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Judges' Corner Archive

Mon, 7/14/2014 - 5:00 am

As a result of comments received from the bar and other parties, Judge Waites’ Chambers Guidelines implementing procedures for Home Mortgage Modification have been revised. Click here to view the changes.

The Loss Mitigation/Mediation Program has been added to facilitate communication between Debtors and certain Home Mortgage Creditors, who are familiar with and experienced in the use of the online portal process due to their participation in similar programs in other districts. The Program may be used both before and after confirmation.

Standard Chapter 13 plan language is provided to expedite confirmation of plans in which home mortgage modification is requested, including instances where the Loss Mitigation/Mediation procedures are ongoing at the time of confirmation.

The conclusion of all Loss Mitigation/Mortgage Modification efforts should be reported to the Court; if successful, by way of a Consent Order Allowing Mortgage Loan Modification (CM/ECF event) or, if ongoing or unsuccessful, by way of Mortgage Loan Modification Report (CM/ECF event).

A Consent Order Allowing Mortgage Loan Modification should be submitted to finalize mortgage modification whether or not the Loss Mitigation/Mediation Program is not used and even if mortgage modification is not provided for in the Chapter 13 plan.


Training on the online portal presently approved is available from Default Mitigation Management, LLC.

Contingent upon interest, training for the Loss Mitigation/Mediation Program procedures and portal described in the Chambers Guidelines will be offered in coming weeks in Columbia and by video conference in Charleston. If you are interested in attending, please email Jeff Davis at and provide the number of staff in your office who may attend the training.

Further Comments:

As these procedures are implemented, the bar should report problems, questions or suggestions to Jeff Davis at the e-mail address above.

Mon, 6/23/2014 - 5:00 am

Judge Waites has amended his Chambers Guidelines to establish a Loss Mitigation/Mediation Program to assist in resolving home mortgage issues in bankruptcy cases assigned to him through consensual mortgage modification.

The procedures are similar to those used in other districts which report great success, and are described in the attachment.

An additional no look fee of $1000 is authorized as compensation for Debtor’s counsel who provide the services described in the Program. Further information and training on these procedures is anticipated and will be announced.

As a result of the implementation of this Program, the Chambers Guidelines have also been changed regarding Mortgage Modification via Chapter 13 Plan and Consent Order.

While these procedures are effective immediately, the judge invites comments or questions to be sent to no later than July 7, 2014.

These procedures apply solely to cases assigned to Judge Waites.

Mon, 5/05/2014 - 5:00 am

Thank you to the South Carolina Bankruptcy Law Association, its members, and others in attendance for the hospitality shown the judges, clerk and other court staff at the annual meeting. The speakers and seminar topics were top notch. The opportunity to socialize promotes collegiality in our bar and we enjoy your company.

John B. Butler III was recognized with the William E. S. (Billy) Robinson Public Service Award. Noting his many contributions to streamlining bankruptcy practice, his pro bono work and his penchant for sharing research with others engaged in pro bono efforts; those nominating Johnny highlighted his efforts on behalf of Project Healing Waters, an organization which dedicates itself to the physical and emotional rehabilitation of disabled military and service personnel. Also noted was Johnny’s conservation minded efforts with fisheries. Johnny is a frequent author and lecturer on bankruptcy law.

Judge John E. Waites was recognized with the J. Bratton Davis Professionalism Award. Ten lawyers joined in nominating John, noting his integrity, devotion to legal scholarship, civility, unfailing professionalism, and impressive contributions and improvements to the legal profession. Highlighting both his local efforts to improve bankruptcy practice while preserving civility and collegiality in our bar and his national committee work on behalf of the judiciary; the nominating petition focused also on John’s efforts to promote equal access to justice and his untiring efforts to promote pro bono and legal services initiatives.

Congratulations to these fine and deserving individuals on the Association’s recognition of their achievements and contributions.

