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M ore than $400,000 in legal fees and expenses racked up in the Pacific Gas & Electric Co. bankruptcy case are in dispute.

In her quarterly objections to professional fee applications filed Wednesday, U.S. Trustee Linda Stanley asked the court to withhold $440,832 from firms including Howard, Rice, Nemerovski, Canady, Falk & Rabkin; Heller Ehrman White & McAuliffe; and Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy.

Under federal bankruptcy law, professionals can be paid for their services before the case closes. Law firms and accounting firms have requested some $17 million for work between December 2001 and March of this year.

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