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Chambers' Bulletins

Judge Waites

Mon, 10/30/2017 - 3:06 pm

Remarks from Judge Waites: 

I salute the Court’s recognition of the service of Judge Thurmond Bishop from 1987 to 2006. I was very fortunate to serve as his colleague for my first 12 years on the bench and learned a lot from him. I know the lawyers that appeared before him agree with me that his keen intelligence, dry wit and sense of humor, his focus on fundamental fairness and old fashioned common sense made him an outstanding judge. During his tenure, he handled some of the largest chapter 11 cases filed in this District, and was rated as one of the best bankruptcy judges in the country by one publication. At one point after the retirement of Judge Davis, Judge Bishop and I carried the largest caseload per judge in the country, but with frequent communication and the help from staff and the Clerk’s office, we never felt overwhelmed. 

I benefited from and miss our frequent lunches where we reviewed everything from our cases, to politics, news, sports and the latest family news. I was truly blessed to have his support and friendship over the years, as well as the closeness of our families, who grew up and were often together during our years on the bench. 

I know Judge Bishop always enjoys a call or visit if you are near Abbeville, so I encourage you to let him know he is missed.

Fri, 10/27/2017 - 10:53 am
  In Memoriam:    J. Bratton Davis  
    United States Bankruptcy Judge  


Remarks from Judge Waites:

In honor of what would be his 100th birthday, I wanted to follow the Court’s announcement and share a few personal remarks about my friend and colleague, J. Bratton Davis, this District’s first bankruptcy judge.

For those of us who worked with him or practiced before him or otherwise knew Judge Davis, we remember him as a great jurist but an even better person—always gracious, loyal, kind and caring.  If you did not have a chance to meet him, know that he laid the foundation for all that is good about our Court and practice, including the highest standards for public service, fairness, collegiality and civility. I encourage you to ask almost any of the long-tenured practitioners, judges or trustees in this District to share their memories of him so you may learn what a lasting legacy he has left.

His tenure and accomplishments are inspiring and were celebrated on the occasion of his retirement in a special session of the Court honoring him, the minutes of which were published nationally in volume 284 of the Bankruptcy Reporter. I invite you to review a copy of the minutes of this special session, which are available here.

Fri, 9/22/2017 - 2:10 pm

In February of this year, following the lead of other districts with a Loss Mitigation/Mortgage Modification (“LM/MM”) program, Judge Waites implemented a mediation requirement in all LM/MM cases that utilize the Portal.  

A review of the reported Portal cases for the first six months of this new procedure indicates a 75% success rate, measured by the achievement of a trial payment plan, a permanent loan modification or another loss mitigation arrangement that is favorable to the debtor.  

Judge Waites would like to thank the mediators who have served in these cases, Janet Haigler, Russ DeMott and John Butler, as well as commend the attorneys representing debtors and those representing consumer creditors for their utilization of the program.

Mon, 7/31/2017 - 3:11 pm

As a matter of personal privilege… 

This past weekend, our state hosted the ABI Southeastern Workshop in Hilton Head. The program at this regional seminar is always very good, covers cutting edge topics and attracts many of the Southeast’s best bankruptcy lawyers and reorganization professionals. I am privileged to have served as the Judicial Chair for the last couple of years as I will next year. 

The seminar is usually held at the Ritz Carlton on Amelia’s Island, Florida, an outstanding venue. Whenever the seminar ventures elsewhere, the ABI expects a significant drop in attendance. So the SC members of the Advisory Board and I felt challenged. Our Board members, Christie Brimm, Jane Downey, Michael Weaver, Rory Whelehan, Dave Wheeler and Jody Bedenbaugh, did an amazing job of helping to plan the seminar and in reaching out to the SC Bar to participate. Add to that George Cauthen, who encouraged a record attendance by Nelson Mullins lawyers from across the country, and Bill McCarthy, who personally made calls to lawyers around the state to encourage attendance. I also understand that several firms joined in sponsoring the seminar (although I am shielded from that information). 

While the numbers are not final, I think we had 60 SC attendees- well beyond the usual 10 or so attendees- and the total attendance exceeded expectations. What’s more, our Bar was well represented in the program with presentations by Johnny Butler, Christie Brimm, Cynthia Lowery and Michael Beal- all of whom did an outstanding job! 

Thanks to all who attended, our state and Bar shined! I was very proud and appreciative. While the program was a great success, I was primarily reminded of the closeness and camaraderie of our Bar and how lucky I am to work with you each day. 

My sincere thanks to all of you who attended or otherwise supported the hosting of this seminar.

Mon, 4/17/2017 - 2:09 pm

The Court has made two new CM/ECF events available for use in cases assigned to Judge Waites as well as updated one event currently in effect, which are available starting today, Monday April 17, 2017. These events eliminate the need for counsel to file a proposed orders in these matters.

