Bracewell & Giuliani LLP is representing ASARCO LLC before the Supreme Court of the United States in Baker Botts LLP, et al. v. ASARCO LLC, No. 14-103. The case involves a dispute over whether the Bankruptcy Code authorizes Baker Botts LLP to recover more than $5 million in legal fees that it incurred in litigating over its core bankruptcy fees.
When ASARCO emerged from Chapter 11 restructuring in 2009, debtors’ counsel Baker Botts and Jordan, Hyden, Womble, Culbreth & Holzer, PC filed final fee applications seeking core attorneys’ fees of approximately $120 million for their bankruptcy work, plus an additional 20 percent fee enhancement and fees for preparing and litigating their fee applications. The bankruptcy court and district court awarded $120 million in core fees, $4.1 million in fee enhancements, and $5 million for fees spent litigating over the fee applications. The Fifth Circuit reversed the $5 million award of “fees for defense of fees,” agreeing with ASARCO and holding that the Bankruptcy Code does not authorize the award of such fees from estate funds.
On October 2, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court granted a writ of certiorari on that legal issue regarding “fees for defense of fees.” Bracewell led the team briefing the case in the U.S. Supreme Court, and Bracewell’s Jeffrey L. Oldham presented oral argument in February 2015. A ruling is expected by June 2015.
Bracewell attorneys involved in this matter include:
Partners: Jeffrey L. Oldham, Ralph “Skip” D. McBride, Bryan S. Dumesnil, Bradley J. Benoit, Heath A. Novosad and Sam M. Stricklin
Associates: Jonathon K. Hance, Lindsay E. Hagans, Austin J.F. Muck and Mark R. Wulfe