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.

This Rule applies only in adversary proceedings and whenever the Bankruptcy Court makes Part VII of the Bankruptcy Rules applicable in a contested matter.

(a) Length. All discovery proceedings shall be initiated promptly so that discovery may be initiated and completed within the time determined in accordance with BLR 7016(b), unless the Bankruptcy Court for cause shown shortens or extends the time for discovery. Discovery must be initiated sufficiently early in the discovery period to permit the filing of answers and responses thereto within the time limitations of the existing discovery period.

(b) Extensions of Time. Motions for extensions of time for discovery must be filed prior to the expiration of the original or previously extended discovery period. A request for extension shall include the date issue was joined, the date on which the time limit in question is to expire, the dates of any and all previous extensions of time, and a description of the additional discovery that is needed.

(c) Expert Witnesses. Any party who desires to use the testimony of an expert witness shall designate the expert sufficiently early in the discovery period to permit the opposing party the opportunity to depose the expert and, if desired, to name its own expert witness sufficiently in advance of the close of discovery so that a similar discovery deposition of the second expert might also be conducted prior to the close of discovery.

Any party who does not comply with the provisions of the foregoing paragraph may not be permitted to offer the testimony of the party's expert.

Any party objecting to an expert’s testimony based on Rule 702 of the Federal Rules of Evidence and based on cases such as Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharms., Inc., 509 U.S. 579, 113 S.Ct. 2786 (1993) shall file a motion no later than the date that the proposed pretrial order is submitted. Otherwise, such objections may be waived.

(a) Filing Not Generally Required. Interrogatories, requests for documents, requests for admission, and answers and responses thereto shall be served upon other counsel or parties, but they shall not be routinely filed with the Bankruptcy Court. The party responsible for service of the discovery material shall, however, file a certificate with the Bankruptcy Clerk indicating the date of service. The party shall also retain the original discovery material and become its custodian. The original of all depositions upon oral examination shall be retained by the party taking the deposition.

(b) Selective Filing Required for Motions, Trial, and Appeal.

(1) The custodial party shall file with the Bankruptcy Clerk at the time of use at trial or with the filing of a motion those portions of depositions, interrogatories, requests for documents, requests for admission and answers or responses thereto which are used at trial or which are necessary to the motion.

(2) Where discovery materials not previously in the record are needed for appeal purposes, the Bankruptcy Court, upon application, may order or counsel may stipulate in writing that the necessary materials will be filed with the District Court Clerk.

(c) Depositions Under Seal. At the request of any attorney of record in the case, the Bankruptcy Clerk may open the original copy of any deposition which has been filed with the Bankruptcy Clerk in accordance with this Rule. The Bankruptcy Clerk shall note on the deposition the date and time at which the deposition was opened. The deposition shall not be removed from the Bankruptcy Clerk's office.

(a) Good Faith Effort to Resolve Disputes. Counsel and unrepresented parties shall have the duty to make a good faith effort to resolve by agreement among themselves any disputes that arise in the course of discovery.

(b) Form of Motion. When, despite their good faith efforts, discovery disputes cannot be resolved without the intervention of the Bankruptcy Court, a party may file a motion to compel discovery in accordance with Rules 26, 33, 34, 36, and 37 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The moving party shall attach to the motion a statement certifying that counsel for movant, or the movant, if unrepresented, has in good faith conferred or attempted to confer with the party not making disclosure or discovery in an effort to secure disclosure or discovery by agreement but that such efforts were not successful. The motion shall also state the issues that remain to be resolved.

A motion to compel shall:

(1) Quote verbatim each interrogatory, request for admission, or request for production to which objection is taken;

(2) State the specific objection;

(3) State the grounds assigned for the objection (if not apparent from the objection); and

(4) Cite authority and include a discussion of the reasons assigned as supporting the motion.

The motion shall be arranged so that the objection, grounds, authority, and supporting reasons follow the verbatim statement of each specific interrogatory, request for admission, or request for production to which an objection is raised. If the ground for the motion to compel is the opposing party’s failure to respond, the movant need attach copies of the discovery requests only.

(c) Procedures. Motions to compel and responses thereto are subject to the general motion requirements set forth in BLR 7007-1. A response to a motion to compel shall be served within 14 days after service of the motion.

(d) Time Limitation for Filing. A motion to compel discovery must be filed within the later of (i) the close of discovery or (ii) 14 days after the date for responding to the discovery request(s) upon which the motion is based, unless the Bankruptcy Court orders otherwise. The close of discovery is established by the expiration of the original or extended discovery period or by written notice of all counsel, filed with the Bankruptcy Court, indicating that discovery was completed earlier.

(a) Dismissal Authorized. The Bankruptcy Court may, with or without notice to the parties, dismiss an adversary proceeding or contested matter for want of prosecution if:

(1) A plaintiff or movant willfully fails or refuses to make an adversary proceeding or contested matter ready or refuses to cause same to be made ready for placement on the trial calendar;

(2) A plaintiff or movant shall, after notice, fail or refuse to appear at the time and place fixed for pretrial or other hearing or trial or fail or refuse to obey a lawful order of the Bankruptcy Court;

(3) An adversary proceeding or contested matter has been pending in the Bankruptcy Court for more than six months without any substantial proceedings of record having been taken, as shown by the record docket or other manner; or

(4) A complaint or motion scheduled for trial or hearing is removed from the court’s calender at the request of the plaintiff or movant upon the representation that the matter has been resolved, and the plaintiff or movant does not submit a consent order, file a dismissal of the complaint or motion, or otherwise file appropriate papers to effect the resolution of the matter within 30 days of the date the trial or hearing was scheduled.

