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Bankruptcy Litigation

Guidance on Distributions As ‘Disbursements’ and U.S. Trustee Fees

In a recent case from the Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware, In re Paragon Offshore PLC, the bankruptcy court provided guidance on whether a post-plan effective date litigation trust’s distributions constituted disbursements subject to the U.S. Trustee fee “tax.”

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Nowhere else is the old saying “you can’t escape death and taxes” better exemplified than in Chapter 11. Under the Bankruptcy Code, debtors are subject to stringent reporting and fee requirements imposed by the Department of Justice and the Office of the U.S. Trustee. The U.S. Trustee fees, which have been significantly increased over the last several years, are based on the amount of “disbursements” made by a debtor during the prior reporting period. Therefore, a tension exists between a debtor’s interest in characterizing payments made during the case as something other than a disbursement, in contrast to the U.S. Trustee’s goal to deem all such payments as disbursements subject to fees. In a recent case from the Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware, In re Paragon Offshore PLC, 629 B.R. 227 (Bankr. D. Del. 2021), the bankruptcy court provided guidance on whether a post-plan effective date litigation trust’s distributions constituted disbursements subject to the U.S. Trustee fee “tax.”

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