§ 54.5     Quantum Meruit
Cite as:    Keith M. Lundin, Lundin On Chapter 13, § 54.5, at ¶ ____, LundinOnChapter13.com (last visited __________).

There are a few cases suggesting that in unusual situations it may be appropriate to compensate the Chapter 13 trustee based on the value of services rendered rather than as a fixed percentage of payments received. For example, when the debtor proposed to fund a plan from the sale of the debtor’s residence, one court held that the trustee was entitled to compensation on a quantum meruit basis.1 Similarly, when the Chapter 13 debtor made payments directly to a mortgage holder, it was held that the trustee should be compensated only for the reasonable value of whatever services the trustee supplied.2


In cases with large payments to a single creditor, in cases in which the debtor makes a large lump-sum payment(s) into the plan and in cases funded from the sale of property, the Chapter 13 trustee usually does not experience any significant additional work and in some sense is overcompensated on a fixed-percentage-of-payments basis.3 However, because the statute does not contemplate fees other than as a percentage of payments received, quantum meruit is a long shot for debtors.


1  In re Smith, 51 B.R. 273 (Bankr. D.D.C. 1984).


2  In re Tartaglia, 61 B.R. 439 (Bankr. D.R.I. 1986), overruled without reference by In re Savage, 67 B.R. 700 (D.R.I. 1986).


3  Avoiding “windfall” compensation to the Chapter 13 trustee from a single large payment by the debtor to a creditor was one reason the Chapter 13 debtor was permitted to make the single lump-sum payment directly to the creditor without the assistance of the Chapter 13 trustee in In re Gregory, 143 B.R. 424 (Bankr. E.D. Tex. 1992).