In accordance with the "Bankruptcy Amendments and Federal Judgeship Act of 1984" which became effective on July 10, 1984, IT IS ORDERED that any or all cases under title 11 and any or all proceedings arising under title 11 or arising in or related to a case under title 11 shall be referred to the bankruptcy judges of this District. Dated at Milwaukee, Wisconsin, this 10th day of July, 1984.
In accordance with Rule 9029 of the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure and Rule 83 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, IT IS ORDERED that the Bankruptcy Judges of this district are authorized to adopt rules of practice and procedure. Dated at Milwaukee, Wisconsin, this 13th day of December, 1993.
WHEREAS, the National Guard and Reservists Debt Relief Act of 2008, Pub. L. No. 110-438, amending 11 U.S.C. § 707(b)(2)(D), providing temporary exclusion from the application of the means test for certain National Guard and Reserve members of the Armed Forces of the United States, becomes effective December 19, 2008; and WHEREAS, there is insufficient time before the Act becomes effective to promulgate rules to implement the Act;
THEREFORE, IT IS ORDERED:
Interim Bankruptcy Rule 1007-1 applies to all cases filed in the Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin beginning December 19, 2008, and thereafter, until further order of this court.
GENERAL ORDER AUTHORIZING CHAPTER 7 PANEL TRUSTEES TO INCUR AND PAY BANK FEES AND CHARGES FOR MAINTAINING ESTATE ACCOUNTS
Pursuant to LR 2070.1 of the Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, the Court orders that:
(1) Panel trustees in the Eastern District of Wisconsin administering cases under Chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code are authorized to incur and pay any actual, necessary expenses (as contemplated by 11 U.S.C. § 330) for bank fees and charges directly related to the administration of estate accounts; and
(2) The above authorization is subject to the provisions of LR 2010.1(a) (providing that the trustee may not incur and pay expenses exceeding $1,000 without notice and approval of the Court) and LR 2017.1(d) (allowing creditors or the United Sates Trustee to demand advance notice of expenditures under certain circumstances).
This order is effective for all Chapter 7 cases pending on or after July 1, 2011, and shall remain in effect until further order of the Court.
On October 31, 2005, this Court adopted First Amended Standing Order (05-1). This Court adopted the current version of the Local Rules on November 1, 2017. Four of the five provisions of First Amended Standing Order were substantively incorporated into the current Local Rules, Model Plan, or the Appendix to Local Rules. See Bankr. E.D. Wis. L.R. 1007.2, 2002, 4001, 4004; Official Form Plan for the Eastern District of Wisconsin; and Appendix to Local Rules. The remaining provision of First Amended Standing Order regarding the delivery of payment advices is inconsistent with the current Local Rules.
Therefore, to avoid repetition or confusion, IT IS ORDERED that First Amended Standing Order (05-1) is vacated.
AMENDED GENERAL ORDER NO. 2 (08-1): VACATED
On October 12, 2018, this Court adopted Amended General Order No. 2 (08-1) to vacate General Order No. 1 and to keep Interim Bankruptcy Rule of Procedure 5012 in effect until further order by the court.
Interim Rule 5012 was abrogated in December 2010.
Therefore, IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Amended General Order No. 2 (08-1) is vacated. General Order No. 1 will remain vacated.
GENERAL ORDER NO. 3 (08-2): RESTATED
This Court’s December 8, 2008 General Order No. 3 gives effect to Interim Rule 1007-I, which implements the National Guard and Reservists Debt Relief Act of 2008—an Act that provides a temporary exclusion from the means test for certain members of the Armed Forces—as well as all amendments to Interim Rule 1007-I. The order remains in effect and Interim Rule 1007-I and all amendments to it continue to apply in this court.
GENERAL ORDER (11-1): RESTATED
General Order 11-1, dated July 18, 2011, states: “Panel trustees . . . are authorized to incur and pay any actual, necessary expenses (as contemplated by 11 U.S.C. §330) for bank fees and charges directly related to the administration of estate accounts…” This Court did not include this authorization in Local Rule 2070(a), though the failure to do so appears to have resulted from oversight, rather than design. Consequently, the panel trustees continue to be authorized to incur and pay any actual, necessary expenses (as contemplated by 11 U.S.C. §330) for bank fees and charges directly related to the administration of estate accounts, subject to the terms of Local Rule 2070.
