Court Approves $300 per Hour in Chapter 13 Case for Debtor’s Board Certified Attorneys

Court Approves $300 per Hour in Chapter 13 Case for Debtor’s Board Certified Attorneys

This matter comes before the court on a Petition for Final Allowance of Fees for Attorney for the Debtor (the “Application”) filed by Law Firm (the “Applicant”), counsel for the “Debtor”). In the Application, the Applicant requests that the court approve fees and expenses on a final basis pursuant to sections 330 and 503 of the Bankruptcy Code.

The facts are relatively straightforward in this less than complex case. On May 11, 2017, the Debtor filed a voluntary petition for relief under chapter 13. Thereafter, the Debtor filed a proposed chapter 13 plan and two preconfirmation plan amendments, negotiated with creditors to resolve fairly routine disputes, and sold his residence free and clear of all liens, claims and encumbrances after obtaining court approval.

At an uncontested hearing on October 12, 2017, the court confirmed the Debtor’s plan. As part of the confirmation order, the court awarded interim compensation to the Applicant in the no-look amount of $3,200. In accordance with the confirmed plan, the Trustee used the proceeds from the sale of the Debtor’s residence to satisfy all allowed claims and administrative expenses in full after paying the mortgage holder and accounting for the Debtor’s homestead exemption.3

One month later, the Applicant filed the Application. In the Application, the Applicant requests that the court approve, on a final basis, the fees awarded at confirmation, as well as additional post-confirmation fees and expenses. No party in interest filed an objection to the Application. However, because the Applicant seeks an hourly rate of $300 per hour for two board certified attorneys, the court scheduled a hearing on the Application. As stated in the notice of hearing, the court was also concerned with the potential impact of the fees requested on the Debtor’s fresh start.

Before the hearing, the Applicant filed a thorough supplemental brief. The supplemental brief provided legal authority and evidentiary support for, among other things, the hourly rate sought by the Applicant. The court held a hearing on the Application on December 14, 2017, after which the court took the matter under advisement.

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