In re Carter, Case No. 00-75939, 2006 Bankr. LEXIS 1362 (Bankr. N.D. Ga. April 13, 2006)(Massey)

The attorney for a Chapter 13 debtor filed an application for compensation for $6900 over and above the $2500 paid by the debtor prior to the filing of the case (which is the maximum amount allowed without court order).  The attorney did not have a written fee agreement with the debtor, which the court noted "would be adverse to any claim for additional compensation."  The debtor opposed the attorney’s request.

The Court denied the application.  Even if the attorney had a written fee agreement and the services performed were necessary and valuable, the confirmed plan discharged any claim for fees.  The confirmed plan did not provide for any fees over and above the $2500 already paid by the debtor prior to filing.  Section 1327(a) of the Code provides that the terms of the confirmed plan binds the debtor and creditors, and thus is res judicata.  Further, §1328(c) provides that a discharge under that section discharges the debtor from all unsecured debts provided for by the plan or disallowed under §502.  Thus, even if the court were to approve the fees, they would be an administrative expense under the plan, and since the Chapter 13 Trustee has no funds left to pay administrative claims, the unpaid claim is discharged.