All prior general orders of the bankruptcy court that are not restated above are vacated.
On August 23, 2019, the Small Business Reorganization Act of 2019 (the “SBRA”) was enacted into law. The SBRA makes many substantive and procedural changes to the Bankruptcy Code and requires changes to the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure to implement those changes. The February 19, 2020 effective date of the SBRA occurs before the Bankruptcy Rules can be amended under the three-year process required by the Rules Enabling Act. Accordingly, the Advisory Committee on Bankruptcy Rules drafted, published for comment, and subsequently approved interim bankruptcy rules (the “SBRA Interim Rules”) for distribution to the courts. The Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure approved the SBRA Interim Rules, and the Judicial Conference authorized distribution of the SBRA Interim Rules to courts for adoption locally to facilitate uniform implementation of the changes mandated by the SBRA.
NOW, THEREFORE, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §2071, Rule 83 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, and Rule 9029 of the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure, the attached SBRA Interim Rules are adopted in their entirety without change by the judges of this Court to be effective February 19, 2020. For cases and proceedings not governed by the SBRA, the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure and the Local Rules of this Court, other than the SBRA Interim Rules, shall apply. The SBRA Interim Rules remain in effect until further order of the Court.
Until further notice, the court will conduct all hearings by telephone, unless specifically ordered otherwise. Additionally, the court is requiring all persons to be by telephone; in-person appearances are allowed only if specifically ordered. The judges will likely reschedule pending evidentiary hearings that are not time sensitive. But the order also authorizes the taking of evidence by telephone or video conference, and the judges may conduct evidentiary hearings, especially more routine ones, by telephone. The court is also posting a modified notice for motions to continue the stay that provide for a telephonic evidentiary hearing. This new notice should be used while the court is operating under the COVID-19 plan.
Also, most court and clerk’s office staff will be teleworking. Counsel and parties who seek information about or relief from the court on specific matters, including rescheduling hearings, should make their inquiries and requests in writing, either by letter or motion. Persons making telephonic inquiries of the Clerk or court staff, about scheduling hearings or otherwise, should be prepared to leave a message; staff will be monitoring voicemails and will endeavor to act on them as soon as practical under the circumstances. The clerk’s office will remain open during regular business hours.
The court is discontinuing operation of the help desk until further notice. And all Lou Jones events scheduled for before June 1, 2020, are canceled.
In General Order No. 20-1, this court adopted Interim Rules relating to the Small Business Reorganization Act of 2019 (“SBRA”), including Interim Rule 1020.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (the “CARES Act”), enacted March 27, 2020, necessitates a revision to Interim Rule 1020.
NOW THEREFORE, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §2071, Rule 83 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, and Rule 9029 of the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure, it is hereby ORDERED as follows:
1. The SBRA-related Interim Rules, with the revision of Interim Rule 1020 necessitated by the CARES Act, are attached hereto and are adopted in their entirety without change by the judges of this Court, effective April 23, 2020. This General Order 20-3 revises General Order No. 20-1 only to add the change, effective April 23, 2020, to Interim Rule 1020 necessitated by the CARES Act. General Order No. 20-1 remains effective as to filings made before April 23, 2020. For cases and proceedings not governed by the SBRA, the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure and the Local Rules of this Court, other than the SBRA Interim Rules, shall apply.
2. Notice is given that the Judicial Conference’s Advisory Committee on Bankruptcy Rules has approved conforming technical changes to five bankruptcy forms to accommodate CARES Act amendments to the Bankruptcy Code. Those forms are Official Forms 101, 122A-1, 122B, 122C-1 and 201, which may be found at https://www.uscourts.gov/forms/bankruptcy-forms. The Committee Notes to the Official Forms explain the changes to these forms.
The SBRA Interim Rules attached to this order remain in effect until further order of the Court or until superseded by subsequent Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure or local rule.
On January 31, 2020, the Secretary of Health and Human Services declared apublic health emergency in response to COVID-19 outbreak. The District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin continues to operate under an updated general order limiting its operations in response to the public health emergency.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises to implementoperational plans that, among other things, implement telework procedures, limit the number of employees at the workplace, deliver services remotely, and adjust practices to reduce close contacts with persons from outside the workplace. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019ncov/community/guidance-businessresp... (last visited October 29, 2020).
