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Chambers' Bulletins

Judge Waites

Wed, 3/18/2020 - 12:43 pm

In an effort to preserve parties’ rights, for the present time, Judge Waites’ court hearings will remain scheduled as previously noticed. However, the goal will be to limit in-person attendance at hearings through the use of telephone and video conference appearances.

  • In Chapter 13 cases, Trustees Stephenson and Wyman currently expect to appear in person or by telephone to make announcements and recommendations at their scheduled hearings and may address other matters, so please continue to timely work with their offices to resolve any scheduled hearings on these dockets.
  • In chapter 7 or 11 cases, counsel should contact chambers directly for any hearing related matters or changes.
  • Pro se parties in all chapters should contact the Courtroom Deputy, Nicole Stalvey (Nicole_Stalvey@scb.uscourts.gov, 803-765-5436), regarding upcoming hearings.

Currently, all chamber guideline requirements remain in force, including the timely filing of requests for continuances, withdrawals, and reports of settlement and the need for filing joint statements of disputes.

  • Upon timely request, Judge Waites intends to liberally grant continuances (through the timely filing of a Request for Continuance event in CM/ECF) or appearances by telephone or video conference (requested by timely email correspondence sent to Chambers) in uncontested matters or contested matters with argument only.
  • For lengthy hearings or contested matters in which a party intends to offer testimony or unstipulated exhibits, counsel should consult with each other and contact chambers well in advance of the scheduled hearing to request a continuance or to determine any changes in the scheduling or the manner of hearing.   

Please also be aware that individuals who display virus symptoms or who report contact with others displaying symptoms or those who have travelled to high volume virus areas will not be allowed entry to the courthouse or courtroom by court security officers pursuant to the standing order of the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina. Therefore, for in person hearings at which, parties and witnesses would ordinarily be expected to attend in person, counsel should contact their clients and witnesses in advance to inquire whether each person meets the entry requirements of the courthouse and certify that neither counsel nor any other necessary attendee has a condition prohibiting entry to the courthouse to chambers by email correspondence no later than 10:00 AM one business day before the hearing.

Any questions by counsel should be addressed to Andrew Powell (Andrew_Powell@scb.uscourts.gov) and Sarah Kistler (Sarah_Kistler@scb.uscourts.gov).


Tue, 3/03/2020 - 11:08 am

 ATTORNEY’S FEES FOR DEBTOR’S COUNSEL IN CHAPTER 13 CASES

To reflect the recent changes regarding the removal of a cap on supplemental fees and the increase in the expedite fee amount in cases assigned to Judge Waites effective March 1, 2020, the following is provided as guidance to the bar:

Expedited Fee Amount under SC LBR 2016-1(b)(1) for cases filed on or after March 1, 2020:

  • Consumer Chapter 13 Case: $4,000
  • Business Chapter 13 Case: $4,500

The Expedited Fee is conditionally approved and earned upon confirmation. The expedited fee includes post-confirmation communications, including correspondence with Debtors, Trustee, and the Court regarding case administration, and the creation and filing of a Certification of Plan Completion and Request for Discharge and the Financial Management Certificate or other documents contemplated and necessary for case closing and discharge.

Supplemental Fees- There is no longer a threshold or cap for supplemental fees in any pending case for additional work necessary as a result of unanticipated issues arising pre or post confirmation, matters involving the default under or variance from the terms of a confirmed plan, an adversary proceeding, an appeal, or for other compelling factors not present in a typical chapter 13 case. As a result, the procedures found in SC LBR 2016-1(b)(2)(B) are no longer necessary. Attorneys should continue to follow the procedures for application set for in SC LBR 2016-1(b)(2)(A) regarding an amended Statement and Application.

MEMO ON DISCHARGE AND MISSED MAINTENANCE PAYMENTS

Chambers has produced a memorandum to assist counsel in considering a debtor’s options in addressing a failure to make maintenance payments to a residential creditor under a cure and maintain plan under  § 1322(b)(2) as it pertains to the debtor’s discharge, which is attached to this announcement. This memo only applies to chapter 13 cases assigned to Judge Waites.


Judge Duncan

Mon, 3/02/2020 - 10:12 am

Judge Duncan has revised his Chambers Guidelines.  In addition to making other minor, non-substantive changes, he has revised the chapter 13 attorney fees section to reflect the increase in the expedited fee amount and the elimination of the limitation for supplemental fees for general chapter 13 matters.  The Chambers Guidelines are available here.


