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Chambers' Bulletins

Judge Waites

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.


Fri, 4/07/2017 - 11:20 am

Judge Waites has amended his Chambers Guidelines effective April 10, 2017. Click here for a copy of the amended Chamber Guidelines. The primary changes are to incorporate several of the recent procedure changes announced by Judge Waites on the News and Announcement section of the Court’s website, including updated Chapter 13 attorney’s fees guidelines, revised LM/MM guidelines, additional standard § 362 Settlement Orders, and procedures for valuation mediations. In addition, the amended guidelines change certain procedures for matters assigned to Judge Waites, including revising the deadline for filing joint statements of dispute in chapter 13 cases to two business days prior to the hearing.

A bar meeting in the Columbia and Charleston divisions will be held within the next several weeks to review and highlight the most important changes.

Judge Waites invites comments or suggestions to be directed to Andrew Powell by email to Andrew_Powell@scb.uscourts.gov on or before April 17, 2017.


Thu, 3/16/2017 - 10:44 am

The following changes apply to cases assigned to Judge Waites and Judge Duncan and are effective starting March 30, 2017, unless otherwise advised.

Attorney’s Fees for Chapter 13 Cases

After consultation with members of the Chapter 13 bar, Judge Waites and Judge Duncan adopt the following changes regarding attorney’s fees in Chapter 13 cases:

1.      Increase the allowable expedited fee (no-look fee) to $3,700 for a consumer case and $4,200 for a self-employed/small business case and provide an additional $500 no-look fee for representing a debtor in a contested confirmation hearing.

2.      Increase the amount of supplemental fees debtor’s counsel may claim under SC LBR 2016-1(b)(2)(A) to $2,000, subject to no more than $1,200 in fees being requested in a one year period.

3.      Authorize the Chapter 13 Trustee to disburse to counsel $1,500 of the expedited fee as part of the initial disbursement.

In addition, for Judge Waites’ cases, the guidelines provide the opportunity for a higher no-look fee in extraordinary cases where from the beginning of the case the attorney’s fees are expected to be above the standard no-look fee amount due to the complexity of the case and upon certification of counsel

A copy of the guidelines for Judge Waites are available here. Judge Duncan’s guidelines will be changed if necessary upon a future posting.


Thu, 3/09/2017 - 2:49 pm

The following changes apply to cases assigned to Judge Waites and are effective starting March 30, 2017, unless otherwise advised.

Wage Orders

Wage orders have been shown to be beneficial for debtors and have contributed to successful chapter 13 reorganizations. Therefore, pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 1325(c), unless otherwise exempted, debtors shall submit to a wage order in all new chapter 13 cases that are assigned to Judge Waites. For cases assigned to Trustee Wyman, debtors may alternatively use a Trustee-approved electronic account deduction program in lieu of submitting to a wage order. 

The complete guidelines requiring the payment of plan payments and wage orders are available here, which include a list of the available exemptions and a copy of the standard consent form indicating the payment method for post-confirmation trustee payments.

Ex parte Relief Due to Default on Settlement Order

The guidelines for submitting affidavits of default pursuant to a § 362 settlement order have been changed. Future affidavits shall include an attachment which demonstrates the direct payments made after the entry of the settlement order and their application, rather than the previous requirement, which required that the attachment demonstrate “all direct post petition payments and their application.” The revised version of the guideline is available here.

Consent Allowing Payment of Funds to Creditor/Debtor Attorney

Non-Conduit Cases

In connection with conversion or dismissal of a non-conduit chapter 13 case, a debtor may consent to the payment of outstanding attorney’s fees and costs that are owed to debtor’s counsel as part of the Chapter 13 Trustee’s final distribution. The following forms may be used to request such payment: Consent Form and Proposed Order.

To file these consents on the docket, a new CM/ECF event has been created entitled “Consent Allowing Payment of Funds to Creditor/Debtor Attorney- Non Conduit.” When using this event, a proposed Order should not be filed until such time as there is a pending motion for dismissal/conversion.

Conduit Cases

Judge Waites has revised the forms for consenting to the payment to the Mortgage Creditor or Debtor’s Counsel upon the conversion or dismissal of a conduit chapter 13 case. These updated forms are attached here: Consent Form and Proposed Order. Counsel should continue to utilize the CM/ECF entitled “Consent Allowing Payment of Funds to Creditor/Debtor Attorney- Conduit.” When using this event, a proposed order should not be filed until such time as there is a pending motion for dismissal/conversion.


On Behalf of the Court

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.


