The implementation of new local rules on April 15, 2005, causes a degree of adjustment and anxiety to everyone – the judges, the bar, the trustees and the clerk’s office. However, a few recent developments demonstrate that the Court’s approach to rule making, guidelines and decisions has kept our District ahead of the curve in many instances.
The recent U.S. Supreme Court decision in Rousey v. Jacoway, ___ U.S. ___, 125 S.Ct. 1561, 2005 U.S. LEXIS 2933 (2005) sustained the view of the exemptability of IRAs expressed by the Court in 1998 in In re Outen, 220 B.R. 26 (Bankr. D.S.C. 1998).
The new E-Government Act requires courts to establish a web page with certain information and to make its substantive written opinions available and searchable. These are features which have been available in this Court since 1998.
The proposed Bankruptcy Reform Act provides many new requirements, but many of them have been anticipated by this Court’s prior rules and practices. Examples include procedures to limit serial filings, to ensure the integrity of the reaffirmation process, to require payment of domestic support claims, to provide trustees with necessary information to assist confirmation, such as tax returns, and to require objections to claims to be served upon creditors at the proper address.In reflection upon the new changes in the law, it seems to me that in many respects we are well ahead of the game. As to other changes, we look forward to a collaborative effort to make necessary adjustments and continue to improve upon our existing practices and procedures in the coming months.