You are here

Judges' Corner Archive

Wed, 8/15/2007 - 5:00 am

The Bankruptcy Court for the District of South Carolina is pleased to announce a partnership with the South Carolina Bar in sponsoring an Ask-A-Lawyer Program specializing in bankruptcy law. Through the use of volunteer bankruptcy attorneys, the court hopes to assist the public and pro se parties by receiving questions regarding bankruptcy law and procedure. As a part of the state bar program, volunteer attorneys will receive credit for their participation and will be covered by the bar's liability policy.

In its initial stage, the court plans to offer a monthly program to be conducted from the Columbia courthouse to be held in the early afternoon of a Chapter 13 docket day and seeks a one hour commitment from volunteers. Attorneys interested in volunteering should advise Judge Waites by e-mail to

Tue, 8/14/2007 - 5:00 am

The Judges and staff of the United States Bankruptcy Court are pleased to recognize the reappointment of W. Clarkson McDow, Jr. as United States Trustee for Region 4. Clarkson has served as U.S. Trustee since 1994. We congratulate him and wish him continued success in his service

Tue, 8/07/2007 - 5:00 am

Care Program:
Training for Attorneys

Last year's Care Program presentations at high schools around the state were rewarding to the participants and received positive feedback. We have already received requests from universities, high schools and community organizations for this year and we expect to receive more as the school year commences. In order to serve the entire state we would like to expand our list of presenters and update our list of care program volunteers. The court is sponsoring three training sessions in conjunction with sessions of Judge Waites court in order to share what we learned in our previous presentations.


Thursday, August 23, 2007 at 9:30 am


Thursday, August 30, 2007 at 10:30 am


Thursday, September 6, 2007 at 11:00am

If you would like to attend one of these sessions or otherwise volunteer for presentations this year, please contact Lisa Dunbar at 765-5159 or e-mail at
Fri, 7/27/2007 - 5:00 am

As previously noticed in the Judges' Corner announcement dated June 20, 2007, new court division and county assignments will take effect Wednesday, August 1, 2007 and are applicable to newly filed cases only. Hearings with respect to cases filed in York County (as well as 341 meetings, as directed by the UST) will be heard in Columbia on a temporary basis. On August 1, 2007, in order to effectuate the transition, filers will be unable to select the Judge/Trustee assignment option upon the filing of the case. Cases may be filed as usual, and the Court will complete all Judge/Trustee assignments as soon as possible for cases filed on August 1.

Wed, 7/11/2007 - 5:00 am

Judges Burris and Waites would like to invite members of the Bankruptcy bar to join them for lunch after court in Spartanburg on Tuesday, July 24, at Wade's Restaurant. Please meet in the buffet line around 12:15. Lunch at Wade's is approximately $7.50 and they do not take credit cards! Hope to see you there on the 24th.

Tue, 7/10/2007 - 5:00 am

In light of the ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court in In Re Marrama, 127 S.Ct. 1105 (2007) that a debtor may forfeit the "absolute" right to convert a case from chapter 7 to another chapter pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 706(a), such motions may be granted after consideration by the court or may be set for a hearing. Counsel should therefore not expect the immediate entry of an order of conversion. Motions to convert pursuant to § 706(a) should be served on the chapter 7 trustee, the debtor, and all parties in interest. If a hearing is set, 20 days notice is required pursuant to Bankruptcy Rule 2002.

[Conversions from chapter 13 to chapter 7 pursuant to section 1307(a) are unaffected by this announcement and remain effective upon the filing of a notice pursuant to Bankruptcy Rule 1017.]

Tue, 7/03/2007 - 5:00 am

The Judges appreciate the members of the consumers debtors bar who volunteered to serve on a working group to preview a proposal to establish guidelines for attorneys fees in chapter 13 cases. The following have been selected to serve:

Jenny Dalrymple
Jane Downey
Eddye Lane
Dana Wilkerson
Joy Goodwin
Michael Conrady
Lex Rogerson
Daniel Stone
Rick Richardson
Keenan Stephenson

The present schedule provides that a proposal will be circulated for comment to the working group before the end of July.
Fri, 6/22/2007 - 5:00 am

I recently spoke with Thurmond Bishop, Retired Judge of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, and am pleased to report that he is doing well and is practicing law in Abbeville, South Carolina. He has recently agreed to join other qualified mediators on the list of bankruptcy mediators maintained by the Court. To view the complete list of bankruptcy mediators, please visit the Chambers Guidelines & Information page on the Court's website and click on the "Mediation Program" tab.

John E. Waites

Wed, 6/20/2007 - 5:00 am

The Judges of the United States Bankruptcy Court have approved a modification of court divisions for purposes of case assignment and hearing locations. Operating Order 07-08 transfers the counties of Abbeville, McCormick, Greenwood and York to the Greenville/Spartanburg division and transfers the counties of Allendale, Hampton, Williamsburg and Horry to the Charleston division. The division change will affect newly filed (not pending cases) as of the effective date. The redesignation of divisions received considerable support from the bar and was prompted by the residency of a bankruptcy judge in the Greenville/Spartanburg division, a desire to improve access to court locations by reducing travel inconvenience for parties, and a goal to move towards equalization of case work in all three divisions.

Further equalization of the divisions shall be accomplished by order of the court as soon as practicable.

Additional announcements will be made regarding transition procedures in the near future. The assignment of trustees and locations for section 341 meetings is the province of the United States Trustee and will be announced by the UST in the near future.

Tue, 6/19/2007 - 5:00 am

At a recent meeting the Judges discussed consistent procedures related to reaffirmation agreements and offer the following information to assist the bar and parties:

A hearing will be set to consider a reaffirmation agreement in the following circumstances:
1. Debtor is pro se or is not represented by counsel during the negotiation of the agreement. ( Local Rule 9010-1(d) includes such services in the duties of counsel for a debtor).
2. Debtor is represented by counsel but counsel will not sign the agreement recommending its approval. (Counsel may be asked to attend the hearing).
3. The reaffirmation agreement (an official form) is incomplete or important information is missing. In particular, if there is no marking indicating whether a presumption of undue hardship exists or not (box on top of first page of the form), or debtor does not complete the form, including all signatures, or state specific reasons that he can afford payments to overcome the presumption. If counsel has not properly completed the form or there appears to be a presumption but none is indicated.
4. If the judge has questions or concerns regarding the reaffirmation agreement.

If a presumption is triggered due to a shortfall in the debtors ability to pay according to Schedules I and J, and the debtor proposes to change his spending in order to create an ability to pay, a complete and full explanation should be included in Part D to avoid the necessity of a hearing. Before signing and stating that the debtor has the ability to make the payments at Part C, counsel should ensure the form is sufficiently detailed and thorough to indicate no undue hardship.

If a hearing is scheduled due to an incorrect or incomplete agreement (including the indication of a presumption when none exists) and if a corrected, amended agreement is filed before the scheduled hearing and chambers is advised, the judge may consider cancelling the hearing.

Note that exceptions apply when the creditor is a credit union or the debt is a consumer debt secured by real property. In addition, agreements must be timely filed with the court to be effective.

In instances where the debtor is not represented, an order approving or disapproving the agreement after a hearing will be entered. In instances where the debtor is represented by counsel, an order approving the reaffirmation agreement may not be necessary for the agreement to be effective. However, depending on the judge's preference, a judge may enter an order approving the agreement whether or not there is a hearing.