United States District Court, N.D. California
In re Richard A. Garcia, et al., Debtors
For UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Appellant: Melinda Haag, LEAD ATTORNEY, U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of California, San Francisco, CA; Michael G. Pitman, LEAD ATTORNEY, United States Attorney's Office, San Francisco, CA; Thomas Moore, LEAD ATTORNEY, U.S. Attorney's Office, Tax Division, San Francisco, CA.
For Richard Garcia, Laura J. Garcia, Appellees: Cathleen Cooper Moran, LEAD ATTORNEY, Renee Clarice Mendoza, Moran Law Group Inc, Mountain View, Ca.
EDWARD J. DAVILA, United States District Judge.
ORDER AFFIRMING BANKRUPTCY COURT'S AWARD OF ATTORNEY'S FEES FOR APPELLEES
[Re: Docket Item No. 1]
Appellant United States of America (here, " the IRS" or " Appellant" ) has timely appealed United States Bankruptcy Judge Arthur S. Weissbrodt's May 2, 2012 order granting Appellees Richard A. and Laura J. Garcia (" the Garcias" or " Appellees" ) an award of attorney's fees over and above the statutory limit pursuant to 26 U.S.C. § 7430.
Having fully reviewed the parties' papers, the Court AFFIRMS the judgment of the Bankruptcy Court.
A. The Garcias' Bankruptcy and the Motion for Attorney's Fees
On June 20, 2007, the Garcias filed a voluntary Chapter 13 petition. Docket Item No. 1, Ex. 2, Tr. of Hr'g on Debtors' Mot. for Orders Enforcing Sanction (" Order" ) at 4. The IRS appears among the Garcias' listed creditors on the relevant schedules and was served with notice of the commencement of their bankruptcy case. Id. at 5. On September 15, 2010, the Garcias received confirmation of their Chapter 13 plan. Id.
Approximately one year later, on September 20, 2011, the IRS recorded a lien for trust fund taxes against Richard Garcia. Id. Counsel for the Garcias, Cathleen Cooper Moran, discussed the pendency
of the Garcias' bankruptcy case with an IRS employee in October of 2011. Id. Despite this, the IRS served Richard Garcia's employer with a notice of wage garnishment on October 27, 2011. Id.
The Garcias' filed the motion giving rise to the present appeal on November 29, 2011. Id. That motion requested damages in the amount of $5,000 for each communication or collection action taken in violation of the automatic stay imposed on actions undertaken by the Garcias' listed creditors, as well as an award of attorney's fees incurred to stop such violations. Id. The motion further sought ...