Local Rules

BLR 1001-1 Title

These are the Local Rules of Practice for the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Georgia. They may be cited as BLR.

In those instances where reproduction of an entire pleading or other paper as amended would be unduly burdensome, a party filing or moving to file an amendment to a pleading or other paper shall be permitted to incorporate relevant provisions of prior pleadings or papers by reference.

All petitions, pleadings, and other papers presented to the Bankruptcy Clerk for filing must be signed by the party or parties presenting the petition, pleading, or other paper or, if represented by an attorney, by at least one attorney of record, and must include the complete address (including post office box or drawer number and street address), and telephone number of the person(s) signing it. If signed by an attorney, it shall include the information required by BLR 5005-1(e).

(a) Authorization of Electronic Filing. The Bankruptcy Clerk shall accept documents for filing by electronic means in accordance with these Rules and with the Electronic Case Filing Procedures established pursuant to BLR 5005-5(b).

(b) Electronic Case Filing Procedures. The Bankruptcy Court shall from time to time establish “Electronic Case Filing Procedures,” which shall be administrative procedures, consistent with technical standards, if any, that the Judicial Conference of the United States establishes, for the electronic case filing and docketing system used by the Bankruptcy Court. The administrative procedures shall include procedures, rules, and regulations concerning, among other things: (1) the registration of attorneys, trustees, examiners, the United States Trustee, and other persons as permitted by the Bankruptcy Court, to permit such registered persons to file documents electronically, to pay required filing fees in connection therewith, and to have electronic access to the electronic docket and to electronically filed documents and to pay fees in connection therewith; (2) safeguarding the integrity of the Bankruptcy Court’s docket and filed documents; (3) creation and maintenance of a secure mechanism for the creation and distribution of passwords to registered users so as to permit identification of persons filing documents electronically; and (4) establishment of procedures to provide for the functional equivalent of signatures of attorneys and other persons on electronically filed documents. Any fees collected pursuant to the Electronic Case Filing Procedures shall be consistent with the fee structure adopted by the Judicial Conference of the United States pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1913, 1914, 1926 and 1930, and any other applicable law. The Electronic Case Filing Procedures shall be available from the Bankruptcy Clerk and on the Bankruptcy Court’s website.

(c) Use of Passwords. With regard to passwords issued pursuant to the Electronic Case Filing Procedures:

(1) No person shall knowingly utilize, or cause or permit another person to utilize, a password without authorization from the person to whom it is issued.

(2) No attorney shall knowingly permit or cause to permit a password assigned to that attorney to be utilized by any person other than an authorized employee of his or her law firm.

(3) A person whose password is used to electronically file a document thereby certifies that such person has authorized the filing. An attorney whose password is used to electronically file a document thereby certifies that such attorney and the attorney’s law firm have authorized the filing.

(d) Consequences of Electronic Filing. Electronic filing of a document constitutes filing of the document for all purposes of the Bankruptcy Rules and these Rules and constitutes entry of the document on the docket kept by the Bankruptcy Clerk under Bankruptcy Rule 5003. When a document has been filed electronically, the official record is the electronic recording of the document as stored in accordance with the Electronic Case Filing Procedures, and the filing party is bound by the document as filed. A document filed electronically is deemed filed at the date and time stated on the notice of electronic filing sent pursuant to the Electronic Case Filing Procedures.

(a) Electronic Filing by Attorneys, Trustees, and Examiners. Any document filed by any attorney, any trustee or examiner serving in any case pending in the Bankruptcy Court, or the United States Trustee, shall be filed electronically, unless otherwise permitted by these Rules.

(b) Exceptions to Electronic Filing.

(1) Miscellaneous Documents Filed by Attorney Who Is Not A Registered User. An attorney who is not a Registered User shall not be required to file any of the following documents electronically: (A) a proof of claim or amendments thereto; (B) a notice of appearance in a bankruptcy case for the purpose of receiving notices; (C) a ballot on a Chapter 11 plan. The exceptions for the filing of these documents do not excuse the attorney from the requirements of BLR 5005-6(a) with regard to the filing of any other documents in the case or in any adversary proceeding relating thereto.

(2) Discretionary Exceptions. A Bankruptcy Judge may in his or her discretion authorize other exceptions to the electronic filing of documents and may order that certain documents not be filed electronically.

