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Chambers' Bulletins

Judge Waites

Mon, 6/18/2018 - 11:15 am

Judge Waites invites members of the bankruptcy bar and their staff to a meeting to review the new LM/MM Guidelines, which will be effective on July 1, 2018. The Charleston Meeting will be held in the Charleston courtroom on Thursday, June 21, 2018 after Court concludes (approximately 10:30 A.M.). The Columbia Meeting will be held in the Columbia courtroom on Tuesday, June 26, 2018 after Court concludes (approximately 10:30 A.M.). Chambers expects each of these meetings to be no longer than one hour.

If you are planning to attend, please RSVP by email to Andrew Powell (Andrew_Powell@scb.uscourts.gov).

Attendance by telephone will be considered for counsel or staff whose offices are located more than 30 miles from the court location, and should be requested by contacting Regina Schmidt (Regina_Schmidt@scb.uscourts.gov) and Agnes Babb (Agnes_Babb@scb.uscourts.gov) no later than 24 hours prior to the scheduled meeting.


Fri, 6/01/2018 - 9:30 am

The Portal LM/MM process continues to be a successful means for debtors and creditors to address mortgage debt as recent statistics suggest that more than 70% of completed reviews result in trial modifications, permanent loan modifications and other arrangements beneficial to the parties.

In an effort to continue to improve the Portal LM/MM process and after input from members of the Bar who are most active in the LM/MM program, Judge Waites has made certain changes to the applicable Chambers Guidelines to be effective July 1, 2018.*

The changes primarily provide more time for the completion of the Debtor’s Prepared Package, and the scheduling of court hearings as backstops to ensure the timely exchange of information. More complete information will allow for a more effective mediation process when needed.

The updated LM/MM guidelines are attached below. Updated forms and orders will be forthcoming. In addition, chambers will be hosting bar meetings in June for the Charleston and Columbia divisions to review these LM/MM changes.

In the meantime, members of the Bar may provide comments or suggestions in writing to Andrew Powell (Andrew_Powell@scb.uscourts.gov) no later than June 14, 2018.

* In anticipation of these updated guidelines, the Court has revised and is presently using LM/MM orders that reflect these modified procedures.


Mon, 5/14/2018 - 1:27 pm

At the recent 2018 Annual Seminar of the South Carolina Bankruptcy Law Association (SCBLA), I, on behalf of the other charter applicants—George Cauthen, Janet Haigler, and Jimmy Wyman—announced the approval of the J. Bratton Davis Bankruptcy American Inn of Court for the District of South Carolina.

One of the missions of the Inn is to promote excellence in legal advocacy and skills as well as emphasize ethics, civility and professionalism through social programs and discussions amongst lawyers, judges, and academics. A primary goal is to mentor young lawyers and students and pass along the ethical and professional values from one generation of legal professionals to the next. We are pleased that Judges Duncan and Burris, and retired Judge Bishop have accepted invitations to join the Inn.

The charter applicants view its formation as a compliment to the outstanding educational programs and activities of SCBLA and a further way to highlight what makes our practice special, including to honor the legacy of J. Bratton Davis, who, as our District’s first and longest serving judge, set a high standard of civility and respect.

The following video of Judge Davis demonstrates in just a few minutes his class and generosity.

Details on the Inn and its membership will be provided soon. We are hopeful that many members of the bankruptcy bar will consider joining.


Mon, 3/05/2018 - 2:42 pm

362 Settlement Orders – Conduit

Effective today, at the request of the Chapter 13 Trustees, chambers will be eliminating the 362 settlement orders that result in the Debtor participating in the Conduit Procedure after previously making regular payments directly to the mortgage creditor. These settlement orders include Exhibit K, Exhibit L and Exhibit M. For cases pending that are assigned to Judge Waites, a 362 settlement order that provides for the maintenance of regular mortgage payments shall be by direct payments from the debtor to the mortgage creditor. 

Use of New Certification of Facts Form

As part of the changes to the local rules in December of last year, the form Certification of Facts was modified to provide a more detailed breakdown of the liens on the property that is subject to a motion for relief. The new form is available in the Local Forms section on the Court’s website. Chambers has observed that many of the recently filed motions for relief are not utilizing the updated form certification of facts. 

