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Judges' Corner Archive

Thu, 12/07/2006 - 4:00 am

The Judges would like to alert the bar to several matters to assist in the administration of cases.

1. The United States Trustee has reported recently that several bankruptcy referrals have been prosecuted and resulted in indictments in this District:

On October 4, 2006, a debtor was indicted for allegedly using a false Social Security number to file bankruptcy.

On October 10, 2006, a debtor was indicted for allegedly keeping rent proceeds he collected from property of the estate while he was in bankruptcy. The rent proceeds were also property of the estate and should have been turned over to the bankruptcy trustee.

On October 10, 2006, an individual was indicted for forging a bankruptcy judge’s signature to a document in order to qualify for a loan on a used car.

On November 28, 2006, a debtor was indicted for concealing bank accounts and an insurance claim and for false statements he made at his meeting of creditors.

A bankruptcy judge recently referred to the U.S. Attorney testimony provided by a debtor in a hearing that he had failed to report income from his rental properties in his Tax Returns for the applicable years.

2. The Judges have agreed that whenever a motion for relief from the automatic stay represents that the movant agrees to waive certain claims or expenses provided under Sections 503(b) and 507 and to return to the estate any proceeds in excess of the liquidation of its secured claims, that such provisions should also be included in the proposed order/settlement order submitted to the Court if applicable to that order. The case trustees have agreed to monitor proposed orders for compliance with this requirement.

3. According to the recent ruling by the United States District Court in In re Singleton, C/A No: 02.06-CV-1666-PMD, a party seeking to have the Court reconsider dismissal in a case which has also been closed should file a motion to reconsider dismissal that meets the requirements of FRCP 60 and a motion to reopen. Merely requesting the reopening of the case may not provide the relief the movant seeks. Please consult the Court docket whenever taking such action to determine if the case has not only been dismissed, but also closed by the Court.

4. The official form required for filing in connection with a debtors completion of a financial education course before discharge has changed effective October 1, 2006. Debtors counsel should ensure the official form is executed by the debtor and completed (including the number of the educators certificate) and filed with a copy of the certificate. (Again this is a different requirement and form than the credit counseling certificate required at the beginning of a case.) The new official form can be found on the Court's Web Page under Forms.

Wed, 12/06/2006 - 4:00 am

On December 5 Judge Burris issued an opinion on the applicability of the South Carolina Home Security Act (the new homestead exemption) in bankruptcy cases. This decision will likely affect consumer debtors throughout the state. The opinion was issued as a joint opinion in four cases and all three judges concur in the result. The lead case number is 06-02413 and the order can be viewed therein via CMECF and will be available on the court's website soon.

Fri, 12/01/2006 - 4:00 am

On behalf of the Judges of this Court, Chief Judge Waites would like to announce two public service initiatives to be sponsored by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court and invite participation by the bar.

The South Carolina Supreme Court has appointed a Task Force on Access to Justice with the goal being to improve the delivery of Legal Services to the state’s indigent population. Since many in this population face issues relating to debtor/creditor relations and bankruptcy, Judge Waites has been asked to serve on the Task Force. In order to consider factors which may improve the availability of legal services in the bankruptcy area, the Judges will invite bankruptcy practitioners to participate in two meetings to discuss issues related to the availability of legal services. Topics include information provided by the Court to pro se parties, educational programs on the Reform Act and bankruptcy, the unbundling of legal services in certain situations, locations of court hearings and consideration of the structure of court divisions, courtroom assistance for pro se parties, and mediation procedures involving pro se parties, among others.

The Credit Abuse Resistance Education (CARE) Program is a national initiative in which many bankruptcy courts coordinate the availability of judges, trustees and experienced attorneys or staff to speak to high school and college students regarding the use of consumer credit and the consequences of credit abuse. There is no required format or agenda for such presentations which are coordinated by the Court, but a training program and materials will be made available. Judge Waites has previously received requests from schools in various parts of the state, so assistance from the bar statewide would be appreciated. The CARE program is already available in many other districts and has been proven to be a well received and beneficial public service.

Trustees, Counsel or experienced bankruptcy staff willing to participate on these initiatives should advise Judge Waites on or before December 12, 2006 at

Tue, 11/28/2006 - 4:00 am

Judge Waites is pleased to announce that Sarah Kistler joined his chambers as a law clerk on November 27, 2006. Sarah is a 2005 honors graduate of the University of South Carolina School of Law and recently practiced in the litigation section of the Rogers Townsend & Thomas Law Firm. Sarah joins Jeff Davis as the Judge's two law clerks.

The Judge also advises the Bar that Cheryl Hughes, Judge Waites’ former judicial assistant, has begun her new duties as Human Resources Administrator for the Court. Cheryl has fifteen years of human resources and office manager experience with the accounting firm of Deloitte and Touche. Cheryl's duties in connection with adversary proceedings assigned to Judge Waites have been assumed by Lisa Dunbar, the Court's Courtroom Services Specialist, who joined the Court in September. Lisa is the former clerk of the state grand jury and a former courtroom deputy and trial coordinator with the United States District Court.