Tue, 2/28/2017 - 3:48 pm

The judges, as announced in conjunction with the December 1, 2016 local rule amendments, have continued to consider amendments to SC LBR 3015-2. After notice and an opportunity for comment, amendments to the rule and to the forms associated with it have been adopted, effective March 1, 2017. This local rule establishes procedures and forms for modifications to chapter 13 plans, both prior to and after confirmation. The local rule has been amended to conform to the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure and requires notice of modifications, including in connection with base plan amendments (see Exhibits C-1 and C-2). The rule also sets the requirement as to parties to be served. Finally the local rule memorializes the procedure for payment changes initiated by the chapter 13 trustee in conduit cases as set forth in the respective operating orders of the three judges.  A copy of Operating Order 17-1, adopting the amendments and providing forms, is available here.


Thu, 2/23/2017 - 10:46 am

Pursuant to Local Rule 3015-6, the Court, in consultation with the Chapter 13 Interest Rate Committee, has determined that the presumptively reasonable interest rate in Chapter 13 plans remains 5.25%.


Fri, 2/03/2017 - 3:08 pm

The Standing Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure met on January 3, 2017 and, among other things, recommended adoption of an amendment to Federal Rule of Bankruptcy Procedure 3015 requiring the use of an official chapter 13 plan form unless a district adopts a local plan that meets the requirements of proposed Rule 3015.1. Adoption of a number of amendments to the federal rules and of the form plan is on the consent calendar for the March meeting of the Judicial Council of the United States. Matters on the consent calendar generally have no previously expressed opposition. The Standing Committee has asked that, upon Council approval, the rules package and forms go to the Supreme Court and Congress in May with a view that they will be effective December 1, 2017. The chapter 13 rules and forms have been under consideration for a period of five years.

The 420 page Standing Committee working document may be accessed here 

The Judges of the Court seek the advice of the bar and the public in evaluating whether this district should default to the national plan or create a local form plan. Proposed Rule 3015.1 contains specific requirements for any local form plan. Please provide your recommendation whether the district should default to the national plan or adopt a local plan. The national plan makes provision for the addition of limited “non-standard” provisions. If you recommend the national plan, also suggest language for any “non-standard” provisions you think may be necessary considering the case law in our federal judicial circuit and district. If you recommend adopting a local form plan please state the reasons for your recommendation and suggest proposed plan language that you believe should be included in the district plan, including the basis for any such proposed plan provisions. You need not propose a complete plan.

For your convenience the national form plan, as most recently amended, is available here.

On or before March 10, 2017 recommendations should be forwarded electronically to Jeff_Davis@scb.uscourts.gov or mailed to:

            United States Bankruptcy Court
            1100 Laurel Street
            Columbia, SC 29201
            Attn: Jeff Davis – chapter 13 plan

David R. Duncan
Chief U.S. Bankruptcy Judge
District of South Carolina


Judge Duncan

Thu, 3/16/2017 - 10:44 am

The following changes apply to cases assigned to Judge Waites and Judge Duncan and are effective starting March 30, 2017, unless otherwise advised.

Attorney’s Fees for Chapter 13 Cases

After consultation with members of the Chapter 13 bar, Judge Waites and Judge Duncan adopt the following changes regarding attorney’s fees in Chapter 13 cases:

1.      Increase the allowable expedited fee (no-look fee) to $3,700 for a consumer case and $4,200 for a self-employed/small business case and provide an additional $500 no-look fee for representing a debtor in a contested confirmation hearing.

2.      Increase the amount of supplemental fees debtor’s counsel may claim under SC LBR 2016-1(b)(2)(A) to $2,000, subject to no more than $1,200 in fees being requested in a one year period.

3.      Authorize the Chapter 13 Trustee to disburse to counsel $1,500 of the expedited fee as part of the initial disbursement.

In addition, for Judge Waites’ cases, the guidelines provide the opportunity for a higher no-look fee in extraordinary cases where from the beginning of the case the attorney’s fees are expected to be above the standard no-look fee amount due to the complexity of the case and upon certification of counsel

A copy of the guidelines for Judge Waites are available here. Judge Duncan’s guidelines will be changed if necessary upon a future posting.


Wed, 3/01/2017 - 5:08 pm

Judge Duncan has made minor revisions to the Chapter 13 Matters section and Exhibit F of his Chambers Guidelines to bring the guidelines in conformance with the amendments to SC LBR 3015-2.  Minor revisions have also been made to Exhibits A and B to the Chambers Guidelines to reflect a recent name change of the CM/ECF event for "Adversary Proceeding Report."


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