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Judges' Corner Archive

Fri, 1/29/2016 - 4:00 am

Congratulations to the following members of the SC bankruptcy bar who were recognized by the SC Bar Pro Bono Committee in the Volunteer Spotlight in the Agenda/Program Book at the recent SC Bar Convention:
Colleen Brunson and George Cauthen for Ask-A-Lawyer, Case Referrals, Law4Vets;
Dawn Hardesty, Gretchen Holland, and Tara Nauful for participating with

Congratulations to Eddye Lane and the SC Bankruptcy Law Association who were recognized for Pro Bono service by Legal Services Corporation (national organization) at its Board Meeting in Charleston on
January 28, 2016.

We are proud of their service!

Mon, 1/04/2016 - 4:00 am

Please welcome Dawn Hardesty as a Law Clerk in Judge Duncan's chambers. Dawn is a 2010 graduate of the University of South Carolina School of Law. After Law School she clerked for Judge Duncan for two years and then practiced law in Columbia with a focus on bankruptcy and creditor rights . You may reach Dawn at (803) 765-5659 and The contact information for Katherine Rea remains the same, (803) 765-5658 and, Judge Duncan also sends his thanks and best wishes to Jacque Phillips on her retirement as his Judicial Assistant.

Mon, 12/21/2015 - 4:00 am

1. Reporting Loss Mitigation/Mortgage Modification Issues/Request for Hearing:

Upon the issuance of an Order Requiring Loss Mitigation/Mortgage Modification (Portal), certain deadlines are established for the exchange of information to facilitate good faith loss mitigation reviews between a mortgage creditor and debtor.

According to Chambers Guidelines, upon the failure of one party to act within the time frames established in the Order Requiring Loss Mitigation/Mortgage Modification, the other party must report this failure to chambers by correspondence. Based thereon, the Court will set a status hearing to inquire about the delay.

Additionally, Chambers Guidelines states that upon one party’s failure to act in good faith, the other party must report the failure to chambers by correspondence. However, if a party seeks specific relief based upon an assertion that the other party made a demonstrable error in the review, is not acting in good faith during the loss mitigation review or other specific grounds of incompliance with the Court’s Order or Guidelines, that party should file a motion setting forth the particular allegations and specific relief for Court review. Upon a determination of cause, the Court may set a hearing and require attendance of the debtor and a representative of the mortgage creditor who is most knowledgeable on debtor(s)’ loss mitigation/mortgage modification request and any other relevant party, along with their counsel.

In addition, in lieu of a hearing before the Court, any party participating in the loss mitigation/mortgage modification review may request by motion the appointment of a mediator to assist in the resolution of disputes arising from the loss mitigation/mortgage modification review process.

 2. Request for Attorneys Fees upon Conversion of Chapter 13 Case to Chapter 7:

Pursuant to SC LBR 3070(c), in connection with a conversion of a Chapter 13 case to Chapter 7, a debtor may consent to payment of outstanding attorneys fees and costs owed to his Chapter 13 Attorney as part of the Chapter 13 Trustee's final distribution. The following forms may be used to request such payment:  Consent to Allow Return of Funds to Debtor Attorney     Order RE: Return of Funds to Debtor Attorne Upon Conversion

Tue, 11/10/2015 - 4:00 am

The Portal, as a tool to facilitate LM/MM, was introduced in Judge Waites' cases on June 23, 2014 and indicated as the preferred procedure in January of 2015. It has been used in over 350 cases. South Carolina Debtors' counsel who have used the Portal extensively have reported success rates of over 70%, with success being defined as an offer and approval of a trial period plan opportunity for the debtor(s). According to statistics published by HAMP, the national success rate for modification programs is 45%. Therefore, Judge Waites continues to endorse the Portal in his cases and offers the following modifications to make the process more efficient.

Following a period for comment, Judge Waites has amended his Chambers Guidelines regarding Loss Mitigation/Mortgage Modification for cases assigned to him. The revised Guidelines and downloadable forms in Word format are available on the Court's website at For the convenience of the Bar, the remaining exhibits to Chambers Guidelines are also now available as downloadable forms in Word format, including the stay relief forms and a new form order granting motion to substitute collateral or use insurance proceeds.