Judge Burris

Thu, 2/27/2020 - 1:44 pm

Pursuant to the bulletin of February 26, 2020, Judge Burris has posted updated Chambers Guidelines that include new Chapter 13 attorney’s fees information as follows:

Chapter 13 Matters

Fees

Expedited fee amount for purposes of SC LBR 2016-1(b)(1) for all cases assigned to Judge Burris:  Consumer $4,000; Business $4,500

Supplemental Fees. The chambers guideline threshold for Judge Burris is eliminated effective March 1, 2020. As a result, the procedures found in SC LBR 2016-1(b)(2)(B) are no longer necessary and attorneys should follow the procedure for application set forth in SC LBR 2016-1(b)(2)(A).

Fees charged must match the complexity and scope of work described in the application.

Form for general bankruptcy matters

Form for loss mitigation or mortgage loan modification work

After confirmation, and to the extent funds are available after deduction of the trustee’s commission, the trustee may disburse up to $1,500.00 to counsel as part of the initial disbursement under the Chapter 13 plan.


On Behalf of the Court

Wed, 2/26/2020 - 11:04 am

To streamline compensation for debtor's attorneys in chapter 13 cases and to provide fair and reasonable compensation, Judges Duncan, Waites and Burris have agreed to certain changes for fee amounts and procedures.  These include a consistent expedited fee amount under SC LBR 2016-1(b)(1) ($4,000.00 consumer; $4,500.00 business) and the elimination of the cap on fees, in most instances, under SC LBR 2016-1(b)(2)(A).  Attorneys are reminded that any fees charged must be fair and reasonable and fees remain subject to review throughout the case.  Please consult updated Chambers Guidelines for each judge, which will be posted soon.  These changes are effective in cases filed on or after March 1, 2020, and to pending cases as provided in a judge's Chambers Guidelines.


Thu, 2/13/2020 - 3:51 pm

As a reminder, if you attended the SBRA training on February 11, 2020 by WebEx and would like to obtain CLE credit, please send your completed certificate of attendance to Dawn Hardesty at dawn_hardesty@scb.uscourts.gov by Monday, February 17, 2020.  A copy of the certificate of attendance form is available here.


Fri, 2/07/2020 - 8:09 am

As a reminder, if you plan to attend the Small Business Reorganization Act of 2019 training on February 11, 2020 at 3:00 p.m., please rsvp by today, February 7 to dawn_hardesty@scb.uscourts.gov.  Please indicate whether you plan to attend in person and in which location, or whether you plan to attend via WebEx.  If attending by WebEx, please provide the email address to which you would like the log-in instructions sent.  If you have questions about the training, please contact Dawn Hardesty at dawn_hardesty@scb.uscourts.gov or at (803) 765-5659.


Thu, 1/30/2020 - 1:57 pm

As previously noticed, the United States trustee program will host a training session to discuss the Small Business Reorganization Act of 2019 on February 11, 2020 from 3:00-4:30 p.m.  The training session will be held at the United States Bankruptcy Courthouse, 1100 Laurel Street, Columbia, SC.  The training will also be available by video from the Charleston and Spartanburg courthouses and via WebEx from your personal computer.  It is anticipated that the training will be approved for 1.5 hours of CLE credit. 

If you would like to attend the February 11 training, please RSVP by Friday, February 7 to dawn_hardesty@scb.uscourts.gov.  Please indicate whether you plan to attend in person and in which location, or whether you plan to attend via WebEx.  If attending by WebEx, please provide the email address to which you would like the log-in instructions sent.  Instructions for logging in to the training via WebEx will be sent out the day prior to the training to those that have RSVPed.  Written materials for the training will be posted on the Court's website and sent by email to those that have RSVPed prior to the event.

If you have questions about the training, please contact Dawn Hardesty at dawn_hardesty@scb.uscourts.gov or at (803) 765-5659.


Mon, 1/27/2020 - 3:52 pm

To facilitate uniformity in the implementation of the changes mandated by the Small Business Reorganization Act of 2019, the Court has adopted Local Rule 2081-3, which incorporates Interim Amendments to Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure 1007, 1020, 2009, 2012, 2015, 3010, 3011, 3014, 3016, 3017.1, 3017.2, 3018, and 3019.  Local Rule 2081-3 is effective February 19, 2020.  The Operating Order adopting the Local Rule is available here.  A redline showing the changes made to the Local Rules by the Interim Rules is available here.


Wed, 1/22/2020 - 11:50 am

The United States trustee program will host a training session to educate the bankruptcy bar on the Small Business Reorganization Act of 2019 on the afternoon of February 11, 2020 at 3:00 p.m.  The training session will be held at the United States Bankruptcy Courthouse, 1100 Laurel Street, Columbia, SC 29201 and will also be available for viewing from the Charleston and Spartanburg courthouses or from your personal computer. The session should be approved for CLE credit.  Please save this date and make plans to attend.  More information will be available soon.


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