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Chambers' Bulletins

On Behalf of the Court

Thu, 11/16/2017 - 4:14 pm

The Judges met and considered comments received to the proposed local rules.  Upon agreement of the Judges, the following rule changes will be effective December 1, 2017.  The changes are summarized as follows:

1.     All exhibits have been removed from the Local Rules and will instead be placed on the Court’s Locally Maintained Court Forms page.  Each form associated with a Local Rule will be accessible through a hyperlink in the relevant Local Rule.  Local Rule 1001-1 was amended to replace references to exhibits to references to local forms.

2.     Local Rule 2016-1(b)(1) was amended to remove the requirement that the amount of attorney’s fees agreed upon between the attorney and the debtor be stated in the chapter 13 plan.

3.     Local Rule 2082-1 was amended to reference family fishermen, in addition to family farming operations.  The chapter 12 plan was substantially revised.  Motions to value or avoid liens can now be contained within the chapter 12 plan.

4.     Local Rule 2090-1 was amended to require a party moving for pro hac vice admission to file a new local form with their motion.  The local form requires that the applicant agree to abide by local rules and Chambers’ Guidelines as well as set forth their proficiency in bankruptcy law and procedure.

5.     Local Rule 3015-1 was revised to require the local form plan to be used as the form for any plan filed in a chapter 13 case.

6.     Local Rule 3015-2 was substantially changed.  Modifications before confirmation require that the debtor file and serve the form plan, along with, if necessary, a local form Notice of Confirmation Hearing.  Post-confirmation modifications to a chapter 13 plan now require a motion to modify, as set forth in subsection (b).  Finally, plan payments may now be increased by the filing of a stipulation between the debtor and the trustee.

7.     Local Rule 3015-3 was amended to clarify the Court’s revised procedures regarding scheduling of confirmation hearings and confirmation of plans.

8.     Local Rule 3015-6 was amended to delete subsection (d).  If an objection to a proposed interest rate is filed, the objection will be considered at the confirmation hearing.  No response by the debtor is necessary.

9.     Local Rule 4003-2 was amended to remove reference to chapter 12, since motions to avoid liens can now be included in a chapter 12 plan.  The procedure for obtaining an order that a lien has been satisfied in a chapter 13 case was removed from the Local Rule, as it is now governed by Fed. R. Bankr. P. 5009(d).

10.  Local Rule 5075-1 was amended to delegate additional matters for notice: (1) ballots for a chapter 11 plan to the proponent; (2) notice of confirmation hearing in chapter 12 or 13 to the debtor; and (3) order declaring that a secured claim has been satisfied or lien avoided in a chapter 12 or 13 case to the debtor.

11.  Local Rule 9013-4 was amended to add motions to modify confirmed chapter 13 plans and motions pursuant to Fed. R. Bankr. P. 5009(d) to the passive list and motions/applications nunc pro tunc to the non-passive list.

12.  Local Rule 9018-1 was amended to allow paper copies of sealed documents to be destroyed 2 years after the closing of the case, if the documents have been electronically filed.

13.  Minor amendments were made to other rules and forms.  Several forms were revised to conform to Fed. R. Bankr. P. 9009 and the respective Official Form.

The Judges thank those practitioners and parties who provided comments, as well as the following members of the Local Rules committee:

  • Kathleen M. Muthig
  • John Timothy Stack
  • Katherine L. Rea
  • Michael Kevin McCarrell
  • Russell A. DeMott
  • Michael H. Weaver
  • Christine E. Brimm

Mon, 11/06/2017 - 11:18 am

Please see the attached order regarding the Court's schedule for the upcoming holiday season and for computing time during that period.


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 scbml_lr_comment@scb.uscourts.gov 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.


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  
    1917-2004  

 

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.


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