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United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
July 8, 2008, Filed
[*499] EDITH H. JONES, Chief Judge:
An extraordinarily litigious debtor 1 challenges in this appeal two aspects of the Chapter 11 Plan confirmed at the instance of the Trustee and creditors, principally the IRS. We hold that the appeal is not equitably moot, notwithstanding that the Plan has been substantially consummated and the debtor neither obtained a stay or posted a bond pending appeal. The debtor's merits issues, which challenge only the Plan's exculpatory clause for the Trustee and the Trustee's percentage compensation arrangement, border on frivolous. We accordingly vacate the district court's dismissal of the appeal and affirm the bankruptcy court confirmation order.
The procedural history of this appeal is straightforward. Zouhair Hilal ("Hilal") filed a Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition in early 2005, a trustee was appointed, and a year and half later, after several iterations of a reorganization plan were proposed and thoughtful revisions were required by the bankruptcy court, a confirmation order was entered. The plan called for liquidation of the debtor's assets, and its objectives have been substantially achieved.
Hilal appealed the plan confirmation order to the district court and challenged two provisions: the release of the Trustee from liability for negligence and breach of fiduciary duty but not for gross negligence or willful misconduct; and the compensation of the Plan Agent on a percentage basis pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 326(a), rather than on an hourly basis. The district court dismissed the appeal as equitably moot. Hilal appealed to this court.
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534 F.3d 498 *; 2008 U.S. App. LEXIS 14318 **; Bankr. L. Rep. (CCH) P81,277; 59 Collier Bankr. Cas. 2d (MB) 1827; 50 Bankr. Ct. Dec. 46
IN THE MATTER OF: ZOUHAIR HILAL, also known as Danny Hilal, Debtor; ZOUHAIR HILAL, also known as Danny Hilal, Appellant v. CHAPTER 11 TRUSTEE RANDY W. WILLIAMS, Appellee
Prior History: [**1] Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas. 4:06-CV-2366. Gray Miller, US District Judge.
Hilal v. Williams (In re Zouhair "Danny" Hilal), 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 45530 (S.D. Tex., June 22, 2007)
equitably, moot, confirmation, district court, reorganization, consummated
Bankruptcy Law, Procedural Matters, Judicial Review, General Overview, Civil Procedure, Justiciability, Mootness, Plans, Plan Confirmation, Case Administration, Professional Services, Examiners, Officers & Trustees, Duties & Functions, Reorganizations, Retention of Professionals, Compensation, Immunities & Liabilities