Oct. 09--A state appeals court has upheld an order for Jacksonville's Police and Fire Pension Fund to pay almost $53,000 in lawyer fees a retired firefighter accumulated suing to fix a mistake in his pension payments.
The ruling caps a court fight that started in 2008, when Joseph Kicklighter sued, saying the fund was paying him based on the disability income he made after a career-ending heart attack, not on the much larger salary he earned on the job.
A Jacksonville judge ruled in Kicklighter's favor in 2011, but the fund appealed.
And when the 1st District Court of Appeal ruled against the fund in January, its lawyers eventually asked the Florida Supreme Court to get involved. The high court said no in May.
After an amended appeal by the fund, a panel of appeals judges affirmed the earlier ruling and said the fund had already waived an argument it might have used to try to get the fees for the appeal reduced.
The fees were awarded to Jacksonville employment attorney Tad Delegal and appeals specialist D. Gray Thomas.
In 2011, Circuit Judge Jack Schemer had awarded $99,000 in lawyer fees and costs to Delegal for representing Kicklighter. The Times-Union reported in January the fund was estimated to have spent $160,000 on its own attorneys defending the suit.
Steve Patterson: (904) 359-4263
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