Hon. Mary P. Gorman
Chief United States Bankruptcy Judge
Chief Judge Gorman and her staff may be
U.S. Bankruptcy Court
Central District of Illinois
600 E. Monroe Street
Springfield IL 62701
Chief Judge Mary P. Gorman’s Procedures
for Cases Filed in the Springfield Division
Initially posted March 1, 2009
Revised May 1, 2009
Revised March 19, 2013
Revised August 26, 2013
Revised September 26, 2013
|Ex Parte Contacts Prohibited||Ex parte contacts are strictly prohibited. See Fed.R. Bankr. P. 9003(a). Any attempt by a party, an attorney, or their staff to contact the Court directly or through chambers staff to seek information about a pending case or advice about practicing before the Court is prohibited conduct. Neither Clerk’s office staff nor chambers staff is authorized to grant oral requests for the continuance or rescheduling of a matter. Except in the case of an emergency, all requests for continuances or rescheduling must be made in writing and filed electronically.|
|Local Rules and Admission to Practice||The Local Rules for the United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois apply to proceedings before this Court and can be found online at www.ilcd.uscourts.gov. The United States Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of Illinois does not have separate local rules. Attorneys who intend to practice before this Court must be licensed to practice in the Central District of Illinois. For instructions on how to become admitted, see CDIL-LR 83.5. Pro Hac Vice admissions are governed by CDIL-LR 83.5(F).|
|Signature Requirement/Attorney Appearance||
Every petition, pleading, written motion, and other paper except a list, schedule, or statement (and amendments thereto) must be signed by at least one attorney of record in the attorney’s individual name. See Fed.R.Bankr.P. 9011. Petitions, lists, schedules, statements and all amendments thereto must be verified or contain an unsworn declaration by the debtor. See Fed.R.Bankr.P. 1008. Documents containing signatures may be filed as scanned images which show the actual signatures or may be filed with signatures represented by a "/s/" and the name typed in the space where a signature would otherwise appear as follows: /s/ First Name Last Name. Unsigned pleadings or pleadings where the above requirements are not strictly complied with are subject to being stricken without further notice.
Reference should also be made to paragraph 10 of the Third Amended General Order Authorizing Electronic Case Filing entered by the Bankruptcy Judges of the Central District of Illinois on January 10, 2007, for additional requirements regarding signatures and the retention of documents containing original signatures.
To be "of record" and authorized to sign pleadings, documents, or agreed orders on behalf of a party, every attorney, other than the attorney who filed the initial bankruptcy petition or the complaint in an adversary proceeding, must enter his or her appearance for the party. The Court will no longer process documents filed by attorneys who purport to represent a party but who have not formally appeared for that party. Further, every attorney who appears for a debtor must file a fee disclosure even if the attorney is not receiving or requesting additional fees. See 11 U.S.C. §329(a); Fed. R. Bankr. P. 2016(b).
|Service of Pleadings||
Except as provided elsewhere in these Procedures, all pleadings should contain a certificate of service evidencing that the pleading has been served electronically, by mail, or by some other disclosed method on the parties and attorneys entitled to receive notice of the pleading. The fact that the Clerk of Court schedules and sends notice of all hearings and objection dates does not relieve the filer of a pleading of the obligation to serve the pleading as otherwise required.
For all contested matters as defined by Bankruptcy Rule 9014, the motion or request must be served in compliance with Bankruptcy Rule 7004. Corporations must be served as required under Rule 7004(b)(3) on an officer, managing or general agent, or on any agent authorized by appointment or by law to receive service of process. Insured depository institutions must be served as required under Rule 7004(h).
When service must be made on an agent authorized to accept service, service on an attorney for a creditor is sufficient only if the attorney is, in fact, the creditor's registered agent or, in the case of an insured depository institution, if the attorney has entered an appearance in the case. Fed. R. Bankr. P. 7004(h)(1). Service on an attorney who represented a creditor in a different case in a different court is not sufficient to comply with the Bankruptcy Rules.
