En banc review of standard for bankruptcy fee applications

This summer, in the panel opinion of  Barron & Newburger, P.C. v. Texas Skyline, Ltd., No. 13-50075 (July 15, 2014), the Fifth Circuit affirmed the partial denial of a fee application based on its earlier opinion of  In re: Pro-Snax Distributors, Inc., 157 F.3d 414 (5th Cir. 1998). That earlier opinion rejected a “reasonableness” test in the application of Bankruptcy Code § 330 — which would have asked “whether the services were objectively beneficial toward the completion of the case at the time they were performed” — in favor of a “hindsight” approach, asking whether the professionals’ work “resulted in an identifiable, tangible, and material benefit to the bankruptcy estate.”  All three panel members joined a special concurrence asking the full Court to reconsider Pro-Snax en banc, and that invitation was recently accepted by a majority of active judges.  Law360 provides some good additional commentary about the en banc vote.

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