Texas Southern District Bankruptcy Judge Requires That Creditor Attorneys Track Time As A Condition to Creditor’s Recovery of Legal Fees under a Rule 3002.1(c) Notice of Post-Petition Fees, Expenses, and Charges (“PPFN”)
On June 13, 2019, the Honorable Jeff Bohm, United States Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of Texas, issued an order sustaining a Chapter 13 Trustee’s objection to a claimant’s numerous notices of post-petition fees, expenses, and charges filed under Fed. R. Bankr. P. 3002.1(c) in multiple cases and disallowing the attorney’s fees in the entirety
The Chapter 13 Trustee’s sole objection was that each of numerous notices filed by the creditor firm in relation to plan reviews, notices of appearance, and proof of claim preparations requested legal fees of $900: “In each of the above referenced cases, the attorney’s fees are exactly the same and are excessive and not reasonable or necessary.”
At the hearing, the Court found that the creditor firm’s flat fee invoices of $900 each (presumably based upon FNMA/FHLMC fee schedules), deficient because they did not include the time the attorney spent on each file or the applicable hourly rate:
“The Law Firm’s invoices contain only a vague description of the services rendered, the date the services were rendered, and the aggregate amount charged for the services. This is insufficient. The invoices need to contain the date that each service was rendered; the name or the initials of the person providing the service; the hourly rate of that person; the amount of time spent by that person on the specific service that was rendered; and the value of the service that was rendered.”
The Court stated that it was not adverse to a “no look “ flat fee, “but that steps must first be taken to put such a procedure in place – and this has not yet been done.” 
Impact on Creditors: Until this ruling is overturned or a fixed fee procedure is formally opted in the Texas Southern District, such charges (even if incurred prior to the date of this ruling) may not be recoverable from Debtor obligors. Creditors should proceed with caution in filing PPFNs for such charges to avoid additional judicial scrutiny and/or punitive action.
Author/Contact: Michael Weems
Attorney, Default Services/Creditors Rights
T: (713) 328-2822 | F: (713) 351-0322 | E: firstname.lastname@example.org
 In Re Shotlow, Case 18-35219 Document 69 Filed in TXSB on 06/12/19.
 Notably, other bankruptcy courts, including in the southern district of Texas, have allowed fixed fees for creditor attorneys, but in smaller amounts. See, e.g. In re Moye, 385 B.R. at 892 (concluding $200 in attorney’s fees for preparing