Motion to Withdraw as Counsel and
for Continuance Page 1
Stephen R. Cochell
The Cochell Law Firm, P.C.
Texas Bar No. 24044255
7026 Old Katy Rd., Ste 259
Houston, Texas 77096
(713) 980-8796 (phone)
(713) 980-1179 (facsimile)
srcochell@cochellfirm.com
ATTORNEY FOR JEFFREY BARON
IN THE UNITED STATES BANKRUPTCY COURT
FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS
DALLAS DIVISION
In re: §
§
ONDOVA LIMITED COMPANY §
§
§ CASE NO. 09-34784-SGJ-11
§ Chapter 11
Debtor. §
MOTION TO WITHDRAW AS COUNSEL AND
FOR CONTINUANCE OF HEARINGS ON FEES
Stephen R. Cochell, hereby moves to withdraw as counsel for Jeffrey Baron and for
continuance of hearings on fees, and in support, states:
1. On November 24, 2010 the Chapter 11 trustee proceeded in a secret, ex
parte hearing to obtain an ex parte order that seized all of Mr. Baron's
assets including future income and wages, for the express purpose of
preventing Mr. Baron from being able to hire paid counsel to represent
him in these, and all other court proceedings.
2. The Fifth Circuit has heard argument on the matter and is preparing a
ruling as to the propriety, legality and constitutionality of the seizure order
secured by the chapter 11 trustee.
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3. The Fifth Circuit has advised this Honorable Court and the District Court
that no significant distribution of any receivership asset should be made
prior to the ruling of the Fifth Circuit and that no sale of any assets subject
to the receivership shall be made prior to the decision of the Fifth Circuit
as to the appeals (and mandamus) now pending before it.
4. So long as Mr. Baron is prohibited from earning income and hiring
counsel of his choice to represent him, he is wholly dependent upon the
rulings of the District Court as to the extent of his representation before
this Court.
5. The undersigned sought, and was granted, an appointment to represent
Mr. Baron for a very limited purpose-- "TO OPPOSE CREATION OF
[THE] LIQUIDATING TRUST". [Dist. Dkts. 1056 ¶ 2, 1066 ¶ 1].
6. The undersigned later sought, but was not granted, an appointment to
represent Mr. Baron for the purpose of objecting to fee applications made
by the chapter 11 trustee and his receiver. [Dist. Dkt. 1087].
7. On September 28, 2012, counsel entered an appearance for Mr. Baron in
this proceeding for the limited purpose of representing Mr. Baron on the
Chapter 11 Liquidating Trust Plan. An Expedited Discovery Scheduling
Order was entered by the Court. [Dkt. 858]. That discovery has been
complete.
8. Counsel filed objections to the Chapter 11 Plan and filed several motions
seeking continuance and discovery based on failure to produce court-
ordered documents, investigated issues relating to the Receiver’s
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exclusion of bidders to the auction, and filed Objections to the Bankruptcy
Court’s Order Confirming Chapter 11 Plan. All of Mr. Baron’s motions
have been denied and the plan has been approved by this Court. Counsel
completed his limited representation in this Court pursuant to his
appointment.
GOOD CAUSE EXISTS FOR WITHDRAWAL AS COUNSEL
9. It is clear that where, as here, counsel was appointed for a specific purpose
and that purpose has been accomplished, withdrawal should be allowed.
Counsel was not appointed to represent Mr. Baron on fee issues, and
would have submitted a dramatically different budget and request for
retainer if advised that he could not enter an appearance in the bankruptcy
court. [Dist. Dkt. 1087]. Unlike the large law firms representing the
Receiver and the Trustee, counsel is a solo practitioner who cannot
advance attorney’s fees and expert fees in this case.
10. Without prior funding and authority, Counsel cannot hire the necessary
co-counsel and experts required to represent Mr. Baron with respect to
opposing prospective fee applications that have no bearing on approval of
the liquidating trust, which has, at this point already been approved by this
Court.
11. Counsel for Baron requests the Court grant a continuance for Mr. Baron to
seek appointment of counsel by the District Court to represent him on
matters concerning approval of the attorney’s fees. Because the Fifth
Circuit has stayed this Court’s sale of the assets of the Receivership as a
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basis for resolving this bankruptcy, these proceedings are subject to the
ruling of the Fifth Circuit as to the receivership obtained by the Chapter 11
trustee.
12. Further, a ruling by the Fifth Circuit that the Chapter 11’s obtaining
seizure of Mr. Baron’s assets in order to prevent him from hiring legal
counsel was unlawful, unconstitutional, or otherwise improper under the
law will have a substantial impact on this Court’s consideration of the
Trustee’s fee requests, especially with respect to massive efforts to impose
the receivership and defend the receivership on appeal. Clearly, this
Court would not reward the Trustee’s counsel for a massive fee generation
exercise in an effort to impose an unconstitutional, unlawful, or otherwise
improper seizure of assets in order to prevent a litigant from freely hiring
legal counsel to oppose the trustee’s fee applications. Accordingly,
hearing on further matters in this case, specifically including further fee
applications, should be held until after the Fifth Circuit enters its ruling on
the pending appeals.
CONCLUSION
WHEREFORE, Stephen R. Cochell moves to withdraw as counsel for Jeffrey Baron.
Mr. Baron requests that Mr. Baron be allowed a continuance to allow Judge Furgeson to appoint
counsel to represent Mr. Baron with respect to opposing the attorney’s fee applications.
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Very respectfully,
/s/ Stephen R. Cochell
Stephen R. Cochell
The Cochell Law Firm, P.C.
Texas Bar No. 24044255
7026 Old Katy Rd., Ste 259
Houston, Texas 77096
(713)980-8796 (phone)
(713)980-1179 (facsimile)
srcochell@cochellfirm.com
CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE
This is to certify that, on December 11, 2012, a copy of this Motion was served on all
counsel through the Court’s ECF system.
/s/ Stephen R. Cochell
Stephen R. Cochell
CERTIFICATE OF CONFERENCE
This is to certify that, on December 10, 2012, counsel conferred with counsel for the
Trustee by email regarding his questions about the motion, but did not receive a response.
Counsel called Mr. Hunt and left a message with him and with his secretary indicating that
counsel would file the motion if he did not receive a response. Counsel further conferred with
Lisa Lambert, Assistant United States Trustee, who requested counsel defer filing the motion to
allow her the opportunity to confer with counsel for the Trustee and Receiver. On December 11,
2012, at about 5:00 p.m., counsel conferred with the Trustee, the Receiver and Ms. Lambert in an
attempt to obtain a voluntary continuance of the matter pending this Court’s review of the
withdrawal issue, but the Trustee opposed continuance of the fee motion.
/s/ Stephen R. Cochell
Stephen R. Cochell
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CERTIFICATE OF COMPLIANCE
This is to certify that counsel has complied with the Court’s directive that motions be
supported by evidence. Based on the order, counsel does not believe that an affidavit of Mr.
Baron is required, as the issues set out above are legal in nature, factual averments are not within
his