(3) Emergencies. In the event that an emergency situation prevents a Registered User from timely filing a document electronically through the Electronic Case Filing Program, such person shall be permitted to file the document either conventionally or through alternative means set forth in the Electronic Case Filing Procedures.

(4) Inability to File Electronically. An attorney required to file electronically may submit to the Chief Bankruptcy Judge, or his or her designate, an “Affidavit of Inability to File Electronically” certifying that he or she is unable to comply with the electronic filing requirements. The Affidavit shall state the circumstances which justify an exception from electronic filing. Upon the first submission of such an affidavit, the attorney shall have an automatic grace period of 90 days during which he or she shall not be required to electronically file documents. Should the attorney require additional time beyond the grace period, he or she may petition the Chief Bankruptcy Judge, or his or her designate, for such additional time as may be necessary and said request shall be considered on a case by case basis.

(5) Documents under seal. A document that a person desires to file under seal may be prepared in paper form and submitted to the Clerk's Office. The motion to file such document under seal shall be filed electronically, if the filing party is required to file electronically.

As used in this Rule, the word “attorney” means an attorney admitted to practice in the Bankruptcy Court.

(a) Format Requirements. An electronically filed document shall be prepared in accordance with the format requirements of BLR 5005-1 and 5005-3, except as otherwise provided by this Rule and the Electronic Case Filing Procedures.

(b) Signatures.

(1) Signature of attorneys on document electronically filed by attorney. A document electronically filed by an attorney that an attorney signs or is required to sign under the Bankruptcy Rules or other applicable law shall identify each attorney signing such document in accordance with BLR 5005-1(e). If the document is filed electronically in a text format, the signature of each attorney signing the document shall be indicated above the signature line with the notation “/s/” above the name of the person signing the document or by some other notation that clearly indicates that the document has been signed and by whom. If the document is filed electronically in an image format, the signature of each attorney signing the document shall be affixed to the original before the document is created in image format. Upon the electronic filing of the document, the signature of each such attorney as thus evidenced shall constitute a signature of each such attorney under Bankruptcy Rule 9011. The electronic filing of the document constitutes a representation and certification by the attorney filing the document that each attorney whose signature is thus evidenced (A) has signed or authorized such attorney’s signature and (B) has authorized the filing of the document as thus signed.

(2) Signature on document electronically filed by non-attorney. A document that is electronically filed by a person who is not an attorney and that the filing person signs or is required to sign shall state the name of each person signing the document. If the document is filed electronically in a text format, the signature of the person signing the document shall be indicated above the signature line with the notation “/s/” above the name or by some other notation that clearly indicates that the document has been signed and by whom. If the document is filed electronically in an image format, the signature of the person signing the document shall be affixed to the original before the document is created in image format. Upon the electronic filing of the document, the signature of such person as thus evidenced shall constitute a signature of such person under Bankruptcy Rule 9011. The electronic filing of the document constitutes a representation and certification by the person filing the document that the person whose signature is thus evidenced (A) has signed or authorized such signature and (B) has authorized the filing of the document as thus signed.

(3) Signatures on document of persons other than person filing electronically. An electronically filed document (other than a proof or transfer of a proof of claim filed in accordance with BLR 5005-9) that is signed by a person other than, or in addition to, the person electronically filing the document, shall state the name and state bar registration or identification number of each attorney (if any) and the name of any other person signing such document. If the document is filed electronically in a text format, the signature of each person signing the document shall be indicated above the signature line with the notation “/s/” above the name of each person signing the document or by some other notation that clearly indicates that the document has been signed and by whom. If the document is filed electronically in an image format, the signature of each person signing the document shall be affixed to the original before the document is created in image format. Upon the electronic filing of the document, the signature of each such person as thus evidenced shall constitute a signature of each such person under Bankruptcy Rule 9011. Except as provided in subsection (g), the electronic filing of the document constitutes a representation and certification by the person filing the document (A) that each person whose signature is thus indicated on the document has signed it and (B) that, at the time of filing, the person filing the document electronically is in possession at the time of filing of an original document signed as indicated on the electronically filed document. The requirements of (b)(1) or (b)(2), as applicable, apply with regard to the signature, if any, of the filing person.

(c) Verified Papers.

(1) Except as provided in subsection (g), a person electronically filing a Verified Paper thereby certifies and represents that such filer has in such filer’s possession at the time of filing the fully executed original Verified Paper, with an original signature affixed thereto signed by each person whose signature is indicated thereon.

