The goal of the new procedure is to settle the docket in advance, reduce requests for continuances at the hearing and eliminate the need for counsel to attend a hearing merely to request continuances.
Effective immediately, the following guidelines are implemented on a trial basis in general cases and not adversary proceedings.
Absent extraordinary circumstances such as illness or family emergency, continuances may be allowed if requested as follows:
1. Submission of a consent order in compliance with Local Rule 9014-3(b)(2) is the best method to continue a matter not generally noticed to parties, or
2. No later than 12:00 p.m. the day prior to the hearing, you may telefax a letter to chambers (803-253-3464) or telephone and speak to the law clerk or judicial assistant to make the request. You must have the consent of the opposing party and the trustee if it is a generally noticed matter, indicate the reason for the continuance and time needed before a rescheduled hearing, (usually two to four weeks before the continued hearing on another general docket day). If approved, a matter in which a continuance has been agreed to by all noticed parties will be removed from the calendar. If the matter has been generally noticed (such as a confirmation hearing, sale, petition to dismiss, etc.) the matter shall remain on the calendar and will be announced at the hearing as continued by the Court or trustee.
The following information will be required in order to obtain a continuance: the nature of the dispute, the reason for the continuance, whether consents to the continuance have already been obtained and from whom, the time needed before the next hearing and specifics regarding the dispute if it’s a §362 motion regarding a postpetition payment dispute in a Chapter 13 case.
Counsel participating in the approved continuance must timely advise their clients so that they do not appear. Likewise, counsel agreeing to the continuance bear the risk of other parties appearing at a generally noticed hearing and must be available if telephoned by the Court at the time of the hearing to address the issue raised by an appearing party.
Obtaining approval: Leaving a telephone message or the statement that “No one returned my call” will not suffice. You must receive actual approval before the matter will be continued. If you do not receive a response, then you should appear at the hearing.
Upon approval, the continued date and time will be provided to the party initiating the request. That party bears the responsibility of relaying the new date and time to all other parties. (Generally noticed matters will also be announced at the hearing). Once a matter is continued, all counsel or clients will be presumed to agree to the continued date and no conflicts will be accepted to the rescheduled date.
Repeated continuances of the same matter will not be allowed.
This procedure does not apply to other types of matters at this time.
If you have questions regarding this procedure, contact chambers.