To these ends, the Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin modifies its operations as follows until further notice:
1) The court will conduct all hearings by telephone unless specifically ordered otherwise.
a) Appearance at, participation in, and observations of hearings must be by telephone, unless ordered otherwise; call-in information is as follows:
• For hearings before Chief Judge Halfenger call (888) 684-8852, access code: 7183566#.
• For hearings before Judge Hanan call (888) 808-6929, access code: 9122579#.
• For hearings before Judge Perhach call (888) 675-2535, access code: 9918878#.
b) The court determines that the COVID-19 national emergency constitutes good cause in compelling circumstances (see Fed. R. Civ. P. 43(a) incorporated by Fed. R. Bankr. P. 9017) to permit testimony to be taken electronically (by telephone or video conference). Based on this determination, the court expects to conduct many evidentiary hearings, including, but not limited to, hearings on fee waivers, requests to continue or impose the automatic stay, requests to modify the automatic stay, requests to approve reaffirmation agreements, requests to approve fee applications, and confirmation hearings, by telephone or video conference. The court will undertake to notify parties when converting hearings previously scheduled to be held in person to being held telephonically or by video conference.
2) In continuing to provide essential functions during the COVID-19 national emergency, most court staff will be teleworking to best implement a physicaldistancing policy. As a result, counsel and parties who seek information about or relief from the court on specific matters, including rescheduling hearings, should make their inquiries and requests in writing, either by letter or motion. Persons making telephonic inquiries of the Clerk or court staff, about scheduling hearings or otherwise, should be prepared to leave a message; staff will be monitoring voicemails and will endeavor to act on them as soon as practical under the circumstances.
3) The court expects to be able to continue minimal in-person staffing of the Clerk’s Office during its regular hours, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., except legal holidays, to receive pro se filings, but Clerk’s Office staff will not review schedules or otherwise meet with pro se filers while operating under this COVID-19 National Emergency Plan.
4) The court’s pro se help desk is endeavoring to conduct some in-person operations, potentially supplemented by video or telephonic remote assistance undertakings.
5) The court is endeavoring to conduct some Lou Jones events by Zoom video conferencing for the remainder of 2020, continuing into 2021.
Due to a scheduled upgrade to the court’s Case Management/Electronic Case Filing (CM/ECF) system, the CM/ECF system will not be available from 8:00 a.m. on Thursday, February 25, 2021, to 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, February 28, 2021.
Because the court requires all parties represented by counsel to file electronically using the CM/ECF system, the clerk’s office is declared to be inaccessible to those parties within the meaning of Bankruptcy Rule 9006(a)(3) during this time. If the last day of a designated period to file a pleading or other paper is a day on which the CM/ECF system is not available, then the time to timely file such pleading or paper by a party required to use CM/ECF is extended to the first accessible day, which the court expects will be Monday, March 1, 2021.
Persons who anticipate the need to make an emergency filing during this period may contact the clerk’s office for instructions in advance of the scheduled upgrade. Should an emergency filing need arise during the downtime, please call the clerk’s office at 414-290-2725.
The clerk is directed to serve this Order on all CM/ECF registered users and post it on the court’s website.
Section 4022 of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act or Act) allows certain borrowers of Federally backed mortgage loans, as there defined, to request forbearance on their mortgage loan for up to 180 days, subject to possible extension for an additional 180-day period.
Section 4023 of the Act permits certain borrowers with Federally backed multifamily mortgage loans to request a forbearance for up to three 30-day periods.
If a debtor receives forbearance, including during any CARES Act covered period, with respect to an allowed secured claim provided for by the debtor’s plan of reorganization, whether confirmed or unconfirmed, the creditor who holds that claim may file a supplemental claim for all amounts that would have otherwise come due during the forbearance period stated in the notice, even if the creditor is not an “eligible creditor” for purposes of 11 U.S.C. §501(f)(1)(B). Unless the court orders otherwise, the trustee must pay the supplemental claim in the manner provided by the debtor’s confirmed plan for payment of arrearages on the mortgage-loan claim to which the supplemental claim relates.
This General Order supersedes General Order 20-4 beginning on the date on which this order is signed.
