Warren C. HAVENS, Appellant, v. LEONG PARTNERSHIP, Appellee.
Decided: December 19, 2019
Before: FARRIS, TROTT, and SILVERMAN, Circuit Judges.
Warren C. Havens, Berkeley, CA, pro se. Miriam Manning, Pachulski Stang Ziehl & Jones LLP, San Francisco, CA, Jeremy V. Richards, Pachulski Stang Ziehl & Jones LLP, Los Angeles, CA, for Appellee.
Warren Havens appeals pro se the district court's judgment affirming the bankruptcy court's award of attorneys' fees under 11 U.S.C. § 303(i) following the dismissal of an involuntary Chapter 11 petition Havens filed against Leong Partnership. We review the bankruptcy court's interpretation of bankruptcy statutes de novo, without deference to the district court's review. Vibe Micro, Inc. v. SIG Capital, Inc. (Matter of 8Speed8, Inc.), 921 F.3d 1193, 1195 (9th Cir. 2019), cert. denied, ––– U.S. ––––, 140 S.Ct. 48, 205 L.Ed.2d 132 (2019). We “will not disturb a bankruptcy court's award of attorney's fees unless the court abused its discretion or erroneously applied the law.” Orange Blossom Ltd. P'ship v. Southern Calif. Sunbelt Developers, Inc. (In re S. Cal. Sunbelt Developers, Inc.), 608 F.3d 456, 461 (9th Cir. 2010). We affirm.
The bankruptcy court properly treated Arnold Leong as a debtor for purposes of an award of attorneys' fees under 11 U.S.C. § 303(i) because the bankruptcy petition alleged that he was a general partner of debtor Leong Partnership. See 11 U.S.C. § 303(i) (authorizing an award of “a reasonable attorney's fee” in favor of the debtor); Fed. R. Bankr. P. 9001(5)(B) (providing that “if the debtor is partnership, ‘debtor’ includes any or all of its general partners”).
Using the lodestar method, the bankruptcy court properly exercised its discretion in awarding bankruptcy counsel's requested fee in full; in concluding that litigation counsel's work was necessary; and in reducing litigation counsels' requested fee by 20% based on duplication of effort and block billing. See In re S. Cal. Sunbelt Developers, Inc., 608 F.3d at 461 (standard of review); In re Hunt, 238 F.3d 1098, 1105 (9th Cir. 2001) (holding, on review of an award of attorneys' fees under 11 U.S.C. § 523(d), that the lodestar method is the primary method used to determine a reasonable fee in a bankruptcy case).
Appellant's motion for a stay (Docket Entry No. 19) is denied.
Appellant's motions for judicial notice (Docket Entry Nos. 20-22) are denied.
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