Mon, 4/28/2014 - 5:00 am

Judge Waites would like to thank the attorneys listed below for their participation in the Chapter 13 Pro Se Debtor Assistance Program.  Our records show that pro se debtors who subsequently obtain counsel are much more likely to achieve confirmation of their chapter 13 plans.  Participating attorneys have provided positive feedback regarding the program, noting that the volunteer attorney is often able to receive compensation for their services.  Judge Waites also thanks the attorneys with South Carolina Legal Services for their participation in the Program.  If you are interested in being added to the list of volunteer attorneys, please contact Sarah Kistler at

Beth Atkins
Ann Bell
Showell Blades
Colleen Brunson
Natashia Bush
Dee Compton
Michael Conrady
Michael Cox
Russ DeMott
Richard Dolce
Michael Drose
Jay Duvall
Carol Elliott
Phil Fairbanks
David Gaffney
Nancy Johnson
James Hinson
Miller Ingram
Steve Huggins
Elizabeth Heilig
Debra Matthews
Michael Matthews
Malinda McAleer
David Melnyk
Rob Meredith
Jason Moss
Jane Ruschky
Janne Osborne
Lee O'Steen
Eric Reed
Lex Rogerson
Jane Ruschky
Reid Smith
Daniel Stone
Carolyn Stringer
Daryle Walker
Rory Whelehan

Wed, 4/16/2014 - 5:00 am

Judge Waites and the staff of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court would like to thank Patrick Mohan for his service as law clerk during the past two years. Patrick will join Reorg Research, a New York based research firm that provides news, commentary and analysis regarding distressed debt and large Chapter 11 cases. He will continue to work and reside in Columbia. His last day in chambers will be April 18, 2014. It has been a pleasure working with Patrick and we wish him the very best.

Judge Waites is also pleased to welcome Kayce Seifert as a law clerk in his chambers in Charleston, beginning April 21, 2014. Kayce is a December 2013 honors graduate of the Charleston School of Law.

Tue, 3/18/2014 - 5:00 am

The form orders related to stay relief for chapter 13 cases assigned to Judge Waites are not required or suggested for cases assigned to Judges Burris or Duncan. The parties may choose to use the form orders as a template for proposed orders in cases assigned to them if the form accurately reflects the voluntary agreement of the parties, provisions not applicable to the settlement are removed, and all footnotes (and other notations such as document identifiers) are removed. (See SC LBR 1001-1(c)). The parties are not limited to the settlement options contained in the form orders. Parties should always consult Chambers Guidelines for the appropriate judge when submitting proposed orders and otherwise regarding judge preferences.

Wed, 3/12/2014 - 5:00 am

By Administrative Order and after changes resulting from public comment, Judge Waites has adopted Guidelines in the form of the attached Agreement. These Guidelines and requirements shall be effective in all chapter 13 cases assigned to Judge Waites, which are filed on or after March 24, 2014.

The Trustees report that the essential aspects of the agreement are as follows:

  • Delinquent tax returns are to be filed no later than 28 days before the first scheduled confirmation hearing.

  • Current year tax returns must be filed as soon as practicable after receiving all necessary forms such as Form W-2. No case will be confirmed until the current year tax return is received by the IRS.

  • Within 14 days of the receipt of all unfiled tax returns the IRS will file or amend its claim showing amounts due as set forth in the tax returns, unless the IRS has reason to believe the returns are not accurate. If the IRS believes the returns to be inaccurate it will communicate that information to debtor’s counsel within 14 days.

  • Absent extraordinary circumstances, no objection to an IRS claim should be filed until after the 14 day period for IRS action on the filed returns has passed.
Fri, 3/07/2014 - 4:00 am

Judge Waites has posted updated Chambers Guidelines on the Court's website, which include new Stay Relief Procedures to complement new 362 form orders. The final version of the 362 form orders may be found in Exhibits C - G of the revised Guidelines and may be used for all orders filed in cases assigned to Judge Waites on or after March 10, 2014. As a reminder, after that date, section 362 motions will remain on the hearing calendar if proposed orders are submitted which include nonstandard language.

The revised Guidelines also include a new section governing Mortgage Loan Modification, which sets forth methods by which a debtor may seek court approval of consensual residential mortgage loan modifications, including specific language that may be included in a chapter 13 plan.

The section governing Continuances, Settlements, and Withdrawals has been amended.

Fri, 2/28/2014 - 4:00 am

Judge Waites fax line has been restored and documents may now be faxed to Judge Waites' normal fax number 803-253-3464.

Thu, 2/27/2014 - 4:00 am

Until further notice, documents faxed to Judge Waites' Chambers should be faxed to 803-253-3710.