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 adversary proceedings or contested matters wherein a response is required, the time within which a party is required to answer or otherwise respond may be extended once, by consent of all counsel and all the parties without the necessity of an order of the Bankruptcy Court, for a period not to exceed 30 days, provided that the stipulation is signed before the expiration of the period originally prescribed and promptly filed with the Bankruptcy Court and provided that the extension is permitted by law. All motions or requests for an extension of time must set forth the date of the original expiration and any other extensions of time previously granted.

The Bankruptcy Clerk shall serve the notices required under the following Bankruptcy Rules:

(a) All notices of dismissal of a case;

(b) Bankruptcy Rule 2002(a)(1): Notice of meeting of creditors pursuant to § 341 of the Bankruptcy Code, unless otherwise ordered by the Bankruptcy Court;

(c) Bankruptcy Rule 2002(a)(8): Notice of time for filing claims;

(d) Bankruptcy Rule 3004: Notice of filing of proof of claim by the debtor or trustee;

(e) Bankruptcy Rule 3020(c): Notice of confirmation;

(f) Bankruptcy Rule 4006: Notice of denial, revocation, or waiver of discharge;

(g) Bankruptcy Rule 8004: Notice of filing of notice of appeal;

(h) Bankruptcy Rule 9014(c): Notice of entry of order regarding applicability of Rules of Part VII of Bankruptcy Rules;

(i) Bankruptcy Rule 9020: Notice of hearing on contempt;

(j) Bankruptcy Rule 9022(a): Notice of entry of judgment or order.

(a) Unless the Bankruptcy Court orders otherwise, the party filing a pleading or other paper that requires notice shall be responsible for, and is authorized and directed to provide, service of any notice required by the Bankruptcy Code or the Bankruptcy Rules, other than the notices specified in BLR 9007-1, except that the Bankruptcy Clerk shall serve notices if a Chapter 7 Trustee is required to serve a notice in a case in which no funds are available to pay the expense of such notice and the Chapter 7 Trustee requests that the Bankruptcy Clerk serve the notices. The party responsible for such service shall obtain a mailing list from the Bankruptcy Clerk. The moving party shall be responsible for payment of any charges unless exempt from Judicial Conference Fee Policies.

(b) Certificate of Service. Within three days of service, the party serving notices shall file a Certificate of Service with the Bankruptcy Clerk. The Certificate of Service shall be signed by the person who gave the notice, shall state the date and method of service, and shall set forth the names and addresses of entities served.

(c) Expenses of Noticing. The estate of any debtor is authorized to pay the expenses incurred in connection with the giving of any required notice hereunder, without the necessity of an order of the Bankruptcy Court. Any such payment shall be subject to review by the Bankruptcy Court and shall be disclosed in connection with any application for reimbursement of expenses.

(d) Notices to Creditors Added by Amendment. Whenever a debtor adds a creditor by amendment, the debtor must serve all creditors so added with all previously sent notices scheduling the meeting of creditors pursuant to § 341 of the Bankruptcy Code, and all notices and pleadings previously sent to all creditors whether such notices were served by the debtor, the Bankruptcy Clerk, or any other party in interest.

(a) Chapter 7 cases. In Chapter 7 cases, all notices required by Bankruptcy Rule 2002(a), except clause 4 thereof, which are mailed after the expiration of the time for the filing of proofs of claim pursuant to Bankruptcy Rule 3002(c) may, unless the Bankruptcy Court orders otherwise, be mailed only to: (1) creditors whose claims have been filed; (2) creditors, if any, who are still permitted to file claims by reason of an extension granted under Bankruptcy Rule 3002(c)(6); and (3) any entities which have requested notice.

(b) Change of Address. Any party in interest which desires that its address for notices be changed from the address shown on any proof of claim, request for notice, or other paper previously filed by such party must file such request with the Bankruptcy Clerk and serve a copy of same on the debtor's attorney, the United States Trustee, and the trustee. Changes of address must be filed in each adversary proceeding, and filing in the main case alone is not sufficient. A party shall not be entitled to notice at the new address in the absence of complete compliance with this Rule.

Any attorney who is admitted to the bar of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia pursuant to LR 83.1A is admitted to the bar of the Bankruptcy Court.

