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Chambers' Bulletins

On Behalf of the Court

Mon, 4/29/2019 - 1:10 pm

A technical amendment has been made to SC LBR 9013-4, Exhibit A to add Motions to Convert to Chapter 13 by a Chapter 7 Debtor to the list of matters that may be scheduled passively.  A 21-day objection period is required.  The Convert Case to 13 event has been modified to conform with the Court's passive notice procedures.  The Operating Order adopting the amendment is available hereSee FRBP 1017(f)(2) and 2002(a)(4).


Tue, 4/09/2019 - 11:04 am

On behalf of the Judges, thanks to the South Carolina Bankruptcy Law Association for an educational and enjoyable weekend in Savannah.  The Annual Seminar is open to all and is a must attend event for many in our practice area.  The speakers this year included United States Circuit Judge A. Marvin Quattlebaum, Jr.  The 2020 seminar has been announced for March 20-22 in Asheville, N.C.

A highlight of the annual meeting is the presentation of the Association's William E.S. Robinson Public Service Award.  It is presented annually by the Board of Directors to a member rendering distinguished public service to the legal profession and community. 

This year Keith Poston of Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP was recognized.  Keith practices in Columbia and was involved in the Bi-Lo, LLC chapter 11 and the Tuomey Healthcare Systems workout.  Last November the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges chose Keith to participate in its next generation program, naming him one of 40 up and coming bankruptcy practitioners with five to ten years experience. 

Keith has been involved with Central South Carolina Habitat for Humanity since 2009 and a board member since 2014.  He currently serves as the Board's vice president.  Keith serves as counsel in Habitat's rare foreclosure actions.  The other Board members, while appreciating his legal work, note that he often works with Habitat clients to achieve a loan modification, refinance, or extension of mortgage terms.  According to Executive Director Roy Kramer, once a homeowner falls into foreclosure, "if they can come up with a plan, more times than not, Keith works it out.  He's pretty good at getting them back on track."

Keith also volunteers for the Wills for Heroes program (providing simple wills and medical powers of attorney to first responders), the South Carolina Guardianship Project (a probate court guardian program), and does pro bono family and landlord-tenant law.  Keith says he enjoys working on these matters because he is able to personally connect with his clients.  The Judges thank Keith for his efforts and congratulate him on the award.

David R. Duncan, Chief Judge


Wed, 3/27/2019 - 9:44 am

On April 1, 2019, various adjustments to the dollar amounts in the Bankruptcy Code, official forms, and in 28 U.S.C.  1409 will take effect.  A list of the affected sections and the new dollar amounts is available here.  In addition to these sections, the following official forms have been updated to reflect the new dollar amounts:

Official Form 106C, Schedule C:  The Property You Claim as Exempt;

Official Form 107, Statement of Financial Affairs for Individuals Filing for Bankruptcy;

Official Form 122A-2, Chapter 7 Means Test Calculation;

Official Form 122C-2, Chapter 13 Calculation of Your Disposable Income;

Official Form 201, Voluntary Petition for Non-Individuals Filing for Bankruptcy;

Official Form 207, Statement of Financial Affairs for Non-Individuals Filing for Bankruptcy; and

Official Form 410, Proof of Claim.

The new amounts and forms should be used for all cases filed on or after April 1, 2019.


Thu, 3/14/2019 - 3:32 pm

The Judges have considered comments submitted by the bar and the chapter 13 trustees to the proposed changes to the chapter 13 plan.  The Judges would like to especially thank those that provided comments and suggestions during the process.  The Judges believe that the comments improved the final plan resulting from this process.  The Judges have adopted the attached form as the District-wide plan as provided in SC LBR 3015-1.  The revised form plan should be used for cases filed on or after May 1, 2019.


Tue, 3/05/2019 - 8:50 am

Pursuant to Administrative Orders available here, the Court has appointed new members to the Advisory Committee on Local Rules and Practice and the Interest Rates in Chapter 13 Cases Committee.  Kristen Nichols will serve as the chair of the Local Rules Committee and Pamela Simmons-Beasley will serve as the chair of the Chapter 13 Interest Rate Committee.

The new members of the Advisory Committee on Local Rules and Practice are as follows:

Kristen Nichols

William K. Stephenson, Jr.

John Timothy Stack

Ann Urquhart Bell

Gina Rossi McMaster

Joseph Kershaw Spong

J. Ronald Jones, Jr.

The new members of the Interest Rates in Chapter 13 Cases Committee are as follows:

Pamela Simmons-Beasley

Elizabeth R. Heilig

Robert B. King, Jr.

Travis E. Menk

Reid E. Dyer

The Court would like to thank the following attorneys for their two years of service on the Advisory Committee on Local Rules and Practice:

Kathleen M. Muthig

John Timothy Stack

Katherine L. Rea

Michael Kevin McCarrell

Russell A. DeMott

Michael H. Weaver

Christine E. Brimm

Additionally, the Court would like to thank the following attorneys for their two years of service on the Interest Rates in Chapter 13 Cases Committee:

James M. Wyman

F. Lee O'Steen

Jackson Turner-Vaught

Suzanne G. Grigg

Jason D. Wyman


Wed, 2/06/2019 - 2:32 pm

The Judges, with input from the chapter 13 trustees, are considering minor changes to the chapter 13 form plan.  A copy of the form plan containing the changes is available here.  Before adopting these changes, the Judges seek comments from the bar and public.  Please send any comments concerning the proposed local form to scbml_lr_comment@scb.uscourts.gov on or before February 22, 2019.  The Court will consider any comments prior to final adoption of a revised form plan.

