$5K cut in latest legal fees in archdiocese bankruptcy case after judge, US Trustee inquiries

BANKRUPT: The Dulce Nombre De Maria Cathedral-Basilica in Hagåtña. The Archdiocese of Agana filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in January 2019, and it's already been on the hook to pay about $6 million in professional and legal fees incurred by those involved in the process. Post file photo

More than $5,000 from the latest round of proposed legal fees and expenses in the Archdiocese of Agana's bankruptcy case has been slashed, following inquiries from the U.S. Trustee and U.S. District Court Chief Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood about the billings.

This brings the latest combined billings to about $631,873, down from the estimated $637,125 originally submitted by six law firms.

Tydingco-Gatewood vacated the hearing initially set for last Friday, and will issue separate orders granting the revised applications.

In prior hearings, the judge said every penny that's saved from fees and other costs means more for the clergy sex abuse claimants.

The archdiocese filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in January 2019 because of clergy sex abuse lawsuits demanding more than $1 billion in compensation. There are some 270 Guam clergy sex abuse claimants.

Of the six law firms that submitted billings for services rendered from Aug. 1 to Nov. 31, 2021, five received reductions, which they accepted, after being questioned by the judge and the U.S. trustee.

Only Blank Rome LLP's $23,475 seventh interim application for compensation was approved as is. This brings to about $235,115 the total expected court award to Blank Rome, the archdiocese's special insurance counsel. 

Stinson LLP, the Minnesota-based counsel for the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors, including clergy sex abuse claimants and other creditors, got about $2,310 in reduction, to about $261,557. Total award is estimated at $2.5 million.

Elsaesser Anderson Chtd., the Idaho-based counsel for the archdiocese, got a $919.50 reduction, to about $166,298. The court has so far awarded it about $1.37 million, inclusive of the anticipated latest order.

Patterson Buchanan Fobes & Leitch, special counsel for the archdiocese, got an expense reduction of about $1,117, to about $136,000. It has so far been awarded an estimated $710,700.

Guam-based attorney John Terlaje, counsel for the archdiocese, also got a billing reduction of $825, to about $33,850. He's so far been awarded about $260,200.

Hiller Law LLC, special counsel for the Creditors Committee, specifically in the Delaware bankruptcy case of the Boy Scouts of America, got an $80 fee reduction, to about $4,314. This is the first time the law firm has filed a fee application. 

These are in addition to professional and legal fees that the court awarded to other entities involved in the archdiocese bankruptcy since January 2019. Estimates place the total amount at $6 million.

Haidee Eugenio Gilbert


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