BCLP Global Restructuring & Insolvency Developments

Global Restructuring & Insolvency Developments

Compensation of Professionals

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Improper Use of Contract Attorneys, Failure to Disclose Terms – This Case Has It All.

business concept/dropping coins

Estate professionals are under continued scrutiny. Unlike other professionals, getting paid is not simply a matter of sending a bill.  The bankruptcy court, appropriately so, closely oversees the amount and timing of payment of estate professional fees.  And proper disclosure under the Bankruptcy Code and the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure (the “Bankruptcy Rules”) is critical for all estate professionals.

Recently, in In re Wilkerson, Case No. 14-00582, Docket Entry No. 127 (Bankr. D.D.C. Jun. 13, 2016), the Bankruptcy Court declined to award a significant portion of attorneys’ fees and expenses to counsel for a chapter 13 debtor due to counsel’s failure to disclose the work being done by a contract attorney under Bankruptcy Rule 2016(b).  This lack of disclosure infected

ASARCO’s Revenge: Do Estate Professionals Now Have to Charge the Same Fees to an Estate or Committee that They Would Charge a Similar Client in an Out-of-Court Matter?

Either from our prior posts here and here, or from the great posts from Stone and Baxter’s Plan Proponent blog or from Bracewell’s Basis Points blog, we all know the Supreme Court’s holding in ASARCO[1]/: a strict interpretation of Section 330(a) of the Bankruptcy Code[2]/ allows professionals to charge for the preparation of a fee application per Section 330(a)(6).  But as there is no express statutory authority to charge the estate for defense of a fee application, the “American rule” prevails, requiring professionals to bear their own defense costs if a third party objects to the fees.[3]/

The cases following Asarco have all been sad days for bankruptcy professionals.  As we have written, the Delaware Bankruptcy Court has rejected all arguments that Section 328 of the Bankruptcy Code, which allows the Court to approve reasonable contractual terms, could allow a contractual term

Delaware Bankruptcy Court Holds, Twice: “ASARCO is Here to Stay” (But Your Authors Have Hatched Another Plan; Read Below!)

You may recall the holding and analysis of ASARCO [1]/ from Jay’s previous post, here. At bottom, ASARCO  followed a strict interpretation of Section 330(a) of the Bankruptcy Code,[2]/ holding that professionals are allowed to charge certain fees for the preparation  of a fee application per Section 330(a)(6). But as there is no express statutory authority to charge the estate for defense  of a fee application, the “American rule” prevails, requiring professionals to bear their own defense costs if a third party objects to the fees.[3]/

The efforts to get around ASARCO  are well underway, primarily in the venue of the Delaware Bankruptcy Court. So far, the score is ASARCO  (two wins), to frustrated estate professionals (zero). And, even as your authors were writing this post, there is another means underway, using the “upcharge” principal – the hourly rates will be $x if

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