A signed certificate of service should be filed with each pleading and should include the full name of each person served electronically and the full name and address of each person served by mail or otherwise. A certificate of service must state the precise manner of the service made on each party or entity. A certificate of service which states that service was made by one of several possible methods without specifying the actual method used is unacceptable and will be stricken. Any certificate of service which is docketed separately from the pleading served must also specifically identify the pleading served.
Failure to properly serve a pleading may result in the pleading being stricken without further notice.
The Clerk will no longer add new creditors, registered agents, or other persons or entities to the mailing matrix and will not change addresses or add alternate addresses to the mailing matrix based on certificates of service filed with motions or other documents. When a motion, notice, or other document must be served on a person or entity not previously included on the mailing matrix, the debtor may file an amended schedule and pay the requisite filing fee, if any, to update the mailing matrix. If the debtor does not update the mailing matrix, then the movant -- whether the debtor or some other party in interest -- must serve the motion, notice, or other documents directly and file a certificate of service evidencing compliance with the Bankruptcy Rules. Further, for many motions, service by the Clerk is not made on the entire mailing matrix but only upon the parties who appear to have an interest in the motion. Accordingly, registered agents, corporate officers and other similar persons added to the mailing matrix should be clearly identified as the agent of a particular creditor.
|Applications to Employ Professionals||Applications to Employ Professional Persons are generally governed by Bankruptcy Rule 2014. Every Application should contain the information set forth in the Rule and every Application must be accompanied by the verified statement required by the Rule. Applications which are incomplete or not accompanied by the verified statement may be stricken without further notice.|
The Court strictly enforces the requirements set forth in the Bankruptcy Code and Rules regarding applications for an award of professional fees and expenses. See 11 U.S.C. §330; Fed.R.Bankr.P. 2016; In re Vancil Contracting, Inc., 2008 WL 207533 (Bankr. C.D. Ill. Jan. 25, 2008); In re Minich, 386 B.R. 723 (Bankr. C.D. Ill. 2008).
Reference should also be made to this Court’s Standing Order Re: Attorney Fees for Debtor’s Counsel in Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Cases - Springfield Division, for further guidance on when fee applications must be filed by debtors’ attorneys in Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 cases.
The Court conducts a significant number of its non-evidentiary hearings via conference call. The Court considers conference call hearings to be of the same importance as hearings scheduled in court, and attorneys should prepare accordingly.
Chambers staff initiates all conference calls and attorneys are called at the contact phone number listed in the Court’s ECF database. Attorneys may request to be called at a different phone number IF such information is provided to the Clerk’s Office (217.492.4551) or chambers (217.492.4566) by 4:00 p.m. on the day before the call is scheduled to take place. Parties may also notify the Court that a substitute attorney will be appearing on a call by providing the name and phone number of the substituting attorney to the Clerk’s Office or chambers by the deadline listed above. It is NOT acceptable to wait until the conference call is under way to provide an alternate phone number or the name and number of a substituting attorney. In emergency situations, alternate phone numbers and information regarding substituting attorneys may be provided to the Clerk’s Office or chambers on the day of the hearing in advance of the call. However, no phone calls should be placed to chambers during the time that conference calls are scheduled. The Court’s schedule is available elsewhere on this website.
The Court schedules a number of conference calls on each docket. Because of the large volume of calls, calls may not be made at the precise time shown on the hearing notice, in much the same way that in-court hearings do not always occur at the precise time they are set. As a general rule, attorneys should allow a 20-minute window before and after the scheduled time of the call in which to expect receipt of the call. Attorneys are strongly encouraged to make themselves available during that entire window, although no party will be defaulted if an attorney is not available before the scheduled time of the call. Parties MAY be defaulted if the attorney is unavailable at or after the time the call is scheduled, or if the attorney cannot be reached at the number provided (either via special instructions or on their ECF account). Exceptions to this procedure will not be made due to technical issues relating to a cell phone or cell phone service. It is the responsibility of an attorney appearing by cell phone to have a properly operating cell phone and to be at a location where cell phone service is available. All conference calls are recorded and attorneys must appear using telephonic equipment of sufficient quality that the Court’s recording equipment is able to make a clear audio record of the call.
