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Chambers' Bulletins

On Behalf of the Court

Fri, 8/31/2018 - 3:00 pm

The Administrative Office for United States Courts issues an annual report compiled from statistics collected by the Clerks of Court of the Bankruptcy Courts in bankruptcy cases filed around the nation. The report is required by the 2005 Reform Act and it reflects information garnered from consumer cases. You can find the full report and statistical tables at http://www.uscourts.gov/news/2018/08/27/bankruptcy-report-gives-details-2017-filers

Consumer filings in South Carolina decreased 0.70% in 2017.  In South Carolina, the median monthly income reported by individual debtors in chapter 7 cases was $2,407 per month, compared with $2,582 in the Fourth Circuit and $2,488 nationwide.  Median expenses in South Carolina chapter 7 cases were $2,574 per month, compared with $2,890 in the Fourth Circuit and $2,659 nationwide.  For chapter 13 cases, the median income in South Carolina was $3,288 per month, compared with $3,579 in the Fourth Circuit and $3,287 nationwide.  Median expenses in South Carolina chapter 13 cases were $2,450, compared with $2,947 in the Fourth Circuit and $2,616 nationwide.

South Carolina enjoys a slightly higher chapter 13 case completion rate than the rest of the country.  Nationwide, the plan completion rate was 48.38% for 2017, and in South Carolina the completion rate was 50.45%.  The Fourth Circuit had a slightly higher completion rate, at 50.88%.

A summary of the report and a comparison of South Carolina's data to the rest of the 4th Circuit and the nation can be found here.


Wed, 6/20/2018 - 11:43 am

Our court, along with many others around the country and most of those in the 4th Circuit, previously employed a procedure for dismissal of bankruptcy cases upon certification by the Clerk of Court, the United States trustee or a trustee of certain deficiencies. The 4th Circuit, in the recent case of No v. Gorman, 891 F3d. 138 (4th Cir. 2018), noted the notice and opportunity for hearing requirement of sections 707(a), 1112(b), 1208(c), and 1307(c). In light of this decision the Court has adopted the attached operating order revising our local rules and adopting procedures consistent with No v. Gorman.

In short, rather than the certification of dismissal procedure previously permitted under the local rules, dismissal will now be considered upon a Rule to Show Cause or motion. The opportunity for a hearing (self-scheduled by the Clerk, UST or trustee) is thus available, however the case may be dismissed without a hearing, consistent with our general passive notice procedure, unless a timely response is interposed.


Judge Waites

Fri, 8/31/2018 - 2:24 pm

Judge Waites is pleased to welcome Claire Voegele as a law clerk in his chambers in Charleston, beginning September 4, 2018. Claire is a 2017 honors graduate of the University of South Carolina School of Law, and recently completed a clerkship with the Honorable Robert H. Hodges, Jr. of the United States Court of Federal Claims in Washington D.C. We look forward to working with Claire and welcome her to the Court.


Thu, 8/30/2018 - 4:08 pm

At the suggestion of Trustees Stephenson and Wyman, Judge Waites has entered Operating Order 18-04, which modifies the confirmation procedure in the cases before him filed on or after October 1, 2018. The changes are not applicable in matters before any other judge.

The new procedures are more similar to the procedures previously used in this District, but do not change the requirement to use the local form Chapter 13 plan adopted by the Court.

The Trustees and Court will conduct bar meetings to review the changes and to receive input/comments from the bar as follows:

Charleston Meeting: Thursday, September 6, 2018 after the completion of the chapter 13 docket (approximately 11:00 AM) at 145 King Street, Room 225, Charleston, SC 29401.

Columbia Meeting: Thursday, September 13, 2018 at 1:30 PM at the J. Bratton Davis U.S. Bankruptcy Courthouse, 1100 Laurel Street, Columbia, SC 29201.

Further logistical announcements for the meetings will be made next Tuesday, September 4, 2018.


Tue, 7/31/2018 - 11:18 am

Judge Waites and his case team wish to thank Tara Nauful for her service as a career law clerk in Charleston over the past two years. Tara's extensive legal experience, excellent judgment and skills have been invaluable, and she will be greatly missed by the Court and the Bar. We all wish her well as she embarks upon a sabbatical, during which time she looks forward to having more time to travel and to spend with her family. Tara's last day in chambers will be August 3rd.

