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In re Exide Techs.

United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware

January 9, 2020, Decided

Chapter 11, Case No. 13-11482 (MFW)

Opinion

 [*25]  OPINION1

Before the Court is the motion of Exide Technologies ("Exide") to reduce the quarterly fees owed by Exide to the United States Trustee ("UST") to the fees applicable [**4]  at the time its Plan was confirmed. The UST opposes the motion procedurally, asserting that Exide's motion seeks declaratory relief that is only available in an adversary proceeding, and substantively, contending that the increased fees charged after 2017 are constitutionally permitted. The Court will deny Exide's motion because the increased quarterly fees are constitutional.2

I. BACKGROUND

On June 10, 2013, Exide filed a voluntary petition under chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code. Exide's plan of reorganization ("the Plan") was confirmed on March 27, 2015, and became effective on April 30, 2015. The Plan provided that " [t]he reorganized debtor shall continue to pay fees pursuant to section 1930 of title 28 of the United States Code until the Chapter 11 Case is closed by entry of the Final Decree." (D.I. 3409 at § 15.2. )

More than two years later, on October 26, 2017, Congress amended section 1930 to increase the quarterly fees that chapter 11 debtors pay to the UST (the "2017 Amendment"). Pursuant to the 2017 Amendment, Exide's quarterly fee increased from $30,000 to $250,000 per quarter.

On June 12, 2019, Exide filed its Motion, asserting that the amended fee schedules did not apply to Exide based on several statutory and constitutional arguments. On July 15, 2019, the UST responded opposing [**5]  the motion and asserting that Exide's desired relief could only be obtained through an adversary proceeding. Additional briefs and replies were filed on August 5 and August 30, 2019. Oral argument was held on September 18, 2019. The matter is ripe for decision.

II. JURISDICTION

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611 B.R. 21 *; 2020 Bankr. LEXIS 58 **; 2020 WL 211400

In re: EXIDE TECHNOLOGIES, Reorganized Debtor.

CORE TERMS

quarterly, districts, cases, retroactive, post-confirmation, user fee, disbursements, increased fee, pending case, confirmed, argues, fee schedule, appropriations, impermissibly, asserts, geographically, costs, legislative purpose, express language, expectations, non-uniform, benefits, retroactive effect, collect fees, due process, fiscal year, courts, users, retroactive application, bankruptcy case

Governments, Legislation, Interpretation, Bankruptcy Law, Bankruptcy, Case Administration, Filing Fees, Constitutional Law, Substantive Due Process, Scope, Effect & Operation, Retrospective Operation, Bill of Rights, Fundamental Rights, Eminent Domain & Takings, Congressional Duties & Powers, Bankruptcy Clause