A non-resident attorney who is not an active member in good standing of the State Bar of Georgia, but who is a member in good standing of the bar of any United States Court or of the highest court of any State may apply in writing for permission to appear pro hac vice.

(a) Applications for admission pro hac vice with proposed orders may be obtained from the Bankruptcy Clerk. The applicant shall state under penalty of perjury the (i) applicant's residence address, (2) the applicant’s office address and telephone number, (3) the courts to which the applicant is admitted to practice and the date of admission, and (4) a statement that the applicant is in good standing and eligible to practice in all courts to which admitted. An attorney applying to appear pro hac vice must also designate a local member of the bar of the Bankruptcy Court with whom the opposing counsel and the Bankruptcy Court may readily communicate regarding the conduct of the case and upon whom papers shall be served. The address, telephone number, and written consent of the designated local counsel must be filed with the attorney's pro hac vice application. Applications for admission pro hac vice shall be accompanied by the appropriate filing fee and a proposed order to be signed by the Bankruptcy Judge and shall be presented to the Bankruptcy Clerk. The nonresident attorney may be permitted to appear pro hac vice in the discretion of the Bankruptcy Court.

(b) If the non-resident attorney fails to respond to any order of the Bankruptcy Court for appearance or otherwise, the designated local attorney shall have the responsibility and full authority to act for and on behalf of the client in all proceedings in connection with the case, including hearings, pretrial conferences, and trial.

LR 83.1C and LR 83.1F are applicable to and govern all actions and proceedings in the Bankruptcy Court.

(a) The filing of a pleading or paper signed by an attorney in a case or adversary proceeding constitutes that attorney's appearance as attorney of record for the party on whose behalf the pleading is filed. An attorney in a different firm who files a subsequent pleading or paper on behalf of that same party must also file a notice of appearance with the Bankruptcy Clerk. An attorney who fails to make a proper appearance in a case or proceeding may, at the discretion of the Court, be barred from representing the party at trial or in any other proceeding. An attorney who files a petition initiating a case on behalf of a debtor, or who appears for a debtor in a case other than as special counsel for a debtor for limited purposes, shall represent the debtor in all matters in the case, including contested matters and adversary proceedings, unless the Bankruptcy Court permits the attorney to withdraw in accordance with BLR 9010-5.

(b) Pro Se Appearance Limitation. A party represented by an attorney may not appear or act in the party's own behalf in the case or proceeding or take any step therein unless the party has first given notice to the attorney of record and to the opposing party that the party intends to act pro se. Nonetheless, the Court may, in its discretion, hear a party in open court even though the party has previously appeared, or is represented by, an attorney.

(c) Duty to Supplement. Counsel and parties appearing pro se shall have an affirmative duty in all cases and proceedings to file with the Bankruptcy Clerk a notice of any change in address or telephone number.

(a) Withdrawal Policy. An attorney who has appeared in a case or adversary proceeding, other than for the limited purpose of receiving notices, must obtain permission from the Bankruptcy Court to withdraw as counsel, unless substitute counsel has made an appearance for that party. Counsel may make a fee arrangement limiting the services to be performed without the payment of additional fees, but the failure of the client, including a debtor, to comply with the fee arrangement is merely a ground to seek withdrawal and not a basis on which the attorney may refuse to render services. Counsel will not ordinarily be allowed to withdraw if withdrawal would delay the progress of an adversary proceeding or contested matter.

(b) Withdrawal Procedure. An attorney desiring to withdraw as counsel shall comply with the following procedure:

(1) The attorney shall give 14 days' notice to the client of the attorney’s intention to request permission to withdraw. Such notice shall be served on the client personally or by U.S. Mail at the client’s last known address and shall contain at least the following:

(A) That the attorney wishes to withdraw and intends to file a motion to withdraw;

(B) The style of the case(s), adversary proceeding(s), and contested matter(s) in which counsel seeks to withdraw; for each, the name(s) address(es), and telephone number(s) of opposing counsel; and the address and telephone number of the Bankruptcy Clerk.

