You are here

Amendments to Federal Rules

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Several amendments to the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure took effect on December 1, 2014. Rule 1014, governing the procedure for determining where cases will proceed if petitions are filed in multiple districts, was amended to clarify and narrow the scope of the stay provisions. The former rule provided that all of the later-filed cases were stayed while the first court made a venue determination. The amended rule limits the stay to situations in which the first court finds that the rule in fact applies and that a stay is needed. Rule 7004(e) was amended to reduce the time period for serving the summons from 14 days to 7 days. The change was made in response to a concern that the longer period unduly limited the defendant's time to answer, which is calculated under Rule 7012 from the date the summons is issued and not (as is the case under the Civil Rules) the date it is served. Rules 7008(b) and 7054 were amended to clarify and to promote uniformity in the procedures for seeking an award of attorney's fees. Rule 7008(b) was deleted and Rule 7054 amended to include much of the substance of Civil Rule 54(d)(2). By bringing the Bankruptcy Rules into closer alignment with the Civil Rules, the amendments eliminated a potential trap for an attorney, particularly one familiar with the Civil Rules, who might overlook the requirement in Rule 7008(b) to plead a request for attorney's fees as a claim in the complaint, answer, or other pleading. Now, the procedure for seeking an award of attorney's fees will be governed exclusively by Rule 7054, unless the governing substantive law requires the fees to be proven at trial as an element of damages. Rules 9023 and 9024 were amended to include a cross-reference to new Rule 8008 which governs indicative rulings. Click here to view redlined copies of the rules.