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United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Maryland (as of March 30, 2020)

UPDATED March 30, 2020:

Administrative Orders/Standing Orders/Memorandum as of March 30, 2020:

U.S. Bankruptcy Court Administrative Order 20-08

U.S. Bankruptcy Court Administrative Order 20-07

U.S. Bankruptcy Court Administrative Order 20-06

U.S. Bankruptcy Court Administrative Order 20-05

U.S. Bankruptcy Court Administrative Order 20-04

U.S. Bankruptcy Court Administrative Order 20-02

U.S. Bankruptcy Court Memorandum Addressing the Continuation of Hearings/Extension of Filing Deadlines in USDC Standing Order 2020-05

March 23, 2020:

The Court issued Administrative Order 20-05 Addressing Electronic Signatures on Electronic Filings:

The Governor of Maryland has declared a state of emergency concerning the spread of COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other public health authorities have advised taking precautions to reduce the possibility of exposure to the virus. Limiting inperson meetings or conferences for the purpose of obtaining signatures to documents is consistent with the objective of limiting public contact to essential matters. Therefore, it is, by the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Maryland, hereby ORDERED, the requirement that all petitions, lists, schedules, statements, and amendments thereto must be “verified” in Federal Rule of Bankruptcy Procedure 1008 are met, and the documents may be electronically filed, if the debtor’s attorney either: (1) obtains the original, physical signature prior to filing; or (2) chooses to file the document electronically without the original signature in his/her possession, provided that such electronic filing constitutes a certification by the attorney that the debtor has signed it and that, at the time of filing, the filing attorney is in possession of an image format or other facsimile of the document, including the signature page received either electronically (including by email or text) or by facsimile machine from the debtor. If the document is filed electronically by the filing attorney without the original signature in his/her possession, it shall be filed by placing “/s/ Debtor’s Name” where the signature occurs (as currently allowed), but such filing constitutes a representation and certification that before filing the attorney transmitted the entire document to the debtor for review and signature, communicated with the debtor regarding the substance and purpose of the document, received the signature page back from the debtor electronically, and received express authorization to file the document; and it is further ORDERED, the requirements in the Local Bankruptcy Rules of obtaining, maintaining or producing an “original signature,” and the requirement of a “signature” in 28 U.S.C. §1746, are met if the attorney complies with this Order; and it is further ORDERED, a petition or Chapter 13 plan verified and filed in accordance with paragraph (1) or (2) of this Order shall be deemed to be signed by the debtor for purpose of Local Bankruptcy Rules 1002-1(a)(1) and 3015-1(c); and it is further ORDERED, this Order is effective upon entry and until further order of the Court.

March 22, 2020:

Court Operations During COVID-19 Pandemic

The United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Maryland is closely monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic and following all recommended guidelines provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Maryland Department of Health. The Bankruptcy Court and the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland have issued orders limiting operations, suspending various proceedings, and extending certain deadlines. The Clerk’s office remains open to the public through telephone access and the drop boxes located in each courthouse’s lobby. Drop box hours are 9:00 a.m. until midnight in Baltimore and 9:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. in Greenbelt. CM/ECF will continue to be available for electronic filings. Any emergency matters should be filed consistent with past practice and brought to the attention of the courtroom deputy for the presiding judge or the clerk of court.

All in-court proceedings in the Greenbelt Division are temporarily suspended until further order of the Court. All emergency bankruptcy matters arising in the Greenbelt Division shall be heard in Baltimore unless the presiding judge orders otherwise.

For more complete information, please refer to the Current Administrative / Standing Orders and other Notices issued by the Bankruptcy Court and the United States District Court for the District of Maryland, linked below:

March 20, 2020

Current Operation Status of Bankruptcy Court

The United States District Court for the District of Maryland, in conjunction with the United States Bankruptcy Court, has implemented additional significant procedural changes to maximize social distancing as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Maryland Department of Health. All pertinent District Court and Bankruptcy Court orders are available by link on the Bankruptcy Court’s website.

All bankruptcy hearings scheduled to occur from March 16, 2020 through April 24, 2020, have been continued except as determined by the presiding judge in a particular case. Parties will be notified by chambers of any matter that will go forward during this time.