Please note that for purposes of motions filed under 11 U.S.C. § 362(d)(1) (for cause including lack of adequate protection), equity refers to the amount of equity above the movant’s lien, which is not always the net equity amount regarding all of the liens on the property.

Delegation of Service of LM/MM Orders

Starting today, the service of any Order Requiring Loss Mitigation/Mortgage Modification is delegated to Debtor’s counsel, and the Clerk of Court’s office will cease service of this order.

As a reminder, the service of the Order Appointing LM/MM Mediator and Order Regarding LM/MM Procedures (early case order) is also delegated to Debtor’s counsel by the terms of those orders.

LM/MM Reports, Emails and Correspondence

Chambers has recently received several emails and correspondence regarding LM/MM. Please note that any requests for a status hearing on a pending LM/MM review, including a hearing on the debtor’s timeliness to submit an application in the Portal, should be requested through a filed correspondence on CM/ECF. Chambers will not act upon email requests for a status hearing.

Also, any request for relief based on a party’s alleged wrongful conduct or lack of good faith in the LM/MM process should be sought through the filing of a Motion to Enforce LM/MM. Chambers will not act upon such requests for relief if included in a LM/MM Report, a filed correspondence or an email to chambers.

 


On Behalf of the Court

Wed, 5/09/2018 - 2:59 pm

On behalf of the Judges and Clerk of Court, thanks to the South Carolina Bankruptcy Law Association for a most educational and enjoyable weekend at Isle of Palms. The Annual Seminar is open to all and is a must attend event for many in our practice area. The speakers this year included a United States District Judge, The U. S. Attorney nominee for our District, and two Masters in Equity. Several sessions involved an added state law focus with panelists we don’t ordinarily see. There were excellent sessions on lawyer succession planning and wellness. The 2019 seminar has been announced for March 29-31 in Savannah, Ga.

A highlight of the annual meeting is the presentation of the Association’s awards.

The William E.S. Robinson Public Service Award is named for Billy Robinson and is presented annually by the Board of Directors to a member rendering distinguished public service to the legal profession and community. Eddie McDonnell of South Carolina Legal Services was recognized. Eddie practices in the upstate and has been with Legal Services in various capacities since 1977. He is currently Director of Litigation. Among his many contributions over the years, a highlight has been his work in establishing and nurturing the “Foreclosure Friday” partnership between Legal Services and The United States Bankruptcy Court. This program provides last minute help to those facing foreclosure and considering bankruptcy. According to Thomas L. Bruce, the General Counsel Emeritus for S. C. Legal Services, Eddie is the trusted authority on bankruptcy matters for many of the other lawyers at Legal Services, often taking over the more difficult cases around the state to ensure excellent representation for the clients served by Legal Services.

The J. Bratton Davis Professionalism Award is in honor of our first Bankruptcy Judge and is awarded from time to time by the Board of Directors to an individual exhibiting unimpeachable integrity, devotion to legal scholarship, civility to all, unfailing professionalism, and impressive contributions and improvements to the legal profession. William H. Short, Jr. was recognized. Bill is a long time bankruptcy practitioner and was involved with the formation of the South Carolina Bankruptcy Law Association, having been President of the predecessor Richland County Bar Bankruptcy Section. He was in the first class of specialists certified by the S. C. Supreme Court in Bankruptcy and Debtor – Creditor Law and has been active with the Turnaround Management Association, South Carolina Bankers Association, South Carolina Local Government Attorneys Institute and National Business Institute. Recognized by Best Lawyers in America and Super Lawyers, Bill also has been active with several Bible studies, Boy Scouts, the board of Jubilee Academy, Ducks Unlimited, and Congaree Land Trust.  The nomination letter noted Bill’s “dedication to others, dogged pursuit of what he believes his friends and others need to hear . . . and his love and compassion for his wife, family and friends is extraordinary. In sum, he comes quite close to epitomizing the very characteristics that made Judge Davis such an amazing person.”  Bill suffered a stroke in the fall of 2017 and it is inspiring to see the recovery he continues to make.


