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Judge Duncan has made minor revisions to his Chambers Guidelines consistent with the chapter 13 trustee's intention to begin filing formal objections to confirmation and to make other minor updates. The changes are as follows:
1. The section regarding the trustee's notes concerning confirmation has been revised to remove references to the trustee's intent to request dismissal at the confirmation hearing but to retain the requirement that previously requested documents be filed with the Court or submitted to the trustee overnight.
2. The section regarding joint statements of dispute has been revised to clarify that parties are not required to file joint statements of dispute in the event of a chapter 13 trustee objection.
3. The section regarding electronic exhibits has been revised to state that counsel should meet with the courtroom deputy at least two business days in advance of trial to ensure compatibility of electronic devices to be used at hearing or trial.
4. Exhibit A has been revised to reflect recent changes to Judge Duncan's form scheduling order for adversary proceedings.
The Bankruptcy Reform Act of 1978 took effect on October 1, 1979, forty years ago today. The new law repealed the Bankruptcy Act of 1898 and modernized the law with a new Title 11, the Bankruptcy Code. Although amended several times in the ensuing years, the Code continues to provide relief for debtors and an avenue for recovery by creditors. The basic framework of the Code was set in place by the Commission on Bankruptcy Laws, which had reported the need for a modern bankruptcy law in a two-part report to Congress in 1973.
The Bankruptcy Reform Act of 1978 also made changes to Title 28 and established the United States Bankruptcy Courts as separate courts within the federal judiciary.
Read the entire article in the attached PDF.
Judge Waites has recently updated his Chambers Guidelines to increase the no-look fees allowed for Debtor’s counsel who provide services to debtors in addressing student loan debt in the chapter 13 cases assigned to him. Counsel is now allowed a no-look fee of $1,250 (increased from $1,000) for assisting a debtor with the confirmation of a plan providing for the debtor’s enrollment in or maintenance of an Income Driven Repayment Plan with the U.S. Department of Education. Further, counsel is now allowed a no-look fee of $1,500 (increased from $1,000) for participating in a court ordered mediation regarding student loan debt in lieu of a contested hearing.
The updated guidelines are attached to this message.
The Judges remind the bar that SC LBR 5075-1 delegates the service of a variety of orders, including, for example, orders confirming plans, orders on motions to reconsider dismissal, and orders on motions to extend stay. The docket text generated upon entry of the order reflects, and should remind you, whether the order is a delegated service order. SC LBR 9013-3 requires filing certificates of service. It appears that many attorneys either are not serving delegated orders or are serving orders but not filing certificates of service. Failure to comply with the Local Rules may affect the enforceability of these orders. Please review your internal office procedures to ensure that you are in compliance with the Local Rules.
The Court has released a new and improved opinions search feature on its website. The opinions feature now allows a user to narrow the search by both search terms and Judge. Additionally, the search terms feature has been enhanced. To return results containing a particular phrase, use quotation marks around the entire phrase. To return results containing a particular phrase within a certain number of words of another word or phrase, use quotation marks around the phrases and include "~[number of words]" between the phrases with no spaces. For example, to search for automatic stay within 10 words of "debtor", use "automatic stay"~10debtor. The Court will continue to review its search feature and will implement additional features and improvements as they become available.
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.
A technical amendment has been made to SC LBR 9013-4, Exhibit A to add Motions to Convert to Chapter 13 by a Chapter 7 Debtor to the list of matters that may be scheduled passively. A 21-day objection period is required. The Convert Case to 13 event has been modified to conform with the Court's passive notice procedures. The Operating Order adopting the amendment is available here. See FRBP 1017(f)(2) and 2002(a)(4).
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.
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.