9. Fee Objections
To the extent that the system controls fees, it must be either through fee cutting or deterrence. “Fee cutting” is the courts' refusal to award some portion of the fees sought. Deterrence is the professionals' reduction in the amount of fees sought, either because the professional doesn't believe it can obtain the amount sought or because the professional believes the risks or costs—monetary or reputational—will be too high. This chapter presents the results of a study on fee objections and fee cutting. The study is based on 926 fee applications filed in seventy-four cases concluded from 1998 through 2004. Forty-two of those applications were made under § 503(b)(3) and (4). The remaining 884 of those applications were made under § 330. It is argued that the dearth of significant objections and fees cuts is evidence that the fee control system has failed. The system is not in fact operating to control fees.
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