On July 13, 2004, the Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York amended its Local Bankruptcy Rules. The amendments were the product of a 17-member Committee that was organized by Chief Bankruptcy Judge Stuart M. Bernstein in March 2003, consisting of four bankruptcy judges, the Clerk of the Bankruptcy Court, the U.S. Trustee and 11 practitioners. Alan N. Resnick, of counsel to Fried Frank’s bankruptcy and restructuring department, was appointed to serve as the Chair of the Committee, and Kalman Ochs, a senior associate in the firm’s bankruptcy and restructuring department, was appointed to serve as the Secretary to the Committee. Jason R. Wolf, also an associate in the department, provided assistance.
The Committee held numerous meetings and worked over the past 16 months to review and analyze the existing Local Bankruptcy Rules, which had last been amended in July 1998. The Committee solicited suggestions from the public and proposed numerous amendments. Some of the more significant amendments included: the addition of certain procedures for seeking relief from the automatic stay against individuals to protect such individuals from inaccurate allegations of default; the addition of procedures regarding motions to extend the time to assume or reject executory contracts and unexpired leases which would reduce the necessity of obtaining “bridge orders;” the addition of procedures regarding summary judgment motions that would discourage the filing of meritless motions; and the addition of procedures that enable parties to ascertain, at a reasonable time prior to any scheduled hearing, whether the hearing will be an evidentiary hearing at which witnesses may testify.
After compiling a comprehensive list of amendments, the Committee then published the proposed amendments for public comment and further revised the amendments as necessary. On July 13, 2004, Judge Bernstein entered an order approving the proposed amendments, effective August 2, 2004, which can be found on the Bankruptcy Court’s Website at www.nysb.uscourts.gov/rulesorders.html.