Please join us in welcoming Sarah and Lisa and congratulating Cheryl.

Tue, 11/21/2006 - 4:00 am

As previously announced, a meeting between the Judges of the South Carolina Bankruptcy Court and the Bankruptcy Bar will be held in Charleston on Wednesday, November 29, 2006. Judge Waites will lead a discussion regarding changes in the bankruptcy system in this district to begin at 3 p.m. in the courtroom of the U. S. Bankruptcy Court, 145 King Street, Charleston, SC. Both Judge Burris and Judge Duncan will also attend and participate. A social gathering will follow from 4-6 p.m. in the Middleton/Ruthledge Room at the Mills House Hotel on Meeting Steet. To register your attendance, please contact Aimee Hiers of the South Carolina Bankruptcy Law Association at by Monday, November 27th.

Thu, 11/09/2006 - 4:00 am

In association with the South Carolina Bankruptcy Law Association, you are invited to a meeting/social gathering between the Judges of the SC Bankruptcy Court and the SC Bankruptcy Bar, Wednesday, November 29, 2006 between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. The meeting will begin with a discussion of an area of interest to the bar to be held in the Courtroom of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, 145 King Steet, Charleston, S.C. and continue with a social gathering at a nearby location. Further information and an opportunity to indicate your attendance will be provided in future announcements. We hope that you will mark your calendar and plan on attending.

Tue, 10/31/2006 - 4:00 am

The Judges and Clerk of the Bankruptcy Court are pleased to announce the approval of wireless internet access for use by counsel in connection with hearings before the Court. The access is made possible through funding provided by the United States District Court and will be available within the next few months, depending on contractor installation schedules, in all three Court locations in the District. The access will be available both in the courtrooms and attorney-client conference rooms. Further announcements of policies and restrictions on use of wireless access and registration requirements will follow.

Thu, 10/26/2006 - 5:00 am

Seventy (70) paralegals or legal assistants have registered for the Paralegal Seminar to be held in Columbia in the 3d floor main courtroom on November 3, 2006 beginning at 9:00 a.m. and concluding by 4:00 p.m. Just a few people requested separate sessions in either Spartanburg or Charleston, so there will be just the one seminar in Columbia. An important CM/ECF training session on the changes in new version 3.1 will be included in the seminar which will satisfy separate training requirements that electronic filers will need. There will also be helpful substantive presentations by the Clerk's office, Office of United States Trustees, Chapter 13 and 7 Trustees, and the Judges. The South Carolina Bankruptcy Law Association will sponsor a refreshment break.

Registration will end on Friday, October 27, 2006. We look forward to a great seminar.

Tue, 10/24/2006 - 5:00 am

In association with the South Carolina Bankruptcy Law Association, you are invited to a meeting/social gathering between the Judges of the SC Bankruptcy Court and the SC Bankruptcy Bar, Wednesday, November 8, 2006 at Soby's Restaurant, 207 South Main Street, Greenville, SC from 5:00pm - 7:00pm. Due to limited space please RSVP by November 3 to Weyman Carter (

Judge Beth Burris will lead the discussion regarding the scheduling of hearings and other issues of interest to the Upstate SC Bankruptcy Bar at 5:00 with a social gathering following immediately thereafter. Judge John Waites and Judge David Duncan are scheduled to attend as well. (This meeting is in lieu of the "brown bag" lunch mentioned in earlier announcements.)

Wed, 10/18/2006 - 5:00 am

As previously announced, the Court will be sponsoring a seminar for paralegals and legal assistants to be held on Friday, November 3, 2006 commencing at 9:00 am in Columbia, at the United States Bankruptcy Courthouse, 1100 Laurel Street in the 3rd floor courtroom. The seminar would be expected to end around 4:00 p.m. Presentations will be made by the judges, members of the Clerk's office, United States Trustee's office, and trustees. Topics will include new CM/ECF filing requirements and suggestions to ensure the better processing of cases and pleadings. The approval of CLE credit is anticipated for attendance. Please register with Jacque Phillips by email at or telephone at 803-765-5657 no later than Friday, October 27, 2006 if you are planning on attending.

If you are unable to attend the Columbia seminar and there is sufficient interest, the Court may consider an abbreviated session (which will not include as detailed a presentation/demonstration on the new CM/ECF requirements) in Spartanburg and/or Charleston at some later date. If you would prefer to attend an abbreviated session in either of those divisional court sites, please indicate that as your first choice in your responding email. To ensure you attend some session you should register for the Columbia date if you could attend, but indicate your preference for a divisional session. A decision will be made as soon as possible after the registration date on the feasibility of separate sessions.

This is the fourth annual paralegal seminar and we hope that it will be an informative and helpful day.