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Information Regarding Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) and Court Operations

COVID-19 update regarding court operations at the Southern District of California Bankruptcy Court

June 16, 2020 - Please note that Administrative Orders 20-1, 20-2-A, and 20-3 posted on the court website regarding court operations during the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to remain in effect until further order from the Bankruptcy Court.

District Court Chief Judge Orders 18, 18-A, and 25 declaring a state of emergency and requiring the use of face masks, remain in effect until July 15, 2020, which extends the effect of Administrative Orders 20-1 and 20-2-A. The court will continue the use of telephonic hearings and in some instances, video hearings for all court appearances until further notice.  Also, the clerk’s office will remain open with limited staffing from 9:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. from Monday through Friday with the exception of federal holidays.  All parties must comply with CDC and local guidelines regarding the use of face masks when entering the Weinberger Courthouse.

U.S. Trustee Program Extends Telephonic Or Video Section 341 Meetings To Cases Filed Through October 10, 2020

June 12, 2020 – The U.S. Trustee Program is extending the requirement that section 341 meetings be conducted by telephone or video appearance to all cases filed through October 10, 2020.  However, if the responsible U.S. Trustee or case trustee determines that an in-person examination of the debtor is required to ensure the completeness of the meeting or protection of estate property, the U.S. Trustee may approve the continuation of the section 341 meeting to an in-person meeting in a manner that complies with local public health guidance. This justifies extension of applicable deadlines pursuant to Administrative Order 20-3.

U.S. Trustee Program Extends Telephonic Section 341 Meetings to Cases Filed Through July 10, 2020

The U.S. Trustee Program is extending the requirement that section 341 meetings be conducted only through telephonic or other alternative means not requiring in-person appearance to all cases filed through July 10, 2020.  Appropriate notice will be provided to parties in accordance with bankruptcy law and rules.

New Doc-Type Events in the CM/ECF System for Notices of Intended Action which are related to the COVID-19 Pandemic

Pursuant to Administrative Order 20-3, Subsection 6, the court has developed three new doc-type events for the expedited notice of intended action procedure to request an extension of the applicable deadlines for the following matters:  1) Deadline extensions for UST motions to dismiss for abuse under Rule 1017(e); 2) Deadline extensions for Rule 4004(a) objections to a debtor’s discharge; and 3) Deadline extensions for Rule 4007(c) objections to discharge of certain debts. The new doc-type events are located in the Bankruptcy Events Menu in the CM/ECF System under “Notices and Hearings” and “Intended Action re Eligible Matters due to the COVID-19 Pandemic (Notice)” doc-type event.

Updated Notice Regarding Telephonic 341 Meetings of Creditors in the Southern District of California

The United States Trustee Program (“USTP”) has been conducting 341 meetings telephonically during the COVID-19 pandemic.  The USTP has provided updated information regarding the conducting of telephonic 341 Meetings.

Administrative Order 20-2-A AMENDING TEMPORARY SUSPENSION OF REQUIREMENT TO OBTAIN ORIGINAL SIGNATURES FOR ELECTRONIC FILINGS

On March 25, 2020, the court posted Administrative Order 20-2 to temporarily suspend certain signature requirements (due to the COVID-19 pandemic) for documents that cannot be filed timely due to lack of an opportunity for personal contact between attorneys and clients. Since the adoption of this administrative order, the court became aware of the need to further clarify these signature requirements.

GUIDELINES FOR MANDATORY TELEPHONIC HEARINGS

In order to protect public safety, and prevent the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), the Court has implemented the following procedures for telephonic hearings. Unless otherwise directed by the specific Judge, all hearings will be held telephonically. Using this AT&T system is at no cost to the parties or public.

Administrative Order 20-3 EXTENDING CERTAIN DEADLINES DURING THE COVID-19 PUBLIC EMERGENCY

In response to the Region 15 United States Trustee’s ("UST's") Notice RE: Section 341 Meeting of Creditors continuing all § 341 meetings, and the UST's request that certain deadlines contained in the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure ("Rules") and 11 U.S.C. § 1308 be temporarily extended to accommodate logistical challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Administrative Order 20-2 TEMPORARY SUSPENSION OF REQUIREMENT TO OBTAIN ORIGINAL SIGNATURES FROM DEBTORS FOR ELECTRONIC FILINGS

On March 13, 2020, the President of the United States declared a national emergency as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to the “social distancing” guidelines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic; good cause exists to temporarily suspend on the conditions specified below the requirement of a “signature” as defined in 28 U.S.C. § 1746, including in regard to the documents specified in Fed. R. Bankr. P. 1008, as implemented in Local Bankruptcy Rule 5005-4(c).

Administrative Order 20-1 CASE MANAGEMENT PROCEDURES DURING THE COVID-19 PUBLIC EMERGENCY

On March 17, 2020, the United States District Court for the Southern District of California entered it Order of the Chief Judge No. 18 (“Order 18”), which detailed certain procedures to be followed for cases pending in the District Court based on the judicial emergency resulting from the coronavirus health crisis. Order 18 also noted that the United States Bankruptcy Court remained open to conduct its judicial business. Order 18 did not establish specific procedures to manage the cases pending in the Bankruptcy Court, however.

Notice Re: SECTION 341 MEETING OF CREDITORS

Because of the developing issues with the COVID-19 virus the national and state declarations of emergency by the President of the United States and the Governor of California, effective immediately, all in-person chapter 7, 11, 12, and 13 section 341 meetings scheduled through April 10, 2020 are hereby continued until a later date to be determined.

Bankruptcy Self Help Center REOPENS Remotely

The Legal Aid Society of San Diego, Inc. hosts a no-cost Bankruptcy Self-Help Center for Pro Se Filers at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, 325 West F Street, San Diego every Wednesday from 2:00 to 4:00 pm. No appointments are necessary. The Self-Help Center is located  on the 2nd floor of the Weinberger Courthouse in the Court Library.

Order of the Chief Judge 17: VISITOR RESTRICTIONS

In order to protect the public safety, and prevent the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), the Court adopts the following visitor restrictions for all courthouses and probation and pretrial services offices in the district.

Information Regarding Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) and Court Operations

The United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of California continues to closely monitor the national and local response to the coronavirus virus (COVID-19) in respect for public health concerns. We will be following guidance provided by the Administrative Office of the United States Courts and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), available at www.cdc.gov.