In just a matter of days, on December 1, 2017, several amendments to the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure (the “Rules”) will go into effect, significantly altering the way creditors handle consumer-bankruptcy cases.
Mandatory Proofs of Claim. Importantly, under newly amended Rule 3002(a), both secured and unsecured creditors are required to file proofs of claim in Chapter 13 cases to have an allowed claim, although the failure to file a proof of claim—alone—will not void a lien on property of the estate.
Bar Date. Under the old rules, proofs of claim in Chapter 7, 12, and 13 cases were due no later than 90 days after the first date set for a meeting of creditors. But now, an amendment to Rule 3002(c) imposes a mandatory bar date on creditors linked to the petition date: Specifically, in Chapter 7, 12, and 13 cases, proofs of claim must be filed no later than 70 days after the petition date or the date of an order converting a case to Chapter 13 from another chapter.
In involuntary Chapter 7 cases, proofs of claim must be filed no later than 90 days after the order for relief is entered.
As for creditors with a security interest in a debtor’s principal residence, proofs of claim, together with attachments required under Rule 3001(c)(2)(C) (such as an escrow-account statement) must also be filed no later than 70 days after the petition date, although any attachments required by Rule 3001(c)(1) and (d) (such as documents evidencing a security interest in property) may be filed as a supplement to the proof of claim no later than 120 days after the petition date.
Extensions of Time. Given the new abbreviated deadline to file proofs of claim, and also given that creditors must file claims to have an allowable claim, F.R.B.P. 3002(c)(6) was further amended to provide for extensions of time under limited circumstances where notice of the case was deficient. Specifically, on a creditor’s motion filed before or after the 90-day deadline, bankruptcy courts may extend the deadline by not more than 60 days from the date of an order granting a motion, so long as the court finds that notice was insufficient because: (1) the debtor failed to timely file the list of creditors’ names and addresses required by Rule 1007(a); or (2) the notice was mailed to the creditor at a foreign address.
Determination of Amount of Secured Claims. Under the newly amended Rule 3012(b), debtors may request that a bankruptcy court determine the amount of a secured claim in the debtor’s Chapter 12 or 13 bankruptcy plan itself. If so, the debtor is required to serve a copy of the plan on the creditor as if serving an adversary complaint under Rule 7004. And, under Rule 3015(g)(1), any determination made by the court as to the amount of a secured claim under this provision will be deemed binding on the creditor, despite the fact that the creditor has filed—or files—a proof of claim to the contrary or the debtor schedules the claim in a different amount.
Notably, the amendments have not altered Rule 3004, which allows either a debtor or trustee to file a proof of claim on a creditor’s behalf within 30 days after deadline to do so. Accordingly, a creditor may be bound by claim filed by a debtor or trustee stating an incorrect amount.
Objections to Chapter 12 or 13 plans. Under Rule 3015(f), as amended, objections to confirmation of Chapter 12 and 13 bankruptcy plans must be filed at least seven days before the date set for the confirmation hearing.