(2) A person electronically filing a Verified Paper in image format thereby certifies that the image is an exact copy of the original. A person electronically filing a Verified Paper in text format thereby certifies that its text is identical to the original.

(3) The following Rules apply with regard to a Verified Paper filed in text format:

(A) A person electronically filing a Verified Paper in text format shall conform the copy filed electronically to the original Verified Paper. Each signature shall be indicated above the signature line with the notation “/s/” above the name of the person signing or by some other notation that clearly indicates that the document has been signed and by whom. Hand-written or stamped text or notations, including without limitation dates and stamps concerning the commissions of notaries public, shall be typed on the filed copy. Seals shall be noted by such expressions as “Legal Seal,” “L.S.,” “Notary Seal,” etc., as appropriate.

(B) Except as provided in subsection (g), the person filing the Verified Paper: (i) shall maintain in such person's files the original Verified Paper in its entirety for a period ending one year after the case or proceeding in which the Verified Paper is filed is closed; (ii) shall produce the original for inspection and copying upon request of the Bankruptcy Court or any party in interest; and (iii) if ordered by the Bankruptcy Court, shall transmit the original to the Bankruptcy Clerk.

(C) If the Verified Paper is a paper that must be verified or contain an unsworn declaration as provided in 28 U.S.C. § 1746 as required by Bankruptcy Rule 1008 (including any petition; list of creditors; schedule of assets and liabilities, current income and expenditures, or executory contracts and unexpired leases; statement of financial affairs; statement of intention; and any amendment to any of the foregoing, as set forth in Bankruptcy Rules 1002, 1003, 1004.1, 1007, and 1009) (a “Rule 1008 Paper”), then each debtor and the person filing such Rule 1008 Paper shall sign, and the attorney for the debtor shall file in image format, a declaration under penalty of perjury substantially conforming to Local Form 5005-7(c)(3)(B), simultaneously with the Rule 1008 Paper.

(d) Motions Under Seal. BLR 5005-6(b)(5) governs motions with regard to the filing of documents under seal.

(e) Chapter 7 Trustee Report of No Distribution. A trustee may file a report of no distribution by making a docket entry with appropriate text in such form as is approved by the United States Trustee without filing a pleading containing the report and said trustee shall not be required to maintain any original or scanned copy of said report or otherwise comply with the requirements of paragraph (c) of this Rule with regard to said report.

(f) The Electronic Case Filing Procedures may authorize the filing of routine pleadings and papers by the making of a docket entry with appropriate text as is approved by the Bankruptcy Court.

(g) Special Provisions Regarding Certain Pleadings in Chapter 13 Cases.

(1) This subsection shall apply only to the following amended documents in Chapter 13 cases in which the debtor is represented by an attorney who is authorized to file documents electronically: amendments to plans and post confirmation plan modifications; amendments to statements of financial affairs and schedules and summaries of schedules; and amendments to Form 22C (individually, a “Specified Amended Document”).

(2) The electronic filing of a Specified Amended Document constitutes a representation and certification by the debtor’s attorney (A) that the debtor has signed it and (B) that, at the time of filing, the debtor’s attorney is in possession of either (i) an original document signed by the debtor or (ii) an image format or other facsimile of the document, including the signature page, received either electronically or by facsimile machine from the debtor. If the Specified Amended Document is filed with “/s/” above the name of the debtor, as opposed to with a copy of the signature in image format, the electronic filing of the document constitutes a representation and certification by the debtor’s attorney that the debtor has signed it and that, at the time of filing, the debtor’s attorney is in possession, at the time of filing, of an original signature of the debtor on the document signed as indicated on the electronically filed document. If a Specified Amended Document is filed electronically with the signature in image format, including by facsimile, the electronic filing of the Specified Amended Document constitutes a representation and certification that the debtor’s attorney transmitted the entire Specified Amended Document to the debtor for review and signature, communicated with the debtor regarding the substance and purpose of the Specified Amended Document, received the entire Specified Amended Document, including the signature page, back from the debtor electronically, including by facsimile, and received an express authorization from the debtor to file the Specified Amended Document.

