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Category: Fee Examiner

Chapter 11 Fee Examiner OKs $20.4M in Fees for 15 Firms

February 8, 2024

A recent Law 360 story by Alex Wittenberg, “Kidde-Fenwal’s Ch. 11 Fee Examiner Oks $20.4M for 15 Firms”, reports that the fee examiner appointed in fire-suppression company Kidde-Fenwal's Chapter 11 case has recommended that a Delaware bankruptcy judge approve $20.4 million in pay for 15 firms working on the proceedings, after they agreed to cut their requested compensation by about $333,000.

In a report submitted, examiner Diana G. Adams detailed interim fees requested by law firms and others working on behalf of Kidde-Fenwal Inc., its unsecured creditors committee and an ad hoc group of governmental claimants.  The fees cover work conducted from Aug. 1 to Oct. 31 by professionals for the debtor and the creditors committee, and work done from mid-May or June 1 to July 31 by firms representing the ad hoc group.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Laurie Selber Silverstein ordered the appointment of a fee examiner in July to help avoid duplication of efforts by counsel for unsecured creditors in the case.  Kidde-Fenwal is one of the companies at the center of massive multidistrict litigation over the sale and use of toxic firefighting foams.

The debtor's attorneys, from five separate firms, requested about $9.61 million in total for their work during the period and agreed to reduce their fees to $9.49 million following discussions with Adams, according to the report.  Sullivan & Cromwell LLP stands to be the highest-paid firm representing the debtor, with reduced fees of $5.27 million and an hourly rate of $1,347.

Seven firms representing unsecured creditors asked for $10.1 million in total and agreed to reductions of about $187,000. Brown Rudnick LLP's reduced fees for representing the committee amount to about $4.05 million.  Three companies working for the ad hoc committee of governmental claimants would reap $1.01 million after cuts of around $23,000.

Kidde-Fenwal filed for Chapter 11 protection in May 2023, saying it faced more than $1 billion of liability tied to claims arising from a former subsidiary's manufacture and sale of aqueous film-forming foam.  The chemical foams have given rise to thousands of lawsuits alleging the companies caused lingering pollution of public waterways and aquifers, and to billions of dollars in toxic exposure claims tied to cancers, thyroid diseases, elevated liver enzymes and decreased fertility among those exposed.

After Judge Silverstein ordered the appointment of an examiner in July, Kidde-Fenwal asked the court to approve its request to pay the ad hoc group of governmental claimants, an atypical arrangement.  The debtor said doing so was necessary in part because of prohibitions against government-entity membership in regular unsecured creditor committees.