In Baker Botts L.L.P. v. Asarco LLC, No. 14-103, 2015 WL 2473336 (U.S. June 15, 2015), the U.S. Supreme Court held that the Bankruptcy Code does not permit bankruptcy courts to award attorneys’ fees to counsel or other professionals employed by the bankruptcy estate for work performed in defending a fee application in court. In this case, the defendant hired law firms to assist it in carrying out its duties as a Chapter 11 debtor in possession. When defendant emerged from bankruptcy, the law firms filed fee applications under Section 330(a)(1) of the Code, which defendant challenged. The bankruptcy court rejected defendant’s objections and awarded the law firms their fees for time spent defending the fee petitions. The district court affirmed, but the Fifth Circuit reversed, holding that the Code did not authorize fee awards for defending fee applications. The U.S. Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the Bankruptcy Code did not depart from the American Rule for fee-defense litigation. Section 330(a)(1) allows for “reasonable compensation for actual, necessary services rendered”; the Court stated that “services” ordinarily refers to labor performed for another, and time spent litigating a fee application against the bankruptcy estate’s administrator cannot be fairly described as labor performed for another. Thus, the Court concluded that to allow such fees in light of the statutory text would require an unnatural interpretation of the word “services” and would require a particularly unusual deviation from the American Rule.