Supreme Court says law firm can't recover attorney fees billed in bankruptcy proceeding

MarketsAssociated Press

The Supreme Court says one of the nation's biggest law firms is not entitled to recover $5.2 million in legal fees it incurred in the course of a bankruptcy proceeding.

The justices ruled Monday that Baker Botts could not collect additional fees it billed during a side dispute over whether the firm should be paid $117 million in fees earned representing Tucson-based copper-mining giant Asarco in the underlying bankruptcy.

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A U.S. bankruptcy court in Texas initially awarded the firm $117 million in 2011 for its work in Asarco's Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceeding. But Asarco objected and the firm spent another $5.2 million in separate litigation defending its fees. A federal appeals court ruled that "fees for defense of fees" could not be paid.

The Supreme Court affirmed the lower court.