Notwithstanding section III of General Order No. 21-4, persons should direct questions about filing documents in the Bankruptcy Court that purport to be within the scope of that order to the Bankruptcy Court clerk’s office at 414-290-2725.
Pursuant to Local Rule 3015(a) of the Local Rules for the Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, all chapter 13 debtors in this district are required to file their chapter 13 plan using the "Chapter 13 model plan included in the Appendix to these Local Rules." The current version of the Chapter 13 model plan included in the Appendix to the Local Rules, dated October 2017 (the "Current Plan Form") has been revised by the court. On March 25, 2021, the court posted to its website a new version of the Local Form Chapter 13 Plan for the Eastern District of Wisconsin (the "New Plan Form").
Beginning March 25, 2021, through May 31, 2021, chapter 13 debtors may use either the Current Plan Form or the New Plan Form to file chapter 13 plans in this district. Use of either plan will be deemed to comply with Local Rule 3015(a). Beginning on June 1, 2021, the New Plan Form will be the only form of Chapter 13 model plan for this district, and after May 31, 2021, debtors are prohibited under Local Rule 3015(a) from using the Current Plan Form.
After the Secretary of Health and Human Services declared a public health emergency in January 2020 in response to COVID-19 outbreak, the District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin and this court issued a series of general orders limiting operations in response to the public health emergency. This court’s COVID-19 orders to date substantially limit in-person hearings and, following U.S. Centers for Disease Control guidance, implement telework procedures to limit the number of employees at the workplace, deliver services remotely, and adjust practices to reduce close contacts with persons from outside the workplace.
Conditions have improved with development and widespread distribution of vaccines, though a significant percentage of the District’s population remains not fully vaccinated. CDC guidance currently provides that fully vaccinated persons may “[r]esume activities without wearing masks or physically distancing” (Interim Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People, Ctrs. For Disease Control & Prevention, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/fully-vaccinated-guid... (last updated June 17, 2021)), but businesses should continue to reduce the number of employees in common areas and otherwise implement measures to limit the possibility of virus spread. And the CDC advises that COVID-19 variants “seem to spread more easily and quickly than other variants, which may lead to more cases of COVID-19.” https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/variants/variant.html.
Considering these developments, the Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin hereby modifies its operations as follows until further notice:
1) The court will conduct most non-evidentiary hearings by telephone unless specifically ordered otherwise.
a) All parties may appear at, participate in, and observe non-evidentiary hearings by telephone, unless ordered otherwise; call-in information is as follows:
· For hearings before Chief Judge Halfenger call (888) 684-8852, access code: 7183566#.
· For hearings before Judge Hanan call (888) 808-6929, access code: 9122579#.
· For hearings before Judge Perhach call (888) 675-2535, access code: 9918878#.
· For hearings before Judge Blise call (888) 808-6929, access code: 5457889#.
b) Effective July 20, 2021, parties and their counsel who are fully vaccinated (as defined by the CDC) may appear in person at non-evidentiary hearings, unless the court orders otherwise.
c) Effective July 20, 2021, all parties and counsel participating in evidentiary hearings must appear in person, unless the court orders otherwise.
2) All persons attending hearings in person must comply with the District Court’s operative COVID-19 general orders, see http://www.wied.uscourts.gov/covid19, unless otherwise ordered or directed by this court, and this order does not permit persons prohibited by District Court order from gaining admission to the courthouse.
3) The Clerk may continue until further notice minimal in-person staffing of the Clerk’s Office during its regular hours, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., except legal holidays.
4) This order supersedes all prior general orders of this court governing operations during the COVID-19 national emergency to the extent inconsistent with this order.
On November 13, 2019, this court adopted General Order 19-1, which vacated all previous General Orders of this court not otherwise restated therein. Among those vacated orders were orders granting certain individuals and organizations permanent exemptions from the Electronic Public Access Fee Schedule (“Access Fees”). This order reinstates certain exemptions to avoid unreasonable burdens on the exempt users and does so retroactively to the extent necessary to eliminate any gap created by the operation of General Order 19-1. These fee exemptions are valid only for the purposes stated below and apply only to the electronic case files of this court that are available through the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (“PACER”) system.