(3) The debtor’s attorney (A) shall maintain in his or her files the electronic or facsimile transmission received from the debtor containing the Specified Amended Document in its entirety for a period ending one year after the case or proceeding in which the Specified Amended Document is filed is closed; (B) shall produce the electronic or facsimile transmission for inspection and copying upon request of the Bankruptcy Court or any party in interest; and (C) if ordered by the Bankruptcy Court, shall transmit the electronic or facsimile transmission to the Bankruptcy Clerk.

(4) Except to the extent provided in this subsection (g), all other provisions of BLR 5005-7 shall apply to the electronic filing of a Specified Amended Document.
 

(a) An electronically filed document must be served in accordance with the requirements of the Bankruptcy Code, the Bankruptcy Rules, and these Rules. A Certificate of Service may be filed electronically and may be appended to the document to which it refers.

(b) Except as set forth in paragraph (c) below, service upon a Registered User may be effected by service of a notice of electronic filing in accordance with the Electronic Case Filing Procedures and in the form set forth therein. The electronic service of such notice of electronic filing of a document shall constitute service of such document to such Registered User so that the filing party shall not be required to serve by mail or hand delivery the filed document to which the notice of electronic filing refers. By becoming a Registered User and accepting a password for participation in the Electronic Case Filing system, a Registered User waives the right to receive notice and service by mail or hand delivery, including notices described in Bankruptcy Rules 2002(a)(2)(3) and (6).

(c) Notices mandated by Rules 2002(a)(1), (4), (5), (7), (8) and (b)(1) and (2) shall be served by paper copies in accordance with those Rules, unless a party in interest requests pursuant to Bankruptcy Rule 9036 that such notices be given electronically.

(a) A Registered User may file a proof of claim or a transfer of claim electronically in accordance with these Rules and the Electronic Case Filing Procedures. BLR 3002-1 applies to an electronically filed proof of claim or transfer of a claim, except as otherwise provided by these Rules or the Electronic Case Procedures.

(b) An electronically filed proof of claim or transfer of claim shall be signed in accordance with BLR 5005-7(b). No person or entity shall cause or permit a proof of claim or transfer of claim to be filed electronically without the express authorization of the individual whose signature appears on the electronically filed document and the person or entity on whose behalf the document is being filed. When an individual creditor or employee or agent of any creditor who is a Registered User electronically files a proof of claim or a transfer of claim, that individual creditor, employee, or agent certifies (1) that he or she is authorized to file the proof of claim or transfer of claim by the entity on whose behalf the document is being filed; (2) the creditor is the same entity who is a Registered User; and (3) the individual whose signature is shown on the proof of claim or transfer of claim has authorized such signature and the filing of that document. Upon the electronic filing of a proof of claim or a transfer of claim, the signature in accordance with BLR 5005-7(b) shall constitute a signature for purposes of Bankruptcy Rule 9011, of 18 U.S.C. §§152 and 3571, and of other applicable law.

(a) By Party. A request for withdrawal of the reference of a case or a proceeding referred to the Bankruptcy Court shall be made by motion filed with the Bankruptcy Clerk. All such motions shall conform to BLR 7007-1. In addition, all such motions shall clearly and conspicuously state, "RELIEF IS SOUGHT FROM A UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE," and should refer to and comply with 28 U.S.C. § 157(d) and Bankruptcy Rule 5011(a).

(b) By Bankruptcy Judge. A request for withdrawal of the reference of a case or a proceeding referred to the Bankruptcy Court may be made sua sponte by a Bankruptcy Judge at any time.

(a) Bankruptcy Cases. A motion to withdraw the reference of all or any part of a bankruptcy case shall be served and filed on or before 30 days after the date first scheduled for the meeting of creditors held pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 341(a).

(b) Adversary Proceedings. A motion to withdraw the reference of all or any part of an adversary proceeding shall be served and filed not later than 14 days after service of any timely filed pleading or paper in which the ground for the motion to withdraw the reference first arises.

(c) Contested Matters. A motion to withdraw the reference of a contested matter within a case shall be served and filed no later than 14 days after service of the motion, application or objection which initiates the contested matter.

A party moving to withdraw the reference shall attach, as exhibits to the motion, copies of all pertinent portions of any record in the Bankruptcy Court that the party believes will be necessary for consideration of the motion. The responding party shall similarly attach, as exhibits to the response, copies of all additional pertinent portions of the record in the Bankruptcy Court that the party believes will be necessary for consideration of the motion or response. When ruling on the motion, the District Court may consider only those portions of the record that are attached as exhibits.

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