August 11, 2014
by Michael J. McCormick
McCalla Raymer, LLC
USFN Member (Georgia)
The Advisory Committee on Bankruptcy Rules of Procedure (Advisory Committee) met April 22-23 at the University of Texas, School of Law, in Austin, Texas. This was the first meeting of the Advisory Committee since more than 150 comments were submitted about the Official Chapter 13 Form Plan (and accompanying Rule changes) during the public comment period, which ended February 15, 2014. Several observers were in attendance at the meeting, including servicers, Chapter 13 trustees, and USFN Bankruptcy Committee members Dan West (South & Associates, P.C.) and this author.
It was anticipated that what would come out of this meeting would more than likely be the final version of the official form plan scheduled to go into effect on December 1, 2015. Instead, the Advisory Committee took note of the amount of opposition to the official form plan from the comments submitted. In addition, the Advisory Committee noted the importance of having the rule changes and the official form plan go into effect at the same time. Accordingly, both will be re-published for comment in August 2014, but the earliest possible effective date is now December 1, 2016. Thus the changes (both the rules and official form plan) will be delayed at least a year.
Nevertheless, the proposed changes to the Model Proof of Claim Attachment are still scheduled to go into effect in December 2015.
It was clear from the meeting in Austin that at least a few of the Advisory Committee members were unimpressed by the number of comments submitted, even though 150 is more than usual. The feeling was that with 360 judges, thousands of trustees and lawyers, if only 150 people took the time to write in, that must mean that not too many people have an issue with the proposed changes. This is incorrect and ignores the fact that many “collective” comments were submitted by various organizations and groups of judges or trustees.
Under the proposed rule changes, the most significant change coming for servicers is the reduction in the bar date for filing a proof of claim from approximately 120 days to 60 days. This change received less than two minutes of discussion at the meeting. Although servicers have been granted a reprieve to get ready for this change, it’s very important that the servicers and law firms submit comments, individually, when the plan and rules are published again for public comment.
Editor’s Note: The Proof of Claim Form 410 and Mortgage Proof of Claim Attachment (Form 410A) — as drafted on January 17, 2014, and currently scheduled to go into effect in December 2015 — can be found here.
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Summer 2014 USFN Report