(b) Adjudication on the Merits. In accordance with the provisions of Rule 41(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a dismissal for want of prosecution operates as an adjudication upon the merits of the action unless the Bankruptcy Court specifies otherwise in its order of dismissal.

(a) Form of Motion.

(1) The movant for summary judgment shall attach to the motion a separate and concise statement of the material facts, numbered separately, as to which the movant contends no genuine issue exists to be tried. Statements in the form of issues or legal conclusions (rather than material facts) will not be considered by the Bankruptcy Court. Affidavits and the introductory portions of briefs do not constitute a statement of material facts.

(2) The respondent to a motion for summary judgment shall attach to the response a separate and concise statement of material facts, numbered separately, as to which the respondent contends a genuine issue exists to be tried. Response should be made to each of the movant's numbered material facts. All material facts contained in the moving party's statement that are not specifically controverted in respondent's statement shall be deemed admitted. The response that a party has insufficient knowledge to admit or deny is not an acceptable response unless the party has complied with the provisions of Rule 56(f) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

(3) All documents and other record materials relied upon by a party moving for or opposing a motion for summary judgment shall be clearly identified for the Bankruptcy Court. Where appropriate, dates and specific page numbers shall be given.

(b) Time. Motions for summary judgment shall be filed as soon as possible, but, unless otherwise ordered by the Bankruptcy Court, not later than 21 days after the close of discovery, as established by the expiration of the original or extended discovery period or by written notice of all counsel, filed with the Bankruptcy Court, indicating that discovery was completed earlier.

(c) A motion for summary judgment will be decided without a hearing unless the Bankruptcy Court directs otherwise.

LR 67 is applicable in the Bankruptcy Court except that:

(a) The Bankruptcy Clerk may deposit unclaimed funds as set forth in LR 67.1(b)(2), after a reasonable period of time, as determined by the Bankruptcy Clerk; and

(b) Any order of disbursal of registry funds submitted pursuant to LR 67.1D(2), shall show a combined total for principal and interest.

(a) The words "Bankruptcy Clerk" refer to the Bankruptcy Court Clerk and deputy bankruptcy clerks.

(b) The words “Bankruptcy Code” refer to Title 11 of the United States Code, as amended from time to time.

(c) The words "Bankruptcy Court" refer to the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Georgia and not to any particular judge of the Bankruptcy Court.

(d) The words "Bankruptcy Judge" refer to any United States Bankruptcy Judge exercising jurisdiction with respect to cases or proceedings filed in the United States Bankruptcy Court.

(e) The words “Bankruptcy Rules” refer to the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure, as amended from time to time.

(f) The words "District Clerk" refer to the District Court Clerk and deputy clerks.

(g) The words "District Court" refer to the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia and not to any particular judge or magistrate judge of the District Court.

(h) The words "District Judge" refer to any United States District Judge exercising jurisdiction with respect to cases or proceedings in the District Court or the Bankruptcy Court.

(i) The words “Electronic Case Filing Procedures” refer to the administrative procedures from time to time established by the Bankruptcy Court with regard to the electronic case filing and docketing system used by the Bankruptcy Court as provided in BLR 5005-5(b).

(j) The words “Electronic Case Filing Program” refer to the program of the Bankruptcy Court that, in accordance with the provisions of the Electronic Case Filing Procedures, permits Registered Users to file certain papers in the Bankruptcy Court electronically through internet access and to pay required filing fees in connection therewith.

(k) The words “image format” refer to the format of a document that has been scanned to create a graphics file so that, when the document is electronically filed, a user electronically retrieving the document is able to view an image of the document.

(l) The words “Registered User” refer to a person who is registered to participate in the Bankruptcy Court’s Electronic Case Filing program and has been issued a password.

(m) The words “text format” refer to the format of a document initially created using word processing software.

(n) The words “Verified Paper” refer to a pleading or other document that a person signs and thereby verifies, certifies, declares, affirms or swears under oath or penalty of perjury concerning the truth of matters set forth in that pleading or document, except that “Verified Paper” does not include a Certificate of Service signed by an attorney admitted to practice in the Bankruptcy Court or a proof of claim. Verified Papers include, without limitation, petitions for relief under the Bankruptcy Code; lists of creditors, schedules of assets, schedules of liabilities, schedules of current income and expenditures, schedules of executory contracts and unexpired leases, statements of financial affairs, and statements of intention required to be filed under Bankruptcy Rule 1007(b); affidavits; verified applications, motions, complaints, answers, counterclaims, cross claims and replies; and any amendments to any of the foregoing.

(o) Whenever used in these Rules and the context so requires, the masculine gender shall be construed to include the feminine gender.

Whenever an attorney seeks an immediate order of the Bankruptcy Court, the attorney must submit a motion to the Bankruptcy Judge to whom the case has been assigned if the Bankruptcy Judge is present within the district. If the Bankruptcy Judge is not available or if the case has not yet been assigned to a particular Bankruptcy Judge, the attorney shall contact the Bankruptcy Clerk for instructions as to which Bankruptcy Judge the motion should be submitted. All courtesy copies of proposed orders must be clearly marked.

Communications to a Bankruptcy Judge regarding a request for an order or other relief (including a request for an extension of time) or matters that are or may be in dispute, or communications of facts or legal issues regarding a particular case, proceeding, or matter pending before that Bankruptcy Judge, shall be by written motion, pleading, or other paper, and not by letter. Ordinarily, a letter seeking such action will not be treated as a motion, will not be considered by the Bankruptcy Court, and will not be filed with the Bankruptcy Clerk. Parties and their counsel shall not provide the Bankruptcy Court with copies of correspondence among themselves relating to matters that are or may be in dispute.

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