If you have a question or concern about a particular matter or hearing, please contact the Courtroom Deputy listed below for the Judge assigned to your case. Any emergency matters should be brought to the attention of the courtroom deputy for the presiding judge or the clerk of court. The Court prefers that such communications be made by email where possible.

  • Chief Judge Thomas J. Catliota Rita Hester, Courtroom Deputy hearings_tjc@mdb.uscourts.gov (301) 344-3495
  • Judge Nancy V. Alquist Brenda J. Wolfe, Courtroom Deputy hearings_nva@mdb.uscourts.gov (410) 962-4439
  • Judge Robert A. Gordon Booker Livingston, Courtroom Deputy hearings_rag@mdb.uscourts.gov (410) 962-7848
  • Judge Michelle M. Harner Anna Marie Komisarek, Courtroom Deputy hearings_mmh@mdb.uscourts.gov (410) 962-2966
  • Judge David E. Rice Cherita Scott, Courtroom Deputy hearings_der@mdb.uscourts.gov (410) 962-7769
  • Judge Lori S. Simpson Gloria Bellman, Courtroom Deputy Hearings_LSS@mdb.uscourts.gov (301) 344-8031

Clerk’s Office Operations

Until further notice, there will be no in person public access to the Clerk’s Office. The Clerk’s Office will remain open to the public through telephone access and the drop boxes located in the lobby of each courthouse. The drop boxes will be available from 9:00 a.m. to midnight in Baltimore and 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. in Greenbelt. CM/ECF will continue to be available for electronic filing.

Affidavits Encouraged to Increase Social Distancing

At this time, it is not known for how long parties will be encouraged to maximize social distancing. Therefore, counsel continue to be strongly encouraged to file along with motions or objections affidavits and authenticated documentary evidence that may establish a prima facie case sufficient to enable to the court to rule on the matter without live testimony, as appropriate.

Courthouse Operations Under Exigent Circumstances Created by COVID-19

The United States District Court for the District of Maryland issued two updated Orders concerning Court and courthouse operations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Second Amended Standing Order 2020-02 addresses restrictions on visitors to U.S. Courthouses in this District. Standing Order 2020-05 addresses court operations under the exigent circumstances created by COVID-19.

March 12, 2020

The United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Maryland, in conjunction with the United States District Court, is closely monitoring the novel coronavirus known as COVID-19 and is following all recommended guidelines provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Maryland Department of Health. Persons over the age of 60 and people of all ages with severe underlying health conditions – such as immunodeficiency, heart disease, lung disease, and diabetes – appear to be at a higher risk of developing a serious COVID-19 illness. If you are scheduled to appear in bankruptcy court and fall into one of these high-risk groups, or if you are experiencing any flu-like symptoms, and may need to be excused, please email, or if necessary call, the Courtroom Deputy for the Judge assigned to your case.

Chapter 13 Dockets

Effective immediately, until further notice, Chapter 13 debtors represented by counsel are asked not to attend the Standing Chapter 13 Trustee’s dockets.

Affidavits Encouraged to Increase Social Distancing

Counsel are strongly encouraged in all cases to file along with motions or objections affidavits and authenticated documentary evidence that may establish a prima facie case sufficient to enable to the court to rule on the matter without live testimony, as appropriate

Telephonic Appearances

Counsel should review each judge’s practice for appearing telephonically at court hearings, located on the Court’s website under “Judges’ Info.”

Courthouse Entrance Protocol

The U.S. District Court has also issued Standing Order 2020-02 concerning restrictions on visitors to U.S. Courthouses in this District. Please review this Standing Order for more information.

United States Trustee Program (as of March 22, 2020)

UPDATED March 16, 2020:

Section 341 Meetings of Creditors

The U.S. Trustee has informed the Court that effective immediately, it will not be holding any in-person Chapter 7, 12, and 13 Section 341 meetings scheduled through April 10, 2020. The U.S. Trustee may hold Section 341 meetings during this period through telephonic or other alternative means not requiring personal appearance by debtors. In that event, appropriate notice will be provided to parties in accordance with bankruptcy law and rules for any telephonic meetings scheduled during this period. Only meetings that are specially noticed as being held telephonically will go forward. All other meetings are continued to a later date to be determined. Any questions regarding Section 341 Meetings should be directed to the appropriate U.S. Trustee’s Office (Baltimore (410) 962-4300; Greenbelt (301) 344-6216)

Please check the Court website for further updates.