Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr LLP

The Delaware Bankruptcy Court has announced changes to its local rules effective February 1, 2019.  For chapter 11 practitioners, the most noteworthy changes are to certain procedures applicable in main case motion practice and adversary proceedings, including:

Bankruptcy Case Motion Practice:

  • Notice Required:  Unless the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure (or the Court’s local rules) state otherwise, motions may now be filed 14 (formerly 18) days prior to the hearing, and without increase to that time period if service is made other than by hand-delivery.
        Del. Bankr. L.R. 9006-1(c)(i).
  • Service:  The requirement that objections to a motion, and replies to an objection, must be "served so as to be received" by the applicable deadline has been eliminated.
        Del. Bankr. L.R. 9006-1(c)(ii) and 9006-1(d).
  • Late Replies:  Motions to file a late reply no longer need be accompanied by a motion to shorten notice;  and the court will consider whether to allow the late reply at the hearing on the motion to which the reply relates.  Objections thereto may be made at the hearing.
            Del. Bankr. L.R. 9006-1(d).
  • Averments Required for Requests to Shorten:  Motions to shorten notice must include an averment by the movant’s Delaware Counsel that a reasonable effort was made to notify the debtor, the United States Trustee, any official committee, and any trustee whether such parties object or consent to the relief sought, or the basis why the moving party did not make that effort.  A failure to so aver may result in denial of the motion to shorten.
            Del. Bankr. L.R. 9006-1(e).

Adversary Proceedings:

  • Filing Summonses:  A completed summons must be filed within 7 days of service.
        Del. Bankr. L.R. 7004-2.
  • Length of Briefs:  Unless the Court orders otherwise, opening and answering briefs are now limited to 30 pages (down from 40); and reply briefs are now limited to 15 pages (down from 20).
        Del. Bankr. L.R. 7007-2.
  • Hearing/Argument on Motions:  The revised rule distinguishes between motions filed only in an adversary, with respect to which the procedure for requesting argument remains unchanged, with motions filed in both the adversary and the bankruptcy case, which motions will be governed by Del. Bankr. L.R. 9013-1(c) and (d).
        Del. Bankr. L.R. 7007-3.

Also of note:

Plan Supplements: must be filed at least 7 days prior to the earlier of the balloting deadline, or the deadline to object to confirmation of the proposed plan (unless otherwise ordered by the Court).  Del. Bankr. L.R. 3016-2 and 3017-2; and

Retention of Professionals: rather than the "adequate notice time" formerly required, 21 days is now the required minimum notice period for the hearing on retention applications.  Del. Bankr. L.R. 2014-1(b).