The following users are exempt from Access Fees to the following extent:
1. Trustees: Chapter 7 Panel Trustees, the Chapter 12 Standing Trustee, Chapter 13 Standing Trustees, Chapter 11 Subchapter V Trustees for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, and all persons they employ to perform their duties as bankruptcy trustees in this District. This exemption applies only to use of PACER in their official capacities.
2. Pro Se Help Desk: Volunteers with the Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin’s Pro Se Help Desk to the extent they use PACER to assist indigent litigants free of charge.
3. Legal Action of Wisconsin, Inc.: The staff and volunteer attorneys for Legal Action of Wisconsin, Inc., to the extent they use PACER to assist indigent persons free of charge in the preparing or filing of cases, proceedings, or other papers in this court or to provide related counseling.
The exempted users may not use of any data obtained from their exempt PACER use commercially or for profit. These exemptions may be revoked at any time without cause or notice.
The Clerk is directed to transmit this order to the PACER Service Center, including with it all necessary PACER account information.
On February 10, 2020, this court entered General Order No. 20-1, which adopted the Interim Rules necessary to facilitate the implementation of the Small Business Reorganization Act of 2019 (the “SBRA”).
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (the “CARES Act”), enacted on March 27, 2020, necessitated a revision to SBRA Interim Rule 1020. On April 22, 2020, this court adopted General Order No. 20-3, which incorporated the revision to Interim Rule 1020.
The relevant provisions of the CARES Act expired on March 27, 2022. Therefore, the revision to Interim Rule 1020, as adopted by this court’s General Order No. 20-3, is superseded by the expiration of the CARES Act.
Therefore, IT IS ORDERED that General Order No. 20-3 is vacated.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that General Order 20-1 remains in effect until further order of this court or until superseded by subsequent Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure or Local Rule.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that if Congress reinstates 11 U.S.C. §1182(1) in a manner identical to the §1182(1) added by the CARES Act but made ineffective by the passing of the sunset provision, then revised Interim Rule 1020 will again be effective unless or until it is modified, nullified, or superseded by court order or subsequent Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure or Local Rule.
The Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin started maintaining an electronic court docket on CM/ECF on February 24, 2004. Local Rule 5005(a) provides that “Electronic filing is mandatory for all attorneys who practice in this district, except in limited, emergency circumstances, or where the attorney has received a waiver from the Chief Judge of the Bankruptcy Court.” This rule, which has been in effect for many years, allows attorneys to request a waiver from the chief judge and was intended to ease the transition to electronic filing.
A few attorneys requested and received waivers, granted by letter from the chief judge, of the requirement to file electronically. Most, if not all, of these waivers were requested long ago by attorneys who practice very little or not all before this court on an ongoing basis. No one has requested that the chief judge grant such a waiver since at least January 1, 2019. This is unsurprising: electronic filing of court documents by attorneys has become commonplace in the twenty-first century. The court concludes from these circumstances that blanket waivers of the electronic-filing requirement are no longer necessary or appropriate. As a practical matter, practice before this court requires attorneys to make all routine filings electronically.
This order addresses previously granted waivers of Rule 5005(a)’s electronic-filing requirement. Effective January 31, 2023, all waivers of that requirement granted by chief judge letter pursuant to Local Rule 5005(a) are without effect. All future waivers will be addressed on a case-by-case basis, and, by operation of this order, the chief judge delegates the authority to grant electronic-filing waivers to each judge presiding over a case or proceeding for which an electronic-filing waiver is requested.
Effective January 31, 2023, in the absence of the “emergency circumstances” referred to in Rule 5005(a), an attorney may file a document by mail, by drop box, or in person if and only if that filing is accompanied by a motion to waive the electronic-filing requirement and an affidavit (or an unsworn declaration meeting the requirements of 28 U.S.C. §1746 to be deemed made under penalty of perjury) establishing that the attorney is currently unable to file electronically and was unable to timely obtain the ability to do so; and, if the attorney requests the ability to make future filings through non-electronic means, establishes that the attorney is unable to cure that inability and the reasons therefor.
This order does not limit an attorney’s right to request a waiver under Local Rule 5005(a) to file specific documents using non-electronic means “in limited, emergency circumstances,” as stated in the rule. This order also does not limit the authority to file using non-electronic means granted by an order entered in a case or adversary proceeding.