Judge Duncan has revised his Chambers Guidelines. In addition to making other minor, non-substantive changes, he has revised the chapter 13 attorney fees section to reflect the increase in the expedited fee amount and the elimination of the limitation for supplemental fees for general chapter 13 matters. The Chambers Guidelines are available here.
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Pursuant to the bulletin of February 26, 2020, Judge Burris has posted updated Chambers Guidelines that include new Chapter 13 attorney’s fees information as follows:
Chapter 13 Matters
Expedited fee amount for purposes of SC LBR 2016-1(b)(1) for all cases assigned to Judge Burris: Consumer $4,000; Business $4,500
Supplemental Fees. The chambers guideline threshold for Judge Burris is eliminated effective March 1, 2020. As a result, the procedures found in SC LBR 2016-1(b)(2)(B) are no longer necessary and attorneys should follow the procedure for application set forth in SC LBR 2016-1(b)(2)(A).
Fees charged must match the complexity and scope of work described in the application.
After confirmation, and to the extent funds are available after deduction of the trustee’s commission, the trustee may disburse up to $1,500.00 to counsel as part of the initial disbursement under the Chapter 13 plan.
On Behalf of the Court
To streamline compensation for debtor's attorneys in chapter 13 cases and to provide fair and reasonable compensation, Judges Duncan, Waites and Burris have agreed to certain changes for fee amounts and procedures. These include a consistent expedited fee amount under SC LBR 2016-1(b)(1) ($4,000.00 consumer; $4,500.00 business) and the elimination of the cap on fees, in most instances, under SC LBR 2016-1(b)(2)(A). Attorneys are reminded that any fees charged must be fair and reasonable and fees remain subject to review throughout the case. Please consult updated Chambers Guidelines for each judge, which will be posted soon. These changes are effective in cases filed on or after March 1, 2020, and to pending cases as provided in a judge's Chambers Guidelines.
As a reminder, if you attended the SBRA training on February 11, 2020 by WebEx and would like to obtain CLE credit, please send your completed certificate of attendance to Dawn Hardesty at email@example.com by Monday, February 17, 2020. A copy of the certificate of attendance form is available here.
As a reminder, if you plan to attend the Small Business Reorganization Act of 2019 training on February 11, 2020 at 3:00 p.m., please rsvp by today, February 7 to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please indicate whether you plan to attend in person and in which location, or whether you plan to attend via WebEx. If attending by WebEx, please provide the email address to which you would like the log-in instructions sent. If you have questions about the training, please contact Dawn Hardesty at email@example.com or at (803) 765-5659.
As previously noticed, the United States trustee program will host a training session to discuss the Small Business Reorganization Act of 2019 on February 11, 2020 from 3:00-4:30 p.m. The training session will be held at the United States Bankruptcy Courthouse, 1100 Laurel Street, Columbia, SC. The training will also be available by video from the Charleston and Spartanburg courthouses and via WebEx from your personal computer. It is anticipated that the training will be approved for 1.5 hours of CLE credit.
If you would like to attend the February 11 training, please RSVP by Friday, February 7 to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please indicate whether you plan to attend in person and in which location, or whether you plan to attend via WebEx. If attending by WebEx, please provide the email address to which you would like the log-in instructions sent. Instructions for logging in to the training via WebEx will be sent out the day prior to the training to those that have RSVPed. Written materials for the training will be posted on the Court's website and sent by email to those that have RSVPed prior to the event.
If you have questions about the training, please contact Dawn Hardesty at email@example.com or at (803) 765-5659.
To facilitate uniformity in the implementation of the changes mandated by the Small Business Reorganization Act of 2019, the Court has adopted Local Rule 2081-3, which incorporates Interim Amendments to Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure 1007, 1020, 2009, 2012, 2015, 3010, 3011, 3014, 3016, 3017.1, 3017.2, 3018, and 3019. Local Rule 2081-3 is effective February 19, 2020. The Operating Order adopting the Local Rule is available here. A redline showing the changes made to the Local Rules by the Interim Rules is available here.
The United States trustee program will host a training session to educate the bankruptcy bar on the Small Business Reorganization Act of 2019 on the afternoon of February 11, 2020 at 3:00 p.m. The training session will be held at the United States Bankruptcy Courthouse, 1100 Laurel Street, Columbia, SC 29201 and will also be available for viewing from the Charleston and Spartanburg courthouses or from your personal computer. The session should be approved for CLE credit. Please save this date and make plans to attend. More information will be available soon.
The Chapter 13 Interest Rate Committee has met and recommended that the presumptive interest rate in chapter 13 cases be decreased from 6.25% to 5.75%. The Court has considered and adopted this recommendation. The presumptive interest rate in chapter 13 cases to be applied to secured claims will become 5.75% effective for cases filed on or after January 9, 2020. Operating Order 20-01 adopting the new interest rate is available here. The Court thanks the members of the Chapter 13 Interest Rate Committee for their work and recommendation.
During January and February 2020, Judge Waites’ Charleston court dockets will be, in most instances, conducted at the scheduled time by video conference capability with the trustees, attorneys, parties, and witnesses appearing in the Charleston courtroom and the Judge appearing by video from Columbia.
During this period, it is imperative that counsel observe Judge Waites’ Chambers Guidelines and timely submit continuance requests, withdrawals, settlements and joint statements of dispute. Joint statements of dispute are due in all contested matters, including objections to confirmation and objections to motions for relief from stay.
Testimony and documentary evidence shall be presented in Charleston. For all exhibits, to the extent counsel wants the Judge to have a copy for review during the hearing, an additional copy shall be provided to the Columbia Chambers by email (Andrew_Powell@scb.uscourts.gov) no later than 12:00 PM, one business day prior to the scheduled hearing.
Contested matters or trials which are expected to require significant court time may be rescheduled by the Court to be heard on a separate day.
The parties, counsel, and applicable case trustee may jointly request to move the location of a Charleston hearing to the Columbia courthouse. Any request to move a Charleston hearing to the Columbia courthouse shall be made to Chambers by email (Andrew_Powell@scb.uscourts.gov) no later than 10:00 AM two business days prior to the scheduled hearing. A hearing moved to the Columbia courthouse may be rescheduled depending on the Court’s schedule.
In matters involving only arguments (i.e., no testimony or contested exhibits to be presented) and with the consent of all counsel, pro se parties, and the applicable case trustee, the Court will allow attorneys to appear in Columbia while opposing attorneys appear in Charleston. Such a request and consents shall be presented to the Courtroom Deputy (Nicole Stalvey, Nicole_Stalvey@scb.uscourts.gov) and Chambers (Andrew Powell Andrew_Powell@scb.uscourts.gov, Agnes Babb, Agnes_Babb@scb.uscourts.gov) by email no later than the deadline for filing the joint statement of dispute in the contested matter.