As a result, Judge Waites will accept applications for the position of a term law clerk in the Charleston or Columbia office. Please click here for the vacancy announcement.


Thu, 6/28/2018 - 2:10 pm

Effective July 1, 2018, the Loss Mitigation/Mortgage Modification (“LM/MM”) guidelines for Judge Waites will be revised as previously announced on June 1, 2018. In addition, the LM/MM forms have been updated, and are attached to this announcement. Below are the forms that have been updated or discontinued:

Exhibit P - Notice and Motion for Loss Mitigation Mortgage Modification Pursuant to Judge Waites’ Chambers Guidelines:  A “Track Changes” copy of the Notice and Motion is included in the attachments to highlight the changes to the Notice and Motion.

Exhibit Q - Order Requiring Loss Mitigation/Mortgage Modification: Upon the filing of the Notice and Motion for Loss Mitigation/Mortgage Modification using the Loss Mitigation/Mediation CM/ECF event, this Order will be generated by CM/ECF for the Judge’s consideration.

Exhibit R – Order Appointing Mediator: As the updated guidelines delay the appointment of a LM/MM mediator, this Order will no longer be utilized by the Court.

In addition, Judge Waites has revised the LM/MM Settlement Order on Motion for Relief from Stay (Exhibit N), a copy of which is attached to this announcement. The LM/MM 362 Settlement Order has also been added to the CM/ECF Request for Settlement Order on Motion for Relief from Stay (Judge Waites). By using this CM/ECF event, a proposed 362 settlement order and a proposed order requiring LM/MM will be generated by CM/ECF for the Judge’s consideration.

If you have any questions about the new LM/MM forms, please contact Andrew Powell (Andrew_Powell@scb.uscourts.gov).


Mon, 6/25/2018 - 11:26 am

It is with the greatest of pleasure that I write to advise the South Carolina Bankruptcy Bar that our colleague, George B. Cauthen, has been selected as the 2018 recipient of the Bankruptcy Inn Alliance Distinguished Service Award given by the American Inns of Court. This national award recognizes the individual recipient’s ongoing dedication to the highest standards of the legal profession, the rule of law and the demonstration of personal ethics and integrity. George joins the ranks of only 7 prior recipients, including bankruptcy judges and lawyers of national reputation, who are identified in the attachment.

The award will be presented to George at the 2018 Annual Conference of the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges in San Antonio, Texas, which will be held on October 28-31, 2018 and be followed by a reception in his honor. Please join me in congratulating George on this honor.


Wed, 6/20/2018 - 10:42 am

In addition to the new LM/MM Guidelines, Judge Waites and his law clerks will review changes to the Conduit Procedure at the bar meetings scheduled for Thursday, June 21, 2018 in the Charleston courtroom and Tuesday, June 26, 2018 in the Columbia courtroom. The meetings will be held after Court concludes each day (approximately 10:30 AM).

If you have not already done so, please sign up for the meetings by contacting Andrew Powell at Andrew_Powell@scb.uscourts.gov.


Judge Burris

Tue, 8/21/2018 - 10:00 am

David Kershaw, current term law clerk for Judge Burris in the Spartanburg Division, will soon leave the Court to join Turner Padget in Greenville, S.C. His last day in the office will be Thursday, August 23. David has provided excellent service to the Court over the past two years and we wish him well.

We also welcome Jason Ward as term law clerk in Spartanburg, effective August 20. Jason is a 2012 graduate of USC School of Law, and we look forward to the benefit of his experiences as a practicing bankruptcy attorney. Jason joins career clerk, Lauren Maxwell, who will return from maternity leave (twins!) on September 10.


Judge Duncan

Fri, 8/10/2018 - 3:27 pm

Nicholas Hulse, Judge Duncan's current law clerk, has accepted a position with Riley Pope & Laney, LLC in Columbia.  Nick's last day is today, Friday, August 10.  Judge Duncan would like to thank Nick for exemplary service over the past two years and extend best wishes as he begins his career in private practice.

Judge Duncan is also pleased to welcome Charles Buist to his chambers beginning August 20.  Charles is a 2016 graduate of the University of South Carolina School of Law.  He also holds a master of business administration from the Darla Moore School of Business and a master of environmental law and policy from Vermont Law School.  Prior to joining Judge Duncan's chambers, Charles served as a law clerk for Senior United States District Judge Joseph F. Anderson, Jr.


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