Asarco, L.L.C., et al. v. Jordan Hyden Womble Culbreth, No. 12-40997 (5th Cir. 2014)Annotate this Case
Baker Botts and Jordan Hyden served as debtor's counsel to ASARCO during its Chapter 11 bankruptcy and helped ASARCO confirm a reorganization plan that paid all of its creditors in full. At issue on appeal was whether the bankruptcy court abused its discretion in authorizing a 20% premium to Baker Botts and 10% premium to Jordan Hyden for their unusually successful fraudulent transfer litigation. Also at issue was whether the bankruptcy court was authorized, consistent with 11 U.S.C. 330, to award attorneys' fees to the firms for defending their fee application in court. The court affirmed as to the fee enhancements awarded to Baker Botts and Jordan Hyden where the district court's 85-page opinion on fees described with specificity and in detail Baker Botts's "rare and exceptional" performance and where Jordan Hyden's attorneys were an integral part of the successful team effort. The court reversed as to additional fee awards for litigation concerning fee applications, concluding that section 330(a) does not authorize compensation for the costs counsel or professionals bear to defend their fee applications.