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General Orders

ORDER OF REFERENCE

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.

Date Issued: July 10, 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.

Date Issued: December 13, 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.

Date Issued: December 19, 2008

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.

SO ORDERED.

FIRST AMENDED STANDING ORDER (05-1): VACATED

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.

Dated November 13, 2019

20-1 GENERAL ORDER ADOPTING INTERIM BANKRUPTCY RULES

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.
 
IT IS SO ORDERED.
 
Dated: February 10, 2020
 

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.

Dated: March 16, 2020

20-3 GENERAL ORDER ADOPTING INTERIM RULES AND NOTICE OF AMENDED OFFICIAL FORMS

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.

IT IS SO ORDERED.

Dated: April 22, 2020

20-4 GENERAL ORDER AUTHORIZING SUPPLEMENTAL CLAIMS RELATED TO FORBEARANCE AMOUNTS

Section 4022 of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act or Act) permits 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. The Act further provides that during the forbearance period “no fees, penalties, or interest beyond the amounts scheduled or calculated as if the borrower made all contractual payments on time and in full under the terms of the mortgage contract, shall accrue on the borrower’s account.” CARES Act, §4022(b)(3).

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, and the creditor has filed a notice of request for forbearance, the creditor who holds that claim may, with the debtor’s agreement, file a supplemental claim for all amounts that would have otherwise come due during the forbearance period stated in the notice.

The debtor’s agreement to the supplemental claim amounts must be memorialized by the parties’ execution of Local Form LF 2 (“Stipulation Regarding Supplemental Claim Due to Mortgage-Payment Forbearance”). The creditor must file the form before or at the same time as it files the supplemental claim.

IT IS SO ORDERED.

Dated: June 5, 2020

20-5 AMENDED GENERAL ORDER ON CONTINUED OPERATIONS DURING COVID-19 NATIONAL EMERGENCY

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.

IT IS SO ORDERED.

Dated: October 30, 2020

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VACATED AND SUPERSEDED ORDERS