U.S. District Judge Laura Taylor Swain authorized Wednesday payment of an additional $8.5 million in attorneys´ fees related to Puerto Rico's Title III cases.
Meanwhile, on the recommendation of the Fee Examiner, she decided to put nearly $30 million in final payments for the restructuring of the Sales Tax Financing Corporation (Cofina) and more than $75 million in attorneys and advisers´ fees billed last year on hold.
This is one of the three decisions Swain issued at the beginning of 2020, which will mark three years since Puerto Rico invoked PROMESA Title III and a period for lawsuits filed by the Oversight Board seeking to invalidate part of the island's constitutional debt to be heard.
Swain accepted Fee Examiner Brady Williamson´s recommendation regarding Title III cases sixth billing cycle but only for fees billed by The Brattle Group, an economic consulting firm that would have been hired by Proskauer Rose, the Board's main legal advisor, and for fees billed by Paul Hastings, the law firm representing the Unsecured Creditors Committee (UCC).
Swain approved paying Brattle about $678,000 in fees and another $1,625 in reimbursements.
Meanwhile, the judge authorized about $7.8 million in legal fees to Paul Hastings and another $182,312 in reimbursements. Such expenses were billed between February 1 to May 31, 2019.
According to Williamson's report, the recommendation for payment came after a negotiation process, in which Brattle and Paul Hastings agreed to adjustments of about $4,518 and $341,806, respectively.
However, Williamson asked Swain to postpone, until the January 29 hearing, more than $75 million billed the Board and the government´s legal and financial advisors during the sixth billing cycle, since the Fee Examiner officer is still in conversations with these firms about the adjustments made to their billing.
Last year, El Nuevo Día reported that between 2017 and January 2019, that is five billing cycles, the Fee Examiner had recommended the payment of some $360 million in legal fees.