The revised Guidelines also reference several new CM/ECF events to facilitate the filing of documents related to the Loss Mitigation/Mortgage Modification ("LM/MM") procedures:

1. Proposed Consent Order Requiring LM/MM (No Motion Filed)
2. Proposed Order Approving Trial Period Plan
3. Proposed Consent Order Approving LM/MM
4. Request for Appointment of Mediator
5. Limited Notice of Appearance for LM/MM & Request for Notice

Judge Waites encourages the Bar to begin using the new Loss Mitigation/Mortgage Modification procedures, events, and forms immediately to expedite consideration of these matters. The revised Guidelines and use of the new forms and events will be required December 1, 2015.

Fri, 11/06/2015 - 4:00 am

The judges concur with the Local Rules Committee recommendations for certain Local Rule amendments. These proposals are attached. The judges invite comment to on or before November 20, 2015. These rules, in the absence of negative public comment and withdrawal or revision by the judges, will be effective December 1, 2015.

Link here to open the package.

The judges continue to study other proposals for amendment to the local rules and are seeking comment from various court constituencies. Additional amendments to the rules, if concurred with by the judges after further study, may be made available for public comment at a later time.

Wed, 11/04/2015 - 4:00 am

The South Carolina Bar is conducting a seminar on Litigation and Innovation in Consumer Bankruptcy Cases on November 20, 2015 in Columbia, by video from Charleston and Greenville, and by live webcast. To view the program agenda and register, visit

Judge Waites will serve as the moderator of the program and encourages members of the Bankruptcy Bar who represent parties, whether debtor or creditor, to attend.

The seminar has been designed to highlight best practices in litigation, innovative approaches in consumer practice and hot topics in case law, and the materials for the seminar include helpful checklists and forms.

Don't be left behind - Register today! Registration by November 6, 2015 provides an "early bird" discount.

Fri, 10/30/2015 - 5:00 am

The Administrative Office of the United States Courts has released bankruptcy filing statistics for Fiscal Year 2015. Overall, bankruptcy filings are down 11 percent from FY 2014. This is the lowest number of bankruptcy filings for any 12 month period since 2007, and the fifth consecutive fiscal year filings have fallen. Filings in the Fourth Circuit fell from 73,603 in FY 2014 to 67,954 in FY 2015, a 7.7 percent decrease. Filings in South Carolina fell by 5.9 percent. In South Carolina, a total of 7,080 bankruptcies were filed: 2,828 under chapter 7, 30 under chapter 11, zero under chapter 12, and 4,222 under chapter 13. South Carolina and the Eastern and Middle Districts of North Carolina were the only districts in the Fourth Circuit with more filings under chapter 13 than chapter 7. The full report and statistical tables are available here.

Mon, 10/26/2015 - 5:00 am

In recognition of Pro Bono Week, the Judges of the United States Bankruptcy Court would like to thank the many members of the South Carolina Bar who selflessly volunteer to help the public in matters related to the work of our Court by participating in the following programs:

C.A.R.E. Program of South Carolina
SC Bar Clinics (Charleston & Columbia)
Student Loan Debt Working Group
Judge Waites' Debtor Assistance Program.

The volunteers are listed here.

In addition, the Judges would like to thank South Carolina Legal Services and the South Carolina Bar, whose partnership with the Court makes many of these programs possible, as well as recognize those bankruptcy attorneys who participate in South Carolina Bar sponsored programs such as S.C. Bar Pro Bono Program and SC Law Answers.

Thu, 10/01/2015 - 5:00 am

With the pending retirement of Judge Duncan's longtime judicial assistant, Jacque Phillips, Judge Duncan is accepting applications for a second law clerk. The position will be located in Columbia and will begin on or about January 1, 2016. The position and application procedure can be found here.

Wed, 9/02/2015 - 5:00 am

Andrew Powell joined Judge Waites' Charleston chambers in August of 2015. Andrew will be primarily assisting Judge Waites with his Charleston division cases and can be reached at 843-619-4995 or by email to Please join us in welcoming him to the Court.