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Chambers' Bulletins

Judge Waites

Wed, 10/10/2018 - 1:49 pm

Due to inclement weather and anticipated travel difficulties, all bankruptcy case matters originally scheduled in Columbia, South Carolina before Judge John E. Waites on October 12, 2018 will be rescheduled.

Matters scheduled for October 12, 2018 at 9:00 AM (Chapter 13 Matters) are rescheduled to Thursday, October 25, 2018 at 9:00 AM in Columbia, SC.

Matters scheduled for October 12, 2018 at 10:30 AM (362 Matters) are rescheduled to Tuesday, October 23, 2018 at 9:00 AM in Columbia, SC.

An omnibus order to this effect will be entered. Any questions regarding the calendar should be addressed to Agnes Babb (803-765-5024, Agnes_Babb@scb.uscourts.gov).


Thu, 10/04/2018 - 11:14 am
  1. Interplay of Loss Mitigation/Mortgage Modification and Conduit

When proposed in the debtor’s initial chapter 13 plan, Loss Mitigation/Mortgage Modification (“LM/MM”) is an exception to the requirement to use conduit procedure in Judge Waites’ cases under Operating Order 18-03. Chambers Guidelines provides form non-standard language for proposing LM/MM through the chapter 13 plan.

Trustees Wyman and Stephenson have reviewed this non-standard plan language and concluded that the language is adequate to permit direct payments to the creditor after the completion of LM/MM (regardless of whether the LM/MM is granted or denied) without the need for an amended plan. This language does not preclude a debtor from subsequently amending the chapter 13 plan after the completion of LM/MM; however, if the amended plan proposes arrearage payments made through the trustees, the trustees expect a contemporaneously filed budget to demonstrate that the debtor is able to make the higher payments to the trustee and direct payments to the creditor (see below).

  1. § 362 Settlement Orders involving Conduit

Recently, chambers has received several proposed § 362 settlement orders seeking to convert a previously direct pay or LM/MM case to a conduit case.  Any such proposed settlement orders must include the chapter 13 trustee’s consent or will be considered at an actual hearing before the Court.

  • Pre-Confirmation: Trustees Wyman and Stephenson have indicated that they will consider consenting to pre-confirmation settlement order that propose conduit payments instead of previously proposed direct pay or LM/MM cases.
     
  • Post-Confirmation (Entirely Conduit): The trustees have indicated that they will not consent to any post-confirmation settlement orders that propose to convert a previously direct pay or LM/MM plan entirely to the conduit procedure (i.e. plan payments to the trustee include both arrearage and future ongoing mortgage payaments).
     
  • Post-Confirmation (Arrearage Only): The trustees will consider consenting to post-confirmation settlement orders that provide for arrearage only (both pre and post-petition) to be paid in payments to the trustee while the debtor maintains ongoing payments directly to the creditor if: (1) the total arrearage is clearly established either through the settlement order or by the previous filing of an amended proof of claim and (2) an updated budget is submitted demonstrating the debtor is able to make the higher payments to the trustee and creditor.

Judge Waites will not consider any proposed § 362 Settlement Order that provides for conversion to a conduit case which includes drop dead language to allow the creditor relief from the stay or case dismissal upon the debtor’s failure to make payments under the plan to the Trustee. Ordinarily, the enforcement of trustee’s payments is made by the Trustee only, but the secured creditor may file a new motion for relief, motion to dismiss or seek other remedies upon a plan default.

  1. Removal of LM/MM Status Hearing

To assist the Court in reviewing LM/MM Correspondence and Certifications filed to remove LM/MM status hearings, Chambers is providing examples of satisfactory correspondence/certifications to assist the bar in complying with the required procedures under the LM/MM guidelines. An example of a satisfactory correspondence to remove the Debtor’s LM/MM status hearing is available here. An example of a satisfactory certification to remove the Mortgage Creditor’s LM/MM status hearing is available here.  The use of unclear language will prohibit the removal of the hearing and require the attendance by parties and counsel.


Fri, 9/28/2018 - 12:05 pm

As previously announced on August 30, 2018, Judge Waites has entered Operating Order 18-04, which modifies the confirmation procedures in the cases before him, effective October 1, 2018. A copy of Operating Order 18-04, which includes the applicable forms, is available here. All cases filed or converted to chapter 13 on or after Monday, October 1, 2018 shall follow the procedures and utilize the forms listed in the Operating Order. In addition, debtors should also file post-confirmation plan modification requests filed on or after that date in any pending cases using those same procedures and forms.

The applicable local rules have been changed effective October 1, 2018. The forms necessary for Judge Waites’ cases are also on the Court’s webpage in the Local Forms section, labeled as “Hearing Notice (Chapter 13 Confirmation)” and “Modify Chapter 13 Plan After Confirmation (Notice and Confirmation).” The events in CM/ECF have also been modified to reflect the new procedures and objection deadlines. For post-confirmation plan modification requests, parties shall file both the modified plan and the motion to modify plan after confirmation and opportunity for hearing using the CM/ECF event “Modify Confirmed Chapter 12/13 Plan.”

Attached is a copy of the powerpoint presentation distributed at the recent bar meetings to assist with these changes in the confirmation procedures. Any questions regarding these changes may be addressed to Andrew Powell (Andrew_Powell@scb.uscourts.gov).

Changes are for Judge Waites' Cases Only.

 


Wed, 9/12/2018 - 1:40 pm

Tomorrow’s bar meeting in Columbia will be held after the hearings scheduled before Judge Waites at 1:30 PM at the J. Bratton Davis U.S. Bankruptcy Courthouse (1100 Laurel Street, Columbia, SC 29201). Counsel may request to attend the bar meeting by telephone by emailing Agnes Babb (agnes_babb@scb.uscourts.gov) and Regina Schmidt (regina_schmidt@scb.uscourts.gov) before the end of business today.


Fri, 9/07/2018 - 2:25 pm
In order to incorporate the changes to procedures previously announced on the Court’s Chambers Bulletin, Judge Waites recently entered Operating Orders 18-05 and 18-06, which adopts revised chambers and LM/MM guidelines for the cases to which he is assigned. Both operating orders are available here.
 
In addition, the updated guidelines include two additional changes to note:
  1. Statements of Dispute: The guidelines update the procedures on the filing of Joint Statements of Dispute and Separate Statements of Dispute, including an update to the Joint Statement form and the addition of a new form Statement of Dispute. In addition, for objections to chapter 13 plans, parties are to submit a joint statement of dispute upon the earlier of 30 days after the filing of the objection or 10 A.M. two business days before the scheduled confirmation hearing.
     
  2. Separate Guidelines on LM/MM: While incorporated into the Chambers Guidelines, the procedures on LM/MM are now separately stated for ease of reference pursuant to Operating Order 18-06.

 


Tue, 9/04/2018 - 11:15 am

Judge Waites invites members of the bar and their staff to a meeting to review Operating Order 18-04, which will be effective October 1, 2018, and to discuss other matters involving the chapter 13 practice. The Charleston Meeting will be held in the Charleston courtroom on Thursday, September 6, 2018 after Court concludes (approximately 11:00 A.M.). The Columbia Meeting will be held in the Columbia courtroom on Thursday, September 13, 2018 at 1:30 P.M. Chambers expects each of these meeting to be no longer than one hour.

Telephone attendance will be available for both meetings. In addition, video attendance will be available for the Charleston meeting. To attend the meeting by telephone or video, please make a written request to Regina Schmidt (Regina_Schmidt@scb.uscourts.gov) and Agnes Babb (Agnes_Babb@scb.uscourts.gov) no later than 10 A.M. one day before the scheduled meeting.


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).


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