ABLS Saves Debtor Thousands, Receives Judge’s Complements

Posted on: December 8th, 2020 by

Recently shareholder Joe Peiffer and associate Austin Peiffer went toe-to-toe with attorneys representing Farm Credit over that creditor’s exorbitant fee demand. While secured creditors often have the right to make the debtor pay their attorney fees, those fees must be reasonable, and in this case they weren’t. Judge Collins agreed, and by objecting to Farm Credit’s fees ABLS’s client saved over $65,000.

Tons of Information

Working on a tight deadline, the ABLS team analyzed hundreds of pages of time entries filed by Farm Credit’s attorneys. This analysis revealed numerous duplicate billings and, indeed, billing for things that were, in fact, unnecessary.

One unique aspect of this case is that the debtor had five loans with Farm Credit. Farm Credit required that its attorneys bill each loan individually, generating five different sets of invoices for this work. This made the analysis even more tricky. Sometimes the exact same entry would appear on multiple bills. In order to ascertain the actual amount of time spent, the Judge and his team needed to review all five sets of invoices and compare them. In this comparison, they often found duplicates.

A High Standard

Judge Collins was complementary of ABLS’s approach to billing and fees: “The Court specifically notes that Debtor’s counsel, and his firm’s billing practices are very well known to the Court. The Court has reviewed and approved numerous fee applications from Debtor’s counsel–in both large and small cases. The Court has previously recognized that Debtor’s counsel is incredibly thorough, detail-oriented, and well-prepared. This has earned Debtor’s counsel a stellar reputation in Chapter 12 cases, but that thorough approach pushes up the cost of his services.”

Judge Collins also noted that Farm Credit’s counsel and the law firm, “also have an excellent reputation for excellence in this type of work.” This makes evident His Honor’s respect for the members of the bar that practice in front of him. Furthermore, this opinion illustrates the high standard that he requires in this district.

You can read the whole opinion here: Kurtenbach (Debtor) Opinion.

The opinion also caught the attention of columnist Bill Rochelle. He wrote about the opinion in his daily blog “Rochelle’s Daily Wire” on the ABI website (ABI membership required to bypass paywall).

Ag & Business Legal Strategies is a law firm that works strenuously to defend its clients’ interests. Operating often in the debtor-creditor sphere, ABLS has positioned its professionals uniquely to understand their clients’ needs and work to obtain the desired results.

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Categories: Chapter 12


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