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Travelers Casualty and Surety Co. v. Pacific Gas and Electric Company
No. 05-1429
Title:
    Travelers Casualty and Surety Company of America v. Pacific Gas and Electric Company

Subject:

    Attorney's Fees, Contracts, Bankruptcy Law
Question:
    Petitioner and Respondent entered into a contract that included a provision that Petitioner is entitled to recover its attorneys' fees incurred in connection with the enforcement, protection, or litigation of its contractual and legal rights. Petitioner incurred attorneys' fees litigating its rights during the course of Respondent's bankruptcy case and sought to recover them from Respondent. Adhering to its prior decision in Fobian v. Western Farm Credit Bank (In re Fobian), 951 F.2d 1149 (9th Cir. 1991), the Ninth Circuit held that Petitioner could not recover its attorneys' fees because the relevant litigation in the bankruptcy court involved issues of federal bankruptcy law. The court reasoned that, as a matter of general federal common law, a party may not recover its attorneys' fees pursuant to a contract or state statute where the issues litigated involve matters of federal law because only federal law may authorize such a recovery. The question presented is:

    Should the Court grant certiorari to resolve a conflict among nine courts of appeals concerning whether a litigant may recover attorneys' fees under a contract or state statute where the issues litigated involve matters of federal bankruptcy law?
Decisions:

Resources:

Briefs:

    Parties Counsel of Record

For Petitioner Travelers Cas. & Surety Co.:

G. Eric Brunstad Jr.
Bingham McCutchen, LLP
Hartford, CT
For Respondent PG&E:
Gary M. Kaplan
Howard Rice Nemerowski Canady Falk & Rabkin
San Francisco, CA


 

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