B-2016-1. APPLICATIONS FOR COMPENSATION FOR SERVICES RENDERED AND REIMBURSEMENT OF EXPENSES

(a)   Generally

Applications for compensation and reimbursement of expenses shall comply with the national fee guidelines promulgated by the Executive Office for United States Trustee pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 586(a)(3)(A)(i) and any Policy of the United States Trustee for Region 10 for Implementation of Fee Guidelines. Applications for compensation and reimbursement of expenses shall be filed separately for the trustee and each professional.

(b)   Chapter 13 Cases

The following are guidelines for the circumstances under which the Court will, as part of the Chapter 13 plan confirmation process, approve fees of attorneys representing a Chapter 13 Debtor (“Counsel”). Counsel shall file a proof of claim both for fees awarded pursuant to these guidelines and for fees awarded after application.

Counsel may decline to seek approval of compensation pursuant to these guidelines. If Counsel so declines, compensation shall be disclosed, reviewed, and approved in accordance with applicable authority including, without limitation, 11 U.S.C. §§329 and 330 and Fed.R.Bankr.P. 2002, 2016, and 2017. This authority requires, at a minimum, that payments on account of post-petition services be held in trust until the Court approves the fees and expenses of the attorney.

Alternatively, Counsel may have fees approved and paid as part of the Chapter 13 plan confirmation process if they comply with the following guidelines.

(1)     Counsel may seek approval for fees up to the amounts set forth in subparagraph (2) without filing a detailed application if:

(A)     Counsel has filed an executed copy of the “Rights and Responsibilities of Chapter 13 Debtors and Their Attorneys,” available on the Court’s website;

(B)     no objection to the requested fees has been raised; and

(C)     a proof of claim has been filed with the Court by Counsel and served upon the trustee.

(2)     The maximum fee which can be approved through the procedure described in subparagraph (1) is set by general order. 

(3)     If Counsel does not wish to obtain approval of fees in accordance with these guidelines, if an executed copy of the “Rights and Responsibilities of Chapter 13 Debtors and Their Attorneys” is not filed, if Counsel requests fees in excess of the amounts in section (2), or if there is an objection to use of these guidelines, fees will not be automatically approved upon plan confirmation pursuant to these guidelines. In such cases, Counsel must deposit all advance payment of post-petition fees in trust, must apply for all fees, and shall comply with 11 U.S.C. §§ 329 and 330 and Fed.R.Bankr.P. 2002, 2016, and 2017.

(4)     If Counsel has filed an executed copy of the “Rights and Responsibilities of Chapter 13 Debtors and Their Attorneys,” but the maximum fee in subparagraph (b)(2) above is not sufficient to fully compensate counsel for the legal services rendered in the case, Counsel may apply for additional fees. The application shall be accompanied by time records supporting the additional fees or by an affidavit explaining why the standard fee is inadequate in the case.

(5)     Except for pre-petition retainers, all fees shall be paid through the plan unless otherwise ordered. Absent Court authorization, Counsel may not receive fees directly from the Debtor other than the pre-petition retainer. After plan confirmation, the trustee shall pay Counsel until the fee is paid in full.

(6)     If Counsel has elected to be compensated pursuant to these guidelines but the case is dismissed prior to confirmation of a plan, absent contrary orders, the trustee shall pay to the Counsel, to the extent funds are available and subject to the trustee’s percentage fee, an administrative claim equal to 50% of the unpaid fee balance if a properly documented fee claim (for the entire fee balance) has been filed by Counsel and served upon the trustee. Under appropriate circumstances, Counsel may file an application [within fourteen (14) days of the dismissal] for allowance and payment of additional fees. The application shall be accompanied by an affidavit supporting award of the amount requested. Counsel shall not collect, receive, or demand additional fees from the Debtor for work already performed unless authorized by the Court, even after dismissal.

(7)     On its own motion or the motion of any party in interest at any time prior to entry of a final decree, the Court may order a hearing to review any fee paid or to be paid.