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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.

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

(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 is not 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 other documents in the case and 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 is permitted to file the document in paper form or through alternative means set forth in the CM/ECF Administrative Procedures.

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

(5) Documents under seal. A document that a person desires to file under seal may be prepared in paper form and submitted to the Bankruptcy Clerk. The motion to file such document under seal must 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 must be prepared in accordance with the format requirements of BLR 5005-1 and 5005-3, except as otherwise provided by this rule and the CM/ECF Administrative 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 must 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 must 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 must 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 constitutes a signature of each such attorney under Bankruptcy Rule 9011. The electronic filing of the document constitutes a 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 must 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 must 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 must 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 constitutes 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, must state the name and state bar registration 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 must 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 must 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 constitutes a signature of each such person under Bankruptcy Rule 9011. 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 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) A person electronically filing a Verified Paper certifies that such filer has in such filer’s possession at the time of filing the fully executed original Verified Paper with an original signature of 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 must conform the copy filed electronically to the original Verified Paper. Each signature must 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 and stamped text and notations, including dates and stamps concerning the commissions of notaries public, must be typed on the filed copy. Seals must be noted by such expressions as “Legal Seal,” “L.S.,” “Notary Seal,” etc., as appropriate.

(B) The person filing the Verified Paper: (i) must 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) must 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, must transmit the original to the Bankruptcy Clerk.

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

(e) 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 the trustee is not 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 CM/ECF Administrative Procedures may authorize the filing of routine pleadings and papers by the making of a docket entry with appropriate text.

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

(1) This subsection applies 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 Forms 122C-1 and 122C-2 (individually, a “Specified Amended Document”).

(2) The electronic filing of a Specified Amended Document constitutes a 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 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 express authorization from the debtor to file the Specified Amended Document.

(3) The debtor’s attorney (A) must 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) must 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, must 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 apply to the electronic filing of a Specified Amended Document.

In all cases in this Court, including adversary proceedings, Registered Users agree to receive notice and service of pleadings and documents other than those pleadings and documents required to be served on the Registered User under Bankruptcy Rule 7004, by electronic means and waive other service through the notice of electronic filing for notices, pleadings and documents, from both the Bankruptcy Court and from other Registered Users. The Bankruptcy Court’s General Order with regard to electronic service of pleadings, as it may be amended, addresses the mechanics of electronic service.

(a) A Registered User may file a proof of claim or a transfer of claim electronically in accordance with these Rules and the CM/ECF Administrative Procedures. BLR 3001-1 applies to an electronically filed proof of claim or transfer of a claim, except as otherwise provided by these Rules and the CM/ECF Administrative Procedures.

(b) An electronically filed proof of claim or transfer of claim must be signed in accordance with BLR 5005-7(b). No person or entity may 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) constitutes 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 must be made by motion. All such motions must conform to BLR 7007-1. In addition, all such motions must 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 must be served and filed on or before thirty 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 must be served and filed not later than the time for answering or otherwise responding to the 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 must be served and filed not later than fourteen days after service of the motion, application, or objection that initiates the contested matter.

A party moving to withdraw the reference must 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 must 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.

Opposing parties must file with the Bankruptcy Clerk and serve on all parties to the matter as to which the withdrawal of the reference has been requested, their written responses to the motion to withdraw the reference within fourteen days after being served with a copy of the motion. The moving party may serve and file a reply within fourteen days after service of a response.

When the record is complete for purposes of transmittal, but without awaiting the filing of any transcripts, the Bankruptcy Clerk must promptly transmit to the District Clerk the motion papers and attached exhibits. After the District Court has assigned a number to the case or matter, all documents pertaining to the matter under review by the District Court must be filed with the District Clerk. The parties must continue to file all documents relating to all other matters in the bankruptcy case or adversary proceeding with the Bankruptcy Clerk.

No continuance of any trial, pretrial conference or other hearing will be granted on the stipulation of counsel alone but only by approval of the Bankruptcy Court.

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