Northern District Bankruptcy Court seeking public comment on proposed rule changes

The U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Indiana is seeking public comment on proposed changes to the court’s local rules concerning Chapter 12 and 13 bankruptcies.

A new local rule would be added addressing presumptively reasonable attorney fees for Chapter 13 cases. The proposed rule states that $4,000 is presumed to be reasonable attorney fees for counsel’s services representing a debtor in a routine, consumer case under Chapter 13.

Other changes to B-2016-1 include that a fee that does not exceed the presumptively reasonable fee may be awarded, following notice to all creditors, either upon application or through the additional provisions of a confirmed plan without the need for counsel to provide supporting documentation.

“If a case is dismissed or counsel’s services terminate prior to discharge, the court may, on the motion of any party in interest, review the reasonableness of any presumptively reasonable fee awarded pursuant to this rule,” the proposed change says. “Counsel may apply for fees in excess of the presumptively reasonable fee for extraordinary, unusual, or unanticipated legal services. Such an application must be accompanied by supporting documentation demonstrating the reasonable value of those services.”

Proposed changes were also made to a few other local rules, including B-2002-2 which deals with the notice of opportunity to object to motions. The changes would add a new paragraph, (a)(28), addressing applications to employ professionals, other than debtor’s counsel, in Chapter 12 and 13 cases.

The changes would also add Chapter 12 and 13 cases to B-2002-3, Limited Notice in Chapter 7 Cases.

Finally, a rule change would be made to B-3007-1,: Objection to Claims; Default, adding a new paragraph, (b)(2), addressing the valuation of a secured claim in a claim objection.

Specifically, the new language states that if the objection requests the determination of the amount of a secured claim, “a movant shall identify the property securing the claim, the value of that property, the amounts due on account of any senior liens or interests, and any other mathematical calculations used to determine the objector’s proposed amount of the secured claim.”

Comments must be submitted by March 11 by email to [email protected] or through the mail to Christopher M. DeToro, Clerk of Court for the United States Bankruptcy Court, Northern District of Indiana, 401 South Michigan St., South Bend, 46601.

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