offense warrants, representatives of claimants or employers who violate any reasonable rule the commission adopts under authority of law. If the commission suspends or reprimands any person admitted to practice law, the commission shall notify the Ohio state bar association and the bar association of the community in which the person resides of the action taken by the commission.
Before a representative is suspended or reprimanded, the commission or a person directly interested in the results of the services of a representative shall file written charges against him stating distinctly the grounds of complaint, and a copy thereof certified by the secretary of the commission, shall be served upon the representative. After service, the representative shall be allowed a reasonable time to appear and make a defense, introduce evidence, and be heard either in person or by counsel, or both.
If the commission makes an order to suspend or reprimand a representative, the order may be reviewed on appeal on questions of law in the supreme court, which may affirm or modify the order of the commission or dismiss the complaint. Appeal proceedings shall be filed in the supreme court within forty days after the order of the commission.
The commission may readmit any person suspended upon its own motion or upon the written application of the person suspended.
The head of the legal department of the commission shall make the investigations contemplated by this section and enforce this section and the rules adopted by the commission pursuant to this section. The commission shall assign to the head of the legal department one of its employees to assist in the administration and supervision of this section and of the rules adopted under this section.
Effective Date: 10-29-1995