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Proposed Local Rule

Fri, 04/20/2007 - 5:00am

The Judges of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court are seeking comments from the Bar and public on the proposed Local Rule set forth below. The proposed Rule has been approved by the Court's Advisory Committee. Comments should be forwarded to on or before May 11, 2007.

The proposed rule provides an opportunity for review of discipline imposed on an attorney in instances of suspension or disbarment by allowing for an en banc review by all the bankruptcy judges of the court, in addition to customary rights for reconsideration or appeal.

Local Rule 2090-2 Attorneys- Discipline and Disbarment

(a) Standard of Conduct- Any attorney admitted to practice before this Court who violates the rules of this Court or, except as otherwise provided by the rules or an order of this Court, the South Carolina Rules of Professional Conduct (Rule 407 of the South Carolina Appellate Court Rules) as adopted by the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina and amended from time to time, or engages in any other misconduct as defined by Local Civil Rule 83.I.08 DSC (RDE Rule V(H)) may be subject to discipline.

(b) Reciprocal Discipline- Any attorney admitted to practice before this Court shall, upon being subjected to public discipline by any state or federal court or by the state bar of any state, inform the clerk of court of such action in writing within ten (10) days of the disciplinary action. The Court may, after notice and a hearing, impose reciprocal discipline on the attorney.

An attorney shall be immediately suspended from practice in this Court upon suspension or disbarment by the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina.

(c) Application- The procedure set forth in this rule applies to all contested or adversary proceedings in which discipline is sought against the attorney, including suspension or disbarment from practice before this Court.

(d) Procedure- For acts or omissions violating subsection (a), regardless of whether such acts or omissions occurred in the course of the attorney-client relationship, for good cause shown, and after notice and a hearing, an attorney admitted to practice before this Court may be disbarred, definitely or indefinitely suspended, privately or publicly reprimanded, or subjected to other disciplinary action as the circumstances may warrant.

If a bankruptcy judge orders the suspension or disbarment of an attorney, the attorney may move for relief from the order, as provided by the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure, or appeal to the United States District Court.

In addition thereto, pursuant to this Local Rule, if the attorney only seeks to alter or amend the extent of the discipline imposed by the order, the attorney may move to alter or amend the order to that limited extent and request that the hearing on such motion be had before all judges of the Bankruptcy Court. All available judges of the Bankruptcy Court shall convene within thirty (30) days for a hearing within the District to consider the attorney’s motion. The failure to request a hearing before all bankruptcy judges within the attorney’s motion shall be deemed a waiver of the right to a hearing by all bankruptcy judges.

(e) Referral- The Court may refer any disciplinary action to the Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina, any state court authorities regulating the attorney’s ability to practice law, or any other appropriate authority for review and investigation.

(f) Reinstatement- Any attorney suspended or disbarred may move for reinstatement pursuant to the terms and conditions of the order disciplining the attorney. The motion for reinstatement shall be served by the attorney upon the United States Trustee and all standing and panel trustees within the District and the motion shall set forth a statement of facts describing all discipline imposed upon the attorney and the attorney’s grounds for reinstatement. The motion for reinstatement shall be addressed to the Chief Judge of this Court who shall either act on the motion, after consultation with all judges, or who shall set a hearing on the Motion before all available judges of the Court. Reinstatement shall be conditioned upon the attorney’s compliance with all orders disciplining the attorney and the attorney being admitted to practice in the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina.

(g) Clerk- The clerk of court shall maintain a public record of all public orders disciplining attorneys admitted to practice before this Court.

(h) Jurisdiction Reserved- Nothing contained in these rules shall be construed to limit this Court’s power to regulate litigants, sanction misconduct, or control admission to the practice before it pursuant to Local Civil Rule 83.IX.01 DSC, 11 U.S.C. § 105, Fed. R. Bankr. P. 9011, the Court’s inherent power to regulate litigants, or other applicable law.