Alongside the growth of technology, the economy, and the complexities of every day life, the rules by which we live by must adapt. As a result, State and Federal laws develop on a continuous basis as the world changes and grows.
For the most part, legislative changes that have an effect on you (and others) can be both supported and protested during the notice and comment period of rulemaking. This period happens after the advisory committee, those who come up with amendments or changes to the rules, obtains the approval from the Judicial Conference Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure to publish the proposed amendment(s) or rules for the notice and comment period. During the notice and comment period, the public (including individuals, organizations, and companies) are encouraged to submit written comments regarding their views or opinions on the proposal.
This year, the Judicial Conference Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure approved the publication of a proposal that included several amendments to the rules governing bankruptcy. Specifically, Rules 2002, 2004, and 8012 are up for amendment.
Changes to Rule 2002
The first rule up for amendment is Rule 2002(f), (h), and (k). These changes are somewhat small and may not affect litigants. Specifically, changes to Rule 2002(f) suggest that, in addition to existing notice provisions notice provisions for the filing of Chapter 7, 11, or 12 plans, the committee should add language regarding notice provisions for Chapter 13 bankruptcy plan filings. The amendments proposed to Rule 2002(h) suggest limiting notice requirements on behalf of creditors in Chapter 7, 11, 12, and 13 bankruptcies.
The effect of the proposed amendments to this rule on bankruptcy litigants could vary. On its face, the proposal amending Rule 2002(k) addresses an oversight in the original statute that would make the law more clear.
Changes to Rule 2004
The next rule that is up for amendment is 2004(c). This rule is up for amendment in the sense that the committee has suggested an addition of the mention of “electronically stored information.” If this amendment is passed, any electronically stored information that is requested in the discovery timeframe of a bankruptcy proceeding must be proportional to the scope of the case and must be relevant to the case. Additionally, the burden of the effort expended to get that information must be weighed against its importance.
This change, if enacted, could help litigants in bankruptcy proceedings, as it requires creditors asking for electronically stored information to prove that it is necessary to obtain it. However, this limitation may also make it easier for creditors to deny discovery requests from bankruptcy attorneys.
Changes to Rule 8012
Finally, the last rule up for amendment is Rule 8012. This rule is more relevant to the corporate side of bankruptcy proceedings. Overall, it requires more disclosure in the context of creditors and corporate entities involved in a bankruptcy proceeding.
Making a Difference
If you do your research on these upcoming amendments and determine that you want to take action against or in favor of them, how do you do it? Fortunately, for those who want to make a difference, the notice and comment session is the perfect time to make your voice heard. In regard to these specific amendments, the comment period closes on February 15, 2019. While the public is no longer able to make comments for participation in the public oral hearings, which take place this January in Washington, DC and Kansas City, MO, those who are interested in submitting a public comment may do so. If you are interested in making your voice heard, the government has made the notice and comment submission page available to the public.
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