The proposed changes to the form plan are as follows:

1.  The second paragraph of the Notice to Creditors in Part 1 of the plan has been revised to remove the reference to an objection deadline seven days prior to a confirmation hearing, and now provides, "you or your attorney must file a timely objection to confirmation (consult Notice of Bankruptcy Case or applicable Notice/Motion served with this plan). This conforms with the different procedures employed by the judges. Those procedures are not changing at this time.

2.  Section 3.2 of the plan has been revised to remove the language requiring secured creditors to satisfy liens within a "reasonable time" and to add language stating, "Any secured creditor paid the allowed secured claim provided for by this plan shall release its liens at the earliest of the time required by applicable state law, order of this Court, or thirty (30) days from the entry of the discharge."

3.  Section 3.3 of the plan has been revised to remove reference to secured creditors' retention of liens under section 1325(a)(5)(B)(i) and to remove the language requiring secured creditors to satisfy liens within a "reasonable time" and to add language stating, "Any secured creditor paid the allowed secured claim provided for by this plan shall satisfy its liens at the earliest of the time required by applicable state law, order of this Court, or upon completion of the payment of its allowed secured claim in this case." The retention of liens language is not in the national form plan and was added to the current district form plan without accounting for its absence in the national plan.

4.  Section 4.4 of the plan has been re-ordered, with the check box for Domestic Support Claims coming first, the check box for "Other priority debt" second, and a checkbox containing the following language last: "The debtor is unaware of any priority claims at this time or of any other priority claims if one or more boxes above are checked.  If funds are available, the trustee is authorized to pay on any allowed priority claim without further amendment of the plan."  The heading to section 4.4 has also changed from "Check one" to "Check all that apply". 

An effective date for the use of the revised district form plan will be announced once comments are considered and a final plan is approved by the judges.

 


Tue, 1/29/2019 - 3:13 pm

The Court's form order granting motions to extend time to file schedules, statements, chapter 13 plans, or other required documents has been amended to change the possible deadline from two business days prior to the meeting of creditors to three business days prior to the meeting of creditors.  The order now provides that the documents must be filed on or before the earlier of three business days before the meeting of creditors, a specified number of business days before any hearing on a motion to extend or impose the stay (the number of days depends on the judge assigned to the case), or a specific date as provided in the order.  This change was made at the request of the trustees to assist them in preparing for meetings of creditors and will be effective for motions filed on or after March 1, 2019.


Judge Waites

Tue, 4/23/2019 - 9:51 am

On March 14, 2019, the Bankruptcy Court announced modifications to the local form chapter 13 plan that will be effective for all cases filed on or after May 1, 2019.

Judge Waites invites members of the South Carolina Bankruptcy Bar that practice before him to a meeting to discuss how these District-wide changes will specifically affect the chapter 13 cases assigned to him. This meeting will address the cases assigned to both Trustee Wyman and Trustee Stephenson.

The meeting will be held at 11:30 AM after the close of the docket in Charleston scheduled for Thursday, April 25, 2019. Attorneys and staff from either the Charleston or Columbia divisions may attend in person or by telephone. Please RSVP for the meeting to Agnes Babb at Agnes_Babb@scb.uscourts.gov no later than today at 3:00 PM. In the RSVP, please indicate whether you anticipate attending in person or by telephone.


Fri, 4/19/2019 - 8:48 am

Judge Waites’ term law clerk, Claire Voegele, has accepted the opportunity to serve as the law clerk for a United States District Court Judge in Columbia beginning at the end of this month. The Judge and members of his chambers and case team would like to thank Claire for her service and wish her well. Claire’s last day in chambers will be April 26, 2019.

With Claire’s departure, Judge Waites is happy to welcome back Sarah Kistler to his chambers as a law clerk on a part-time basis. She has previously served with distinction as Judge Waites’ career law clerk for many years prior to her family’s move to Georgia in 2016. Sarah will be teleworking from Georgia.


Thu, 4/18/2019 - 2:34 pm

On March 14, 2019, the Bankruptcy Court announced modifications to the local form chapter 13 plan that will be effective for all cases filed on or after May 1, 2019.

Judge Waites invites members of the South Carolina Bankruptcy Bar that practice before him to a meeting to discuss how these District-wide changes will specifically affect the chapter 13 cases assigned to him.

The meeting will be held at 11:30 AM after the close of the docket in Charleston scheduled for Thursday, April 25, 2019. Attorneys and staff from either the Charleston or Columbia divisions may attend in person or by telephone. Please RSVP for the meeting to Agnes Babb at Agnes_Babb@scb.uscourts.gov no later than 12:00 PM on Tuesday, April 23, 2019. In the RSVP, please indicate whether you anticipate attending in person or by telephone.

Below is a short summary of the recent and upcoming changes to the chapter 13 practice that will be discussed in more detail at the meeting. A more detailed summary of these changes is available here.

Changes to the Chapter 13 Plan in cases filed on or after May 1, 2019:

Part 1: Changes to the notice to creditors of objection deadline.

Part 3:  Changes to #3.2 and #3.3 regarding the satisfaction of liens.

Part 4: Changes to #4.4 elimination of extraneous language and clarification.

Other recent and upcoming changes:  

Presumptive interest rate in Chapter 13 Cases filed on or after May 1, 2019 increases to 6.25%.

Adjustments to the dollar amounts listed in the Bankruptcy Code became effective on April 1, 2019.  Notably, Chapter 13 debt limits under §109(e) were changed to $419,275 unsecured and $1,257,850 secured for cases filed on or after that date.    Other changes to adjusted dollar amounts can be found here.


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