The Court rarely permits appearance by telephone by an attorney at an in-court hearing. Such requests must be made by motion and electronically filed at least 48 hours in advance of the hearing. The motion must state specific reasons why the attorney is unable to personally appear for the in-court hearing.
Hearings which involve a pro se party will rarely be held via conference call.
|Motions for Summary Judgment||Strict compliance with CDIL-LR 7.1(D) is required. See In re Clayton, 369 B.R. 383 (Bankr. C.D. Ill. 2007).|
|Motions for Relief from Stay||Motions for Relief from Stay which seek relief with respect to property based on a perfected, secured interest in such property must have copies of all documents necessary to support movant’s claim attached as exhibits. Copies of any documents which are required to be recorded in order to perfect a secured interest must include the recording information. Reference should be made to paragraph 5 of the Third Amended General Order Authorizing Electronic Case Filing signed by the Bankruptcy Judges of the Central District of Illinois on January 10, 2007, for further information about required attachments to motions. Motions for Relief from Stay filed without proper attachments may be stricken without further notice.|
|Motions Granted without Hearing in Chambers||
Because the Clerk of Court sets all hearing and objection dates without attorneys being able to self-select available dates, the Court does consider motions for continuances, rescheduling, and extensions of time in chambers. The Court also considers some routine and uncontested matters in chambers.
Motions to continue specially set matters may also be considered in chambers. Motions to continue set matters must contain a specific reason for the request and state whether opposing counsel has been contacted regarding the request and consents to the request.
If the Court rules on a motion in chambers, a minute order or text order will be entered and attorneys will receive prompt electronic notification of the ruling. See Fed.R.Bankr.P. 9022(a). In the absence of an order from the Court, no party or attorney should assume that a matter has been or will be ruled on in chambers.
|Chapter 13 Plans, Amended Plans, and Motions to Modify||
All proposed Chapter 13 plans must be clearly labeled as Chapter 13 Plan or as First, Second, Third (and so forth) Amended Plan. Every proposed plan must be signed and dated. See Fed.R.Bankr.P. 3015(c), 9011. Plans and amended plans which do not meet these basic requirements may be stricken without further notice.
The Clerk of Court will send a copy of each plan or amended plan to all creditors and parties in interest with a notice scheduling an objection or hearing date. Accordingly, debtors do not need to include a certificate of service when filing a plan or amended plan.
Chapter 13 plans may contain provisions which resolve contested matters. If the creditor subject to such a plan provision is a corporation or insured depository institution, the plan and any notice setting an objection or hearing date regarding confirmation of the plan must be served in accordance with Bankruptcy Rule 7004. See Service of Pleadings above. Because the Clerk sends the plan and notices to creditors, debtors and their attorneys are responsible for including the proper addresses for such creditors on the mailing matrix. Alternatively, debtors and their attorneys may serve the plan and objection or hearing date notice on the creditor themselves and file a certificate of service evidencing compliance with Bankruptcy Rule 7004. The Clerk never sends notices by certified mail and, accordingly, to the extent service by that method is required, debtors and their attorneys will always be required to make that service themselves and file a certificate of service.
After a plan has been confirmed, it may be modified by motion. See 11 U.S.C. §1329. Motions to Modify must also be signed and dated. See Fed.R.Bankr.P. 3015(c), 9011. Motions to Modify which do not meet these basic requirements may be stricken without further notice.
