Just about every year changes are made to the rules that govern how bankruptcy cases are managed — the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure. The revisions address issues identified by an Advisory Committee made up of federal judges, bankruptcy attorneys, and others.
Key Rule Amendments. This year the rule amendments address the continuing impact of the Stern v. Marshall case on bankruptcy proceedings, the effect of electronic service on response deadlines, and certain Chapter 15 procedures. Be sure to read all the amendments (see link below), but here are the changes of particular note in business bankruptcy cases:
- Rules 1010, 1011, and 2002 have been revised to improve procedures in cross-border Chapter 15 cases, with a new Rule 1012 added to govern responses to Chapter 15 petitions.
- Rule 7008 has been amended to remove the requirement that a party in an adversary proceeding state whether the proceeding is core or non core, leaving instead the requirement to state whether the party does or does not consent to entry of final orders or judgment by the bankruptcy court.
- Rule 7012 has been revised in a similar fashion as Rule 7008.
- Rule 7016 governing pretrial conferences has been changed to add a requirement for the bankruptcy court, on its own motion or that of a party, to decide whether to hear and determine the adversary proceeding, to hear it and issue proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law, or to take some other action.
- Rule 9006(f) has been amended to remove service by electronic means, including ECF service, from the types of service allowing three added days to act or respond after being served. Put differently, if you’ve consented to electronic service, you no longer get to add three days for any response or action. Instead, the 7, 14, 21, and 28 day periods will apply directly.
- Rule 9027 governing removal has been updated along the same lines as Rules 7008 and 7012 described above.
- Finally, Rule 9033 has been amended to remove the core/non core language since even core proceedings may require a bankruptcy court to issue proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law in light of the Stern-related decisions.
Read All About It. So you can keep up-to-date, a copy of the amendments, in both clean and redline, is available by following the link in this sentence. (As a bonus, clean and redlines of the amendments to the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure and the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure are also included.) The amendments to the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure start at page 117 of the linked document.
Ready, Set, Go. The amendments take effect on December 1, 2016. They govern all proceedings in bankruptcy cases commenced after that and all pending proceedings “insofar as just and practicable.” I take that to mean they will govern virtually all bankruptcy cases and adversary proceedings, including those filed prior to December 1, 2016, so be ready to apply them right away.