United States District Court, S.D. New York
February 20, 2004.
In re JOHN H. DAVIS, Debtor; JOHN L. OLIVIER and ARMAND J. BRINKHAUS d/b/a OLIVIER AND BRINKHAUS, Appellants
The opinion of the court was delivered by: LEWIS KAPLAN, District Judge
Appellants appeal from an order of the Bankruptcy Court which awarded
the Trustee in this Chapter 7 case $8,216.33 in compensation and the
Trustee's law firm, which had been engaged as counsel to the Trustee,
$38,845.75 in fees and $720.67 in expenses. They contend that the court
below should not have allowed the law firm (a) fees at increased hourly
rates that came into effect during the engagement, (b) charges for
paralegals who allegedly did secretarial or clerical work, and (c) fees
attributable to intraoffice conferences. Further, they argue that the
court should not have allowed fees to the Trustee both as Trustee and as
an attorney for the Trustee.
The standard of review on an appeal from a fee award from the
bankruptcy court to the district court is whether the bankruptcy court
abused its discretion, i.e., whether it "failed to apply proper
procedures or legal standards, or made factual findings that were clearly
erroneous." In re Ferkauf, Inc., 56 B.R. 774, 775 (S.D.N.Y.
1985) (citing authorities). Appellants' brief suggests no abuse of
discretion. Indeed, most of their arguments are frivolous and border on
the sanctionable. See, e.g., Harrington Haley LLP v. Nutmeg Insurance
Co., 39 F. Supp.2d 403, 411-12 (time reasonably spent in intraoffice
conferences properly billable)
Accordingly, the order appealed from is affirmed. The Clerk is directed
to close the case.
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