Centennial Bank v. Powell
ORDER granting as modified 87 Motion for order. The Court adopts the agreed framework with some tinkering. Status report on progress towards sale due by 9/1/2018. 91 Motion granted. 93 Motion for attorney's fees reluctantly granted as modi fied. The Court authorizes payment of $7,000 of the $9,112.50 requested. The Court directs Wood and Linder & Associates to pay $2,475 as re-financing related fees; Wood must pay the balance from the Bank of America account. 101 Motion is denied without prejudice. There's no emergency. Signed by Judge D. P. Marshall Jr. on 5/30/2018. (jak)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS
Guardian of the Estate of
Mary Moore Stiny
Motion for order, NQ 87, granted as modified. The Court
appreciates counsel's collaboration and Centennial' s clarifying reply,
NQ 100. It adopts their agreed framework with some tinkering.
First, the Hoxie house. Centennial should provide Wood with
names of two local real estate agents by 8 June 2018. Wood should pick
one by 15 June 2018. As soon as practicable, the house should be listed
for a period of ninety days at no less than the appraised value. The
proceeds from the sale will be placed into this Court's registry pending
a final decision on the merits. Status report on progress toward sale
due by 1 September 2018.
Second, the tax return issues. The parties agree that they should
be corrected and amended. This must be done by 1 September 2018
and the parties must file notice with the Court. As for the costs, those
will be paid from Bank of America account No. xxxxx-5307 and subject
to reimbursement by Wood after judgment on the merits. The same
goes for the prior costs, including those associated with the returns
from 2015 to 2017, NQ 100 at 4. Many of these tax and cost issues can't
be decided short of a decision on the merits. NQ 90 at 1-2.
Third, the caregiver claims. The Court will hold a hearing. The
claimants must appear before the Court and present their claims, and
the parties may examine them under oath. The parties should file
simultaneous five-page briefs seven calendar days before the hearing
so the Court can prepare for it. On that date, they should also deliver a
set of agreed exhibits to Jonesboro chambers and file their exhibit list.
Fourth, the Old Pocahontas Road house. There is no agreement
about the sale of this property; and it may be profitable in its current
condition. So it will not be sold. And Mrs. Stiny' s personal effects
should remain in storage there, at no cost to any party. The Bank must,
however, check on the personal effects from time to time to make sure
that they are being safely stored. Weather damage, for example, could
be a real and preventable issue. The Bank should provide monthly
reports to Wood through counsel.
Fifth, the Court appreciates the update on the BMW. It looks
forward to Centennial's status report on 29 June 2018. NQ 90 at 1.
Motion to approve 2017 accounting, NQ 91, granted. This
report looks very good. Attorney's fees related to this accounting will
be addressed in due course on a complete record. None are requested
with specificity at this point.
Second motion for attorney's fees, NQ 93, reluctantly granted
as modified. The Court understands that oversights happen. It also
understands that many legal issues in this case necessarily involve
California trust law. So, Darvish' s communications with lead counsel
are justified in most instances. The Court authorizes payment of $7,000
of the $9,112.50 requested.
This reduction is necessary to rein in
unexpected charges at an hourly rate that is 50% higher than the
reasonable and customary rate in this District. The Court directs Wood
and Linder & Associates to pay $2,475 as re-financing related fees;
Wood must pay the balance from the Bank of America account.
The "emergency motion to extend discovery cut-off date,"
NQ 101, is denied without prejudice.
There's no emergency.
The three depositions have been
The Court assumes the documents requested will be
produced sufficiently in advance of those depositions to be useful there.
And the parties are free to conduct any needed clean-up discovery this
summer by agreement.
Second, and relatedly, Darvish' s role in this case must be reduced
to conform to the Court's prior Order and reasonableness. He is second
chair with a limited area of responsibility. To repeat: "Lilly is lead
counsel. Fees incurred for Darvish's work should be the minimum
necessary to adequately represent the Trust on the California law issues
raised by Centennial." Ng 79 at 4.
Darvish's recent papers demonstrate too big a role. Lilly must
take the lead on all filings with this Court; no more Darvish-only
Lilly must direct and guide all the work.
Lilly must, for
example, depose Baker and Robbins; Darvish should, of course, help
prepare Lilly on any material California trust law issues. But unless
Wood wants to pay for travel time and expenses, Darvish may
participate in the Arkansas depositions only by telephone or video
Likewise, because of the substance involved and for
efficiency, Darvish must depose Tennen, with Lilly helping on the
preparation and participating only by telephone or video conference.
Darvish has an important but limited part in this case; to get paid with
trust funds, he must ride shotgun, not drive.
The Court notes that Centennial has several lawyers. If the real
issue on Wood's side of the case is "we need more hands on general
litigation tasks," then Lilly should find additional counsel to help at or
below Lilly's hourly rate.
United States District Judge
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