The Am Law Daily reported this month on new bankruptcy fee rules that large firms will be held to beginning on November 1, after the Justice Department’s U.S. Trustee Program conducted an 18-month long review of how attorneys in large corporate bankruptcies are compensated.
The lucrative world of big bankruptcies—whose volume has
continued to fall in recent years
according to federal data
—has fostered fierce competition for some of the few high-profile assignments that do arise. But two firms have recently found themselves bounced from a pair of notable cases due to alleged conflicts.
The Am Law Daily reported last month
on White & Case’s bid to represent struggling Los Angeles-based electric carmaker Coda Holdings after it filed for bankruptcy in Delaware on May 1. But the U.S. trustee’s office filed an objection to Coda’s proposed retention of White & Case on the grounds that the company’s former general counsel,
joined the firm last year
as a corporate partner in Palo Alto last year.
by White & Case restructuring partner John Cunningham in the Coda bankruptcy shows that the firm was paid more than $1.4 million by the automaker in the year prior to its Chapter 11 case and has agreed to waive other outstanding legal bills. White & Case partners are billing between $885 to $950 per hour for their services, counsel between $530 and $850, and associates at rates ranging from $395 to $730, according to a court filing by the firm.
Below are some of the latest corporate bankruptcy filings and their lawyers of note. As usual, hourly billing rates are in parentheses, when available.
Carbon Motors Corp.
Henry Efroymson, cochair of the bankruptcy and financial restructuring group at Ice Miller in Indianapolis, is advising Carbon Motors in its Chapter 7 case. Efroymson states in a court filing that Ice Miller has been paid $20,000 for its services to the debtor.
One of the country’s largest makers and recyclers of automotive and industrial batteries, Milton, Georgia–based Exide Technologies
filed for bankruptcy in Delaware on June 10
, listing nearly $1.9 billion in assets against debts of more than $1.1 billion.
the company is seeking to slash its debt and implement a restructuring plan to better compete with rivals like Johnson Controls.
Kenneth Ziman, deputy practice leader of the restructuring group at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, is leading a team from the firm advising Exide that includes Wilmington office managing partner Anthony Clark, senior corporate partner Peter Atkins, banking cohead Sarah Ward, restructuring partner J. Eric Ivester, and counsel James Mazza Jr.
Court filings by the firm show
that Skadden partners are billing between $840 and $1,220 per hour, counsel between $845 and $930, and associates at rates ranging from $195 to $325. Skadden has received a $1.2 million retainer for its services by Exide, of which $468,790 currently remains. Skadden has also been paid roughly $6 million by Exide “since beginning the restructuring engagement,”
according to a declaration by Ziman
Pachulski Stang partners are currently billing Exide between $575 and $995 per hour for their services, of counsel between $475 and $875, and associates at hourly rates ranging from $425 to $555,
according to court filings
A declaration by Jones states
that Exide has paid her firm a $50,000 retainer.
Randolph Visser, head of the global climate change team at Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton, is serving as special environmental counsel to Exide along with finance and bankruptcy partners Richard Brunette Jr. and Carren Shulman.
Court filings show
that the firm was paid $700,996 by Exide in the 90 days prior to its Chapter 11 case and is owed another $393,778 for its services. Sheppard Mullin partners are billing between $550 and $925 per hour, while the hourly rate of associates is ranging from $295 to $675.
Exide’s general counsel is
serves as the company’s deputy general counsel and corporate secretary. Kenneth Rosen, Sharon Levine, and Gerald Bender, partners in the bankruptcy group at Lowenstein Sandler, have been retained to advise an official committee of unsecured creditors in Exide’s Chapter 11 case.
Latham & Watkins,
which has previously handled work for OnCure
, is advising the company in its bankruptcy case through financial restructuring partners Paul Harner and Keith Simon in New York. Daniel DeFranceschi of Delaware’s
Richards, Layton & Finger
is serving as local counsel to the debtor. Neither firm has yet filed billing statements with the bankruptcy court.
OnCure’s CEO is
, a senior managing director and founder of financial advisory firm Match Point Partners and a former M&A partner at Kaye Scholer.
Russell Phillips Jr.
served as chief compliance officer and general counsel for OnCure until last year.
Orchard Supply Hardware Stores
Founded in 1931,
Orchard Supply plans to sell at least 60 of its stores
in a bankruptcy auction to rival Lowe’s Companies, which has made a $205 million bid for the assets. Richard Chesley ($965/hour), the cochair of DLA’s restructuring practice in Chicago, and Stuart Brown ($765), the managing partner of DLA’s Wilmington office, are leading a team from the firm advising Orchard Supply.
Paul Silverstein, cochair of the bankruptcy and restructuring practice at Andrews Kurth and a member of the firm’s executive committee, is advising Primcogent in its Chapter 11 case along with partner Michelle Larson and of counsel Jason Thelen.
According to a list of Primcogent’s 30 largest unsecured creditors
, the company owes $850,502 to Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel, $182,492 to Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, $117,943 to Jackson Walker, and $26,325 to Thompson & Knight for legal services. Chicago-based executive search firm Heidrick & Struggles is listed as being owed another $64,000.
Residential mortgage insurer Triad Guaranty
sought Chapter 11 protection in Delaware
on June 3, citing losses related to the U.S. housing crisis and economic downturn.
that the Birmingham-based company, which could be liquidated if it doesn’t find a buyer, lists assets of more than $100 million against debts of less than $50,000 in its petition.
Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice bankruptcy partners Francis Monaco Jr. ($640) and Matthew Ward ($470) in Wilmington are serving as lead counsel to Triad Guaranty, along with corporate partner Jeffrey Howland ($575) in Winston-Salem.
Court records show
that Womble Carlyle has received a $100,000 retainer for its services in the case, and that lawyers from the firm are billing between $190 and $700 per hour. Prepetition fees incurred by the debtor are $78,571,
according to a declaration by Monaco
Morrison & Foerster tax cochair Thomas Humphreys ($1,200), insolvency and restructuring partner Anthony Princi ($1,025), restructuring of counsel Kathleen Schaaf ($815), tax partner Remmelt Reigersman ($775), and bankruptcy of counsel Jordan Wishnew ($720) are serving as special counsel to the debtor on tax and insurance insolvency matters.
In its application for employment to the bankruptcy court
, MoFo states that it has received $208,377 from Triad Guaranty for prepetition services.
MoFo also requests “a success fee of 2.5 [percent] of the gross proceeds of certain transactions involving the creation and realization of value” for certain Triad Guaranty assets, according to the filing, which notes that the “proposed fee arrangement would permit the debtor to credit any fees paid to [MoFo] in excess of $150,000 paid on account of postpetition services.” As a result, MoFo has agreed to a reduced retainer of $50,000,
according to a declaration by Princi
Earl Wall served as general counsel for Triad Guaranty until late December, when the company cut ties with him and several other executives,
according to the Winston-Salem Journal