Attorney Fee Cap Task Force

House Memorial 83, which creates the Workers' Compensation Administration Attorney Fees Task Force, was sponsored by Rep. Pamelya Herndon (D - Bernalillo) and passed in the 2023 legislative session. HM 83 charged the WCA director to convene a task force by May 1, 2023 to study the impact and effect of attorney fees and attorney fee caps on the workers' compensation system in New Mexico. The attorney fee cap is currently set at $22,500 (§52-1-54). The task force will study the number of claims reaching the cap, the average fee received per claim and the impact of a fee cap on access to justice. 

The task force will present a report of its findings and recommendations to the WCA Advisory Council by April 30, 2024. The task force met on May 16, June 20, September 19, and November 7. The WCA presented Task Force updates to the Advisory Council at their meetings on July 18, October 3, and November 16, 2023. 

The public is welcome to provide information and feedback at advisory council meetings.

Task force members include:

  • NMWCA Director's designee: WCA General Counsel Michael Holt
  • Two workers' attorneys: Ben Sherman and Kathryn Lueker-Eaton
  • Two employers/insurers' attorneys: Chris Elmore and Megan Kuhlman
  • Two employer representatives: Johanna Padilla (State of New Mexico) and Matt Sanchez (Jaynes Corp.)
  • Two labor union representatives: Jeffrey Steele (Ironworkers Local 495) and Greg Montoya (IAFF Local 244)
  • Insurance carrier representative: Dan Girlamo, New Mexico Mutual Casualty
  • Self-insurer group representative: Randy Aiken, Builders Trust of New Mexico
  • Two injured workers: Victoria Bratton and Marsha Schmidt

On behalf of the task force, the WCA transmitted a data call to the state's 10 largest insurers and collected data from payers on attorney fees. Data was culled from the years 2013-2022. In addition, the WCA, on behalf of the Task Force, issued a survey to practicing attorneys to solicit input regarding issues addressed by the Task Force.  Results and analysis from the data call and survey can be obtained in the links below.  

Blue Line

House Bill 455 (HB 455)

House Bill 455

Written Public Comment Regarding HB 455 Submitted to WCA

Summary of January 11, 2023 Public Discussion via Zoom Regarding HB 455

House Memorial 83 (HM 83)

House Memorial 83-Introduced

HM 83 Legislative Analysis

Final Report on the House Memorial 83 Attorney Fee Cap Task Force (Signed)

Task Force Meetings

Agenda May 16, 2023

Notes on May 16, 2023 Meeting

Agenda June 20, 2023

Notes on June 20, 2023 Meeting

Agenda September 19, 2023

Notes on September 19, 2023 Meeting

Agenda November 7, 2023

Notes on November 7, 2023 Meeting

Agenda December 12, 2023

Notes on December 12, 2023 Meeting

Agenda February 20, 2024

Notes on February 20, 2024 Meeting

Agenda March 19, 2024

Notes on March 19, 2024 Meeting

Agenda April 16, 2024

Notes on April 16th, 2024 Meeting

HM 83 Data Gathering

2024 Analysis of Attorney Fee Cap Increases on Benefits Proportionality in Workers' Compensation

Workers Pro Se Research Report

Assessment of NMSA §52-1-54 Values Using Inflation Indices

HM 83 Survey Questionnaire-Final

Details of Proposed Data Call

Fee Cap Task Force Data Call Preliminary Report

Fee Cap Task Force Data Call Supplement Report

2023 HM 83 Attorney Survey Report

Tableau Dashboard for HM 83 Task Force Data Call