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Bankruptcy Court Adopts New Rules and Forms; Public Seminar to be Held on November 12, 2009

The United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas has adopted new rules and forms. These new rules and forms were adopted after receipt of significant public comment and after considerable deliberation by the Court.

The changes are summarized as follows:

     1. Effective December 1, 2009, the Bankruptcy Local Rules and Bankruptcy Local Forms are amended to conform to the protocol for “counting days” that has been adopted in the National Rules. The rules will also be renumbered to conform with a national numbering system. With one exception, the substantive changes that were published for comment were adopted without change. The one change from the forms originally published for comment concerns the deadline for the filing of responses to motions for relief from the stay in BLR 4001. The deadline is established at 7 days prior to the hearing on the motion. The renumbered rules incorporating all amendments are available on the Court's web site.

     2. A new form has been approved for the filing of Mortgage Payment Adjustments in chapter 13 cases. Use of the new form may begin immediately and must begin not later than December 1, 2009. The new form is available on the Court’s website.

     3. Bankruptcy Local Rule 3001-1 was adopted, with an effective date of April 1, 2010. The rule mandates the use of court approved forms as attachments to proofs of claim on claims filed by home mortgage lenders. Mortgage lenders may immediately commence submitting proposed forms for approval to the Clerk of the Court at Approved forms will be posted on the Court’s website commencing November 15, 2009. A copy of Rule 3001-1 is posted on the Court’s website.

     4. The form of motion for relief from the stay on home mortgages in chapter 13 bankruptcy cases has been amended (as Form M200-A), with an effective date of April 1, 2010. The new form is available on the Court’s web site. The new form allows for a cross-reference to the loan history on the proof of claim and also allows for the Court to order a complete loan history on motion of a party in interest. Form M-200-A should be utilized only if a proof of claim has been filed in accordance with BLR 3001-1.

On November 12, 2009 at 11:00 a.m., Judges Isgur and Schmidt will conduct a public seminar at the 6th Floor Jury Assembly at the United States Courthouse in Houston, Texas on new Bankruptcy Local Rule 3001-1. Lawyers and clients are invited. The purpose of the seminar will be to explain how the new rule works and to educate lenders and loan servicers on the use of an automated form as an attachment to a proof of claim. Persons requesting further information may contact Judge Schmidt at 361-888-3207 or Judge Isgur at 713-250-5635.