Sat, 3/17/2018 - 10:00 am

The judges and staff of the United States Bankruptcy Court extend congratulations and best wishes to Judge John E. Waites on his induction as a Fellow of the American College of Bankruptcy in a ceremony held today. Judge Waites is the first Bankruptcy Judge in South Carolina to be awarded this honor.  The American College of Bankruptcy is an honorary association of bankruptcy and insolvency professionals whose fellows include bankruptcy judges, attorneys, and other practitioners in the bankruptcy and insolvency community.  Those selected as Fellows demonstrate the highest standards of professionalism, ethics, character, integrity, professional expertise, leadership, and scholarship contributing to the enhancement of the insolvency field.  


Fri, 2/02/2018 - 2:30 pm

Our Court web page has a new feature.  Under the "Judges' Information" tab you will find a new link to "Chambers' Bulletins."  This link will take you to a new page containing messages and important announcements from one or more of the Judges of the Court.  Recent Chambers' Bulletins are available on the opening page of the web site, opposite News & Announcements.  News & Announcements will continue to report courtwide news, administrative matters, and news from the Clerk's office.  Chambers' Bulletins will contain courtroom and chambers news and information.

If you practice in one division or need to consult the preferences and practices of a particular judge you can restrict your search to that judge (and can even choose to subscribe only to alerts from that judge).  Announcements by the Chief Judge and those on behalf of all the Judges will be under the "On Behalf of the Court" heading and all CM/ECF registered users will receive alerts with those messages, along with News & Announcements alerts as in the past.  Substantive messages from the old Judges' Corner Archive are still available on the Chambers' Bulletins page.

 The Court's web page also has a new Advanced Search Feature.  To access the Advanced Search feature, click on the "Go" button in the search feature on the upper right hand side of the web page.  A Search page will appear, and below the box for "Enter your keywords", "Advanced search" will appear.  If you click on Advanced search, you will have various options for searching.  Using this feature, you can search specific keywords and can select options to search only Chambers' Bulletins or News & Announcements. 


Judge Burris

Fri, 4/06/2018 - 1:40 pm

Updated Chambers Guidelines for Judge Burris have been posted here to include the chapter 7 Loss Mitigation/Mortgage Modification event


Thu, 4/05/2018 - 4:11 pm

At the request of the debtors' bar, the Request for Order Authorizing Loss Mitigation/Mortgage Modification event is now available for use in chapter 7 cases (Judge Duncan and Judge Burris cases only).  The event may be used one time only, and can only be filed once the chapter 7 trustee has filed a report of no distribution or a report of abandonment of the specific property on which the debtor intends to pursue loss mitigation.  A copy of the resulting order is available here.  Note that the chapter 7 order provides that “the issuance of this order does not extend any time period or deadline in this case.” Additionally, the language of the Request for Order Authorizing Loss Mitigation/Mortgage Modification in Judge Duncan and Judge Burris chapter 13 cases has changed slightly to conform to the language of the chapter 7 order and to provide clarity.  The title of the Order has changed from "Order Authorizing Loss Mitigation/Mediation" to "Order Authorizing Loss Mitigation/Mortgage Modification", and the second sentence of the order has been revised to add "at their discretion" after "Debtor(s) and Creditor", reflecting that although the stay is lifted to allow the parties to engage in loss mitigation, doing so  is within the discretion of the parties.  A copy of the revised order is available here.


Judge Duncan

Thu, 4/05/2018 - 4:11 pm

At the request of the debtors' bar, the Request for Order Authorizing Loss Mitigation/Mortgage Modification event is now available for use in chapter 7 cases (Judge Duncan and Judge Burris cases only).  The event may be used one time only, and can only be filed once the chapter 7 trustee has filed a report of no distribution or a report of abandonment of the specific property on which the debtor intends to pursue loss mitigation.  A copy of the resulting order is available here.  Note that the chapter 7 order provides that “the issuance of this order does not extend any time period or deadline in this case.” Additionally, the language of the Request for Order Authorizing Loss Mitigation/Mortgage Modification in Judge Duncan and Judge Burris chapter 13 cases has changed slightly to conform to the language of the chapter 7 order and to provide clarity.  The title of the Order has changed from "Order Authorizing Loss Mitigation/Mediation" to "Order Authorizing Loss Mitigation/Mortgage Modification", and the second sentence of the order has been revised to add "at their discretion" after "Debtor(s) and Creditor", reflecting that although the stay is lifted to allow the parties to engage in loss mitigation, doing so  is within the discretion of the parties.  A copy of the revised order is available here.


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