(C) That the Bankruptcy Court retains jurisdiction of the matters;

(D) That, if the attorney’s withdrawal is permitted: (1) The client will have the obligation to promptly file with the Bankruptcy Court, and mail to all adverse parties or their counsel, a written statement showing (A) the names of the parties and the number of each case, adversary proceeding, or contested matter in which the client is a party and (B) the client’s current telephone number and mailing address, and that the statement must be amended promptly if the client’s telephone number or mailing address changes; (2) The client will have the obligation to respond to any discovery or motions, to take other actions as are appropriate or required, and to prepare for any trial or hearing that may be scheduled in any matter, or to hire other counsel to do so; (3) The failure or refusal of the client to meet these obligations may result in adverse consequences; (4) Service of notices, pleadings, and other papers may be made upon the client at the client’s last known address; and (5) If the client is a corporation, a corporation may only be represented in the Bankruptcy Court by an attorney, an attorney must sign all pleadings submitted to the court, a corporate officer may not represent the corporation in the Bankruptcy Court unless that officer is also an attorney, and failure to comply with this Rule could result in adverse consequences to the corporate party;

(E) The dates of any hearings or trials that have been scheduled and any applicable deadlines (such as deadlines for responding to discovery or motions or for filing pleadings, motions, or other papers), and that the holding of such hearings or trials and any deadlines will not be affected by the withdrawal of counsel; and

(F) Unless the withdrawal is with the client’s consent, that the client has 14 days from the date of service of the notice to contact the attorney and state any objections to the attorney’s withdrawal.

(2) The attorney shall file a motion with the Bankruptcy Clerk requesting permission to withdraw. The motion shall include the attorney’s certification that the attorney has given the client 14 days' prior written notice of the attorney’s intention to request permission to withdraw in accordance with the provisions of BLR 9010-5b(1) by the method described in the motion and shall state, to the best of the attorney’s knowledge, the last known address and telephone number for the client. A copy of the notice shall be attached to the motion. The motion shall be accompanied by a notice to the client that any objection to the motion must be filed within 14 days after its service and the address of the Bankruptcy Clerk’s office where the objection may be filed.

(3) Fourteen days after service of the motion, the Bankruptcy Clerk shall submit the motion and any responses to the Bankruptcy Judge for action thereon.

(c) Certificate of Consent to Withdrawal. An attorney wishing to withdraw may be relieved from the requirement to file a motion to withdraw by filing a Certificate of Consent with the Bankruptcy Clerk that has been signed by the client, the withdrawing attorney, and the substituting attorney, if one has been selected by the client. If the client has not retained substitute counsel, the Certificate of Consent shall include notice to the client of the matters set forth in subparagraph (b)(1) above.

(d) Responsibilities of a Party No Longer Represented. A party no longer represented by an attorney must promptly file with the Bankruptcy Clerk, and mail to all adverse parties or their counsel, a written statement showing (1) the caption and number of each case, adversary proceeding, or contested matter in which such party is involved and (2) such party’s current telephone number and mailing address. That statement must be amended promptly if the party’s telephone number or mailing address changes. An unrepresented party’s mailing address lodged with the Bankruptcy Clerk constitutes the address at which such party may be served with subsequent papers in that matter, and failure to comply with these responsibilities may result in adverse consequences to such party.

(e) Leave of Absence. An attorney may seek a leave of absence by requesting that the Bankruptcy Court not place on a calendar on specified dates any matter involving that attorney’s client. A separate request must be made for each case or adversary proceeding in which the attorney has appeared. A request for a leave of absence for fewer than 21 days shall be made by letter addressed to the Bankruptcy Judge's courtroom deputy. The request is deemed granted when the letter is docketed. A request for a leave of absence for more than 21 days shall be made by application (accompanied by a proposed order and a Certificate of Service) stating the reason or reasons for the absence. The granting of a leave of absence neither extends previously set filing deadlines nor relieves counsel from complying with other deadlines imposed by the Bankruptcy Court or by applicable law or Rules.

Motions filed in the main case pursuant to Bankruptcy Rules 9013 and 9014 do not require briefs or memoranda of law, but parties may file such where they would materially assist the Bankruptcy Court in the determination of the issues. Such briefs or memoranda of law shall conform with BLR 7007-1.

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