Court Administration Committee Meeting Minutes

2006 Winter Leadership Conference

The Court Administration Committee held a joint meeting with the Legislation Committee on Friday morning, December 1, 2006. The Court Administration Committee was represented by Co-Chair Lynn Tavenner and the Legislation Committee was represented by R. Scott Williams, Co-Chair.

The panel discussion was jointly led by The Honorable. James D. Gregg, United States Bankruptcy Court, Grand Rapids, Michigan, Scott Williams, and Lynn Tavenner.

The discussion began with a presentation on the historical and statutory background related to the appointment of judgeships. The interactive dialogue then focused on the current process of the appointment of bankruptcy judgeships and related practical considerations. Upon the conclusion of the discussion of bankruptcy judgeships, the presentation switched focus to the proposed revisions to the bankruptcy rules and the need for input from bankruptcy practitioners. The panel also addressed the current rules survey being conducted by the ABI Bankruptcy Rules Task Force. The Task Force has requested all ABI members to fill out the survey, which is available online at the ABI Web site (www.abiworld.org/source/auls_survey/loginpage ). The information from the survey will be compiled and used by the ABI in submitting comments to the Rules Committee. ABI has filed a request to testify at the upcoming hearing in January 2007.

The Committee meeting ended with open discussion with participants concerning changes expected in the new Congress and upcoming legislative priorities.

Following is a list of Court Administration committee members in attendance:

The Honorable EugeneWedoff
The Honorable Eileen Hollowell
Patti Bass - Tucson, Arizona
Larry Ahern - Nashville, Tennessee lahern@burr.com
Jerry Markowitz - Miami, Florida jmarkowitz@mdrtlaw.com
Ken Freda - GCG - Melville, New York
James Katchadoris - jkatchadoris@bsi.llc.com
Jeffrey Stein - GCG - Melville, New York
David Warren - Rocky Mount, North Carolina

2006 Annual Spring Meeting

The Health Care Insolvency Committee jointly sponsored a program with the Court Administration Committee at the 2006 Annual Spring Meeting in Washington, D.C.  The program was titled: "The Patient Care Ombudsman: Who Are They and What Are They Going To Do Your Health Care Business Bankruptcy." Bill Kannel from Mintz Levin in Boston served as the program chair.  He reminded the attendees that the ABI recently published the Second Edition of the ABI Health Care Insolvency Manual. The program's panel included:  Sam Maizel, Pachulski Stang Ziehl Young Jones & Weintraub, LLP, Los Angeles as moderator; along with Nancy  Peterman, Greenberg Trauig, Chicago; and Suzanne Koenig, SAK Management, Inc., in Chicago.   Nancy, who was instrumental in drafting the ombudsman legislation, described the historical evolution of the ombudsman provision.  She explained, among other things, that she and Keith Shapiro, then Chair of the new ABI Health Care Insolvency Committee, were asked in 1997 by Senator Grassley to assist in drafting legislation to deal with a perception that the bankruptcy courts were not adequately addressing the issues.  This perception was based in part on problems which had arisen from the Raseda Care Center case from the Central District of California.  Sam then described the obligations and duties of the ombudsman under the current Bankruptcy Rules and Code provisions.  Suzanne then described the various ways in which an ombudsman could contribute to a chapter 11 case of a healthcare business.  Sam concluded the program by describing some of the issues which had arisen already in the few cases in which an ombudsman had been appointed.  About 20-25 persons attended the program, and the audience participation was vigorous.  The handouts included three articles on the ombudsman (including two from the ABI Journal), Bankruptcy Code section 333 (requiring the appointment of a patient care ombudsman), and copies of various pleadings related to patient care ombudsman from two cases in which ombudsman had already been appointed.

2004 Winter Leadership Meeting

This joint committee program explored the challenges faced by both professionals and the courts in connection with selection of The Right Venue for the filing, management and “successful conclusion” of a bankruptcy case. Offering differing perspectives from the debtor, the court/bankruptcy clerk’s office, creditors and “the outside world,” this program addressed the various criteria that factor into a debtor’s (and/or its counsel’s) decision to choose one bankruptcy court over another, as well as the court’s ability to administer the case once filed and its procedures for managing the debtor(s) and creditors (and their claims) going forward. In addition, the panelists explored issues such as the “best” way and time to file a motion to transfer venue, the impact of local rules and procedures, the extent to which local case law on ethics issues influences the venue selection process, and the roles and responsibilities of local counsel, the court and the clerk’s office.

2004 Annual Spring Meeting

The Court Administration Committee met to a full, standing room only, house at the Annual Spring Meeting in Washington, D.C. April 17, 2004. In addition to the chair, the panel was joined by Kathleen Farrell, Clerk of Court for the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York; Gary Bockweg, Chief Technology Division of the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts; and Edward Cowen and James Kathadurian, consultants of BSI (formerly Poorman-Douglas), an outside servicing center used by the courts.

The first order of business was to introduce the Court Administration Committee, which was formed last year with the first meeting chaired by co-chair Richard Kipperman of San Diego, Calif., and a chapter 7 panel trustee for the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of California. The committee's goal is to provide a national forum for improving the relationships between the practioners and the administrative officials necessary to the court functions. (Office of the Clerk, AOUST).

Gary Bockweg then brought us up-to-date with CM/ECF nationally:

  • CM/ECF is progressing very well in both implementation and development
  • 91 Bankruptcy Courts in the implementation process: 72 already "live"
  • Averaging approximately 4-5 new courts per month on both start and live
  • 150,000+ attorneys trained and registered Ð 75,000 have filed
  • 4 Million CM/ECF docket entries in March Ê
  • In Bankruptcy Courts allowing electronic filing in March:
    • 41% of all document filings were made electronically by attorneys Ê Ê
    • 66% of all petitions were filed electronically by attorneys
    • On target to have all courts operational in 2005.
Ê Ê Ê

In addition to her official duties as clerk, Kathleen Farrell serves on the two technology and facilities advisory committees, one as a member and one as liaison and on two technology subcommittees working on CM/ECF. Kathleen graciously gave some "helpful hints" to using CM/ECF:

  • Call the clerk with suggestions for modifications.
  • Make use of all of the reports.
  • Don't get too creative, use the court's dictionary.
  • Take advantage of having 24/7 access to the court.
  • The court's help desk is answered by a person between 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
  • You can go to the system and change your password so you can have the same password for multiple courts.
  • Update your attorney profile and view your transaction logs to make sure your password has not been compromised.

Edward Cowen and James Kathadurian helped with understanding the use of outside consultants for a more efficient use of the bankruptcy process:

  • Effective use of the web in a chapter 11 case
  • Functions a claims administrator can perform today
  • Selective issues relating to e-mails and electronic noticing

After the meeting the committee added three new members.