  • “Request for Settlement Order on Motion for Relief from Stay (Judge Waites)” – This CM/ECF event replaces the “Request for Settlement Order on Motion for Relief from Stay” for Judge Waites cases and incorporates most of the standard § 362 settlement orders included in the Chamber Guidelines. This event is a text event, similar to the “Certification of No Response and Request for 362 Default Order” in that it is only necessary for counsel to complete the inputs in CM/ECF, and a proposed order will be created based on that information. This event is not available for the 362 settlement order that resolves a motion through LM/MM (Exhibit N in Chamber Guidelines).
  • “Affidavit of Default on 362 Settlement Order and Request for Order Granting Relief” – This CM/ECF event may be used in lieu of filing an affidavit of default and proposed order based on an ex parte relief provision of a § 362 settlement order. Upon the completion of this event and the uploading of affidavit of default on a § 362 settlement order and corresponding payment history (as limited under the recent changes to Chamber Guidelines), a proposed order granting relief will be created for the Judge’s consideration.
  • “Loss Mitigation/Mediation” event under the “Motions/Applications” category in CM/ECF – Parties are no longer required to file a proposed order requiring LM/MM and a proposed order appointing LM/MM mediator when filing under this event. Upon the completion of the event and the uploading of a notice and motion for LM/MM, the proposed orders will be drafted based on the information entered by counsel.

The proposed orders generated by these events are in conformance with the standard orders listed in the “Judge Waites Local Forms” section of the Court’s webpage, which is available here.

On Behalf of the Court

Mon, 10/30/2017 - 8:28 am

Wm. Thurmond Bishop was sworn in as United States Bankruptcy Judge for the District of South Carolina on October 30, 1987, thirty years ago today. He served as Chief Judge from 2000 - 2006. Upon his 2006 retirement he resumed the private practice of law in his hometown.

Fri, 10/27/2017 - 8:58 am

J. Bratton Davis was born 100 years ago today, on October 27, 1917, at Hartsville SC. He was a graduate of the University of South Carolina and a 1940 graduate of the University of South Carolina School of Law. He continued graduate study at Harvard Law School in 1941. He was commissioned as a line officer in the United States Navy serving during World War II principally in the South Pacific Theater of Operations.

Judge Davis returned from military service to practice law with the firm of Graydon, Davis and Suber. In 1969 he was appointed the first full-time bankruptcy referee for the District of South Carolina. Prior to that time the District Court had appointed a number of part-time referees, usually to a division or particular county. In 1973, with the adoption of Bankruptcy Rules, the United States Supreme Court changed the judicial office from referee to bankruptcy judge. Judge Davis continued to serve until his retirement in 2000, including as Chief Judge from 1986 to 2000. Our courthouse is named in his honor.

Judge Davis’obituary, following his October 29, 2004 death, reflected some of his accomplishments and contributions:

In 1948, the Junior Chamber of Commerce named Judge Davis Columbia's Young Man of the Year. He has served as: U.S. Bankruptcy Judge for the District of South Carolina (1969–2000) ; Chief Judge of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of S.C. (1986–2000) ; chairman, State of South Carolina Development Board; Columbia Board of Directors of the South Carolina National Bank; Board of Directors of Security Federal Savings and Loan Association; president of the Columbia Museum of Art; vestryman, Trinity Cathedral; member of the Judicial Conference of the Circuit Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit; member of the Security and Facilities Committee of the Judicial Conference of the United States; member of the Board of Directors of the University of South Carolina Educational Foundation; member of the Board of Directors of the University of South Carolina Law School Partnership Board; member of the Board of Directors of the Virginia and Donald S. Russell Symposium Committee; member of the Board of Governors of the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges; president of the Columbia Kiwanis Club; member of the Board of Directors of the Columbia Chapter of the American Red Cross; member of the Board of Directors of the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis; chairman of the Donald Russell Gubernatorial Inauguration Committee; member of the Board of Directors of the Byrnes Foundation; and member of the Board of Directors of the James F. Byrnes Centennial Committee. In 2000, Judge Davis was awarded the Order of the Palmetto, the highest honor conferred by the State of South Carolina.

Fri, 8/25/2017 - 1:22 pm

The December 1, 2017 amendments to the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure adopt a national chapter 13 plan form (Official Form 113) unless a district adopts a local form in compliance with Rule 3015.1. The United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of South Carolina is considering a local form, available here. Please send any comments concerning the proposed local form to on or before September 15, 2017. The Court will consider any comments and either adopt a plan for the district or default to Form 113 effective December 1.  

At present the court is revising its chapter 13 procedures, forms and local rules. Information concerning the procedures and an opportunity to comment on the proposed local rules will be forthcoming. The court, chapter 13 trustees, and South Carolina Bankruptcy Law Association are all planning training in the coming months.

Wed, 5/17/2017 - 3:38 pm

New Exhibit A to SC LBR 3015-5, the Certification of Plan Completion and Request for Discharge, must be used in Chapter 13 cases. A copy can be found here.

Wed, 4/12/2017 - 4:47 pm

Pursuant to SC LBR 9029-1, which allows the Court to make technical corrections to any local rule at any time, SC LBR 3015-5, as well as Exhibits A and E to SC LBR 3015-5, have been amended.  The Rule has been amended to extend the time for a debtor to file his Certification of Plan Completion and Request for Discharge and Notice of Certification of Plan Completion and Request for Discharge from fourteen to twenty-eight days from the date of the trustee’s Notice of Plan Completion and Notification of Need to File Request for Discharge.  Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Exhibit A to SC LBR 3015-5, the Certification of Plan Completion and Request for Discharge, have been amended to clarify which payments the debtor is certifying he has completed.  Finally, Exhibit E to SC LBR 3015-5, the Trustee’s Notice to Debtor of Plan Completion and Notification of Need to File Request for Discharge, has been revised to be consistent with the language of the Rule and Exhibit A.  A copy of Operating Order 17-03, adopting the amendments, is available here.


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