Change in Policy Regarding Submission of Paper DocumentsI guess some of the local trustees down in Texas still like to do things the old fashioned way. As for me, I'm a chapter 7 trustee and we process all the schedules and most other documents electronically. When I do my meetings, I lug along a couple of laptops and a 17" screen as well. I can pop the bankruptcy schedules up on the large screen and flip through the pages while I talk to the debtors. The best part is they have no idea what I'm looking at. Is it the smoking gun document? When I ask them if they own real estate - am I looking at the title report? They have no way of knowing since they can't see the screen.
The Judges of the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas have agreed that chapter 7 trustees should not routinely refuse to accept electronic documents or to require that paper copies of documents be provided in addition to electronic copies. Section 341 meetings of creditors should not routinely be delayed or continued on the basis that chapter 7 trustees have been provided with only electronic copies of documents.
This policy change is intended to affect requests for schedules and statements and for routine documents required by a chapter 7 trustee. The Court recognizes that there may be occasions when original, paper copies of documents must be examined. This policy is not intended to inhibit a chapter 7 trustee from examining original documents when appropriate circumstances so warrant. This policy also does not impair the chapter 7 trustees' exclusive ownership and control of property of the estate, including all estate-owned documents.
To implement this policy, the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas has amended its participation in the Uniform Administrative Procedures for Electronic Filing in Texas Bankruptcy Court by deleting the special provision contained in section III(E)(5)(b)(1) in the Uniform Administrative Procedures.
This policy change is effective for all cases filed on or after October 15, 2008.
Warren E. Agin is a partner in Swiggart & Agin, LLC, a boutique law firm in Boston, Massachusetts focusing on the needs of technology companies. Mr. Agin heads its bankruptcy department. The author of the book Bankruptcy and Secured Lending in Cyberspace (3rd Ed. West 2005), Mr. Agin also chaired the ABA's E-commerce and Insolvency Subcommittee from 1999 to 2005.