The Clerk of Court will send a copy of the Motion to Modify to all creditors and parties in interest with a notice scheduling an objection or hearing date. Accordingly, debtors do not need to include a certificate of service when filing a Motion to Modify. Again, the Clerk serves only the mailing matrix and, accordingly, to the extent a Motion to Modify seeks relief as to a corporation or insured depository institution, debtors and their attorneys are required to make sure that service of the Motion and notice of the objection or hearing date is properly effectuated and must file a certificate of service evidencing compliance with Bankruptcy Rule 7004.
|Order Submission||At the conclusion of an in-court or telephonic hearing, if a proposed order granting the specific relief allowed has not previously been submitted, the Court generally will request that the prevailing party submit an order within a fixed period of time - usually 14 days. Likewise, when an objection date has been set on a motion or other pleading seeking relief and no objection has been timely filed, the Court will request an order be submitted within 14 days if one has not previously been submitted. The failure to submit an order within the time specified by the Court may result in the motion, request, application, objection, or other pleading being denied without further notice. Parties who are unable to submit an order within the set time frame should affirmatively request an extension of time to submit the required order.|
Motions and other pleadings which are deficient in that they fail to meet the minimum requirements of the Bankruptcy Code and Rules or this Court’s standing orders may be stricken. Likewise, as set forth herein, motions and other pleadings which are not properly served may be stricken.
The striking of a pleading based on such defects is without prejudice to the refiling of a new motion or pleading seeking the same relief requested in the stricken pleading. The filing of a deficient pleading which is stricken, however, does not extend deadlines previously set by the Code, Rules, or court order. Filing fees paid for stricken pleadings are not refundable.
|Sales by Debtors||
Debtors (or debtors-in-possession) who want to sell property of the estate must file a detailed motion pursuant to §363(b). If a sale is to be free and clear of liens, the motion must comply with the requirements of §363(f). The specific liens subject to the motion and the basis for selling free and clear as to each particular lien, i.e. the applicable subsection of §363(f), must be identified. A Notice of Intent to Sell must also be submitted which complies with the requirements of Bankruptcy
Debtors must obtain authority to employ brokers or auctioneers before a sale can be authorized. No order authorizing a sale will be signed unless all professionals involved in the sale have been properly employed. After a sale, applications for compensation of the professionals involved should generally be filed. Applications for compensation must be served on the entire mailing matrix. As set forth below, under certain circumstances, the approval of professional compensation may be obtained through the filing of a Report of Sale without filing a separate application for compensation.
A Report of Sale per Bankruptcy Rule 6004(f)(1) must be filed for every sale. Service generally must be made only on the U.S. Trustee and case trustee. Orders generally are not required and will not be entered approving Reports of Sale. Because the Clerk traces for Reports of Sale to be filed, if a previously authorized sale does not close, a report of "no sale" should be filed.
When a professional such as a broker or auctioneer is to be compensated on a percentage basis as part of a sale, the compensation and itemized expenses of the professional may be specifically set forth in the Report of Sale and a separate application for compensation will not be required. In such case, the Report of Sale should also include a prayer for relief seeking approval of the compensation and expenses. When the Report of Sale is used in lieu of the application for compensation, service must be made on the entire mailing matrix. An order approving the Report of Sale and the specific compensation and expenses set forth therein should be submitted.
|7 Day Orders||The practice in the Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of Illinois, Springfield Division, has been that when attorneys or parties failed to file pleadings or submit orders within the time by the Bankruptcy Code and Rules or by the Court, the Court routinely issued form orders granting an additional 7 days for compliance. The practice of the Court routinely issuing such 7 day extensions has been discontinued. Parties and their attorneys should comply with all statutory or court-ordered deadlines or affirmatively seek extensions of time to do so.|
|Mailing Matrix Required||Bankruptcy Rule 1007(a)(1) requires that a list containing the name and address of each entity included or to be included on Schedules D,E,F,G and H be filed with every voluntary petition. The list is commonly referred to as the mailing matrix. An extension of time to file the list may only be granted upon motion and for cause. See Fed. R. Bankr. P. 1007(a)(5). Any voluntary case filed without the required list or a motion seeking an extension of time for cause will be dismissed.|