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Chambers' Bulletins

Judge Waites

Thu, 6/27/2019 - 9:11 am

Upon the recent retirement of Judge Waites’ Courtroom Deputy, in order to assist the transition of duties to other staff, effective July 1, 2019, Judge Waites will strictly follow the deadline requirements for timely submissions of continuance requests, settlements, and withdrawals (allowing for matters to be removed from the docket in advance of the hearings in uncontested matters) and joint statements of dispute and proposed exhibits in contested matters.

Failure to adhere to the requirements will require counsel to appear at all hearings and may require the postponement of a contested hearing or denial of the relief requested in the Judge’s discretion. Untimely requests to appear at hearings telephonically may also be denied.

For reference, the relevant sections of Chambers Guidelines are attached.

 


Tue, 4/23/2019 - 9:51 am

On March 14, 2019, the Bankruptcy Court announced modifications to the local form chapter 13 plan that will be effective for all cases filed on or after May 1, 2019.

Judge Waites invites members of the South Carolina Bankruptcy Bar that practice before him to a meeting to discuss how these District-wide changes will specifically affect the chapter 13 cases assigned to him. This meeting will address the cases assigned to both Trustee Wyman and Trustee Stephenson.

The meeting will be held at 11:30 AM after the close of the docket in Charleston scheduled for Thursday, April 25, 2019. Attorneys and staff from either the Charleston or Columbia divisions may attend in person or by telephone. Please RSVP for the meeting to Agnes Babb at Agnes_Babb@scb.uscourts.gov no later than today at 3:00 PM. In the RSVP, please indicate whether you anticipate attending in person or by telephone.


Fri, 4/19/2019 - 8:48 am

Judge Waites’ term law clerk, Claire Voegele, has accepted the opportunity to serve as the law clerk for a United States District Court Judge in Columbia beginning at the end of this month. The Judge and members of his chambers and case team would like to thank Claire for her service and wish her well. Claire’s last day in chambers will be April 26, 2019.

With Claire’s departure, Judge Waites is happy to welcome back Sarah Kistler to his chambers as a law clerk on a part-time basis. She has previously served with distinction as Judge Waites’ career law clerk for many years prior to her family’s move to Georgia in 2016. Sarah will be teleworking from Georgia.


Thu, 4/18/2019 - 2:34 pm

On March 14, 2019, the Bankruptcy Court announced modifications to the local form chapter 13 plan that will be effective for all cases filed on or after May 1, 2019.

Judge Waites invites members of the South Carolina Bankruptcy Bar that practice before him to a meeting to discuss how these District-wide changes will specifically affect the chapter 13 cases assigned to him.

The meeting will be held at 11:30 AM after the close of the docket in Charleston scheduled for Thursday, April 25, 2019. Attorneys and staff from either the Charleston or Columbia divisions may attend in person or by telephone. Please RSVP for the meeting to Agnes Babb at Agnes_Babb@scb.uscourts.gov no later than 12:00 PM on Tuesday, April 23, 2019. In the RSVP, please indicate whether you anticipate attending in person or by telephone.

Below is a short summary of the recent and upcoming changes to the chapter 13 practice that will be discussed in more detail at the meeting. A more detailed summary of these changes is available here.

Changes to the Chapter 13 Plan in cases filed on or after May 1, 2019:

Part 1: Changes to the notice to creditors of objection deadline.

Part 3:  Changes to #3.2 and #3.3 regarding the satisfaction of liens.

Part 4: Changes to #4.4 elimination of extraneous language and clarification.

Other recent and upcoming changes:  

Presumptive interest rate in Chapter 13 Cases filed on or after May 1, 2019 increases to 6.25%.

Adjustments to the dollar amounts listed in the Bankruptcy Code became effective on April 1, 2019.  Notably, Chapter 13 debt limits under §109(e) were changed to $419,275 unsecured and $1,257,850 secured for cases filed on or after that date.    Other changes to adjusted dollar amounts can be found here.


Tue, 11/13/2018 - 3:13 pm

For post-confirmation modified plans that incorporate the pre-December 2017 local form plan, it is not necessary to include the non-standard language listed in the Operating Order 18-04, and parties should remove paragraph I.B. of the pre-December 2017 local form plan (referencing a 28-day objection notice) from the modified plan.

Operating Order 18-04 will be amended to include this clarification.

Parties with questions regarding the proper forms or procedures should contact Trustees Stephenson and Wyman.


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.

 


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