December 1, 2017 Rule Changes: New Notice and Service Requirements for Objections to Claims

Amended Rule 3007, effective December 1, 2017, will impose stricter notice and service requirements for objecting to claims.  The amended rule will require that an objection to a claim be mailed to the person and address listed on the proof of claim in the section labeled “Where should notices to the creditor be sent?”  See the attached illustration.   If the proof of claim is amended, service must be sent to the person and address designated on the most recent amended proof of claim.

Trustees and debtors’ attorneys will need to institute procedures for updating their records to add notice addresses listed on proofs of claims, at least as to creditors whose claims are subject to objection.  Sending a claim objection to the address on the mailing matrix will not constitute adequate service under Rule 3007.

Additional service in accordance with Rule 7004 is required with respect to objections to claims of two types of creditors:  (1) insured depository institutions; and (2) the United States or its officers or agencies.

If the objection is to a claim of an insured depository institution, the objection must also must be served in the manner provided for service of a summons and complaint by Rule 7004(h), which generally requires service by certified mail addressed to an officer of the institution designated by the institution.

An objection to a claim of the United States, or of an officer or agency of the United States, must be served in accordance with Rule 7004(b)(4) or (b)(5).  Service under those paragraphs is effectuated by mailing the objection addressed to:

  • The civil process clerk at the office of the United States attorney for the district in which the objection is filed;
  • The Attorney General of the United States at Washington, D.C.;
  • The officer or agency which filed the claim; and
  • If the agency is a corporation, to the attention of an officer, a managing or general agent, or to any other agent authorized by appointment or by law to receive service of process pursuant to Rule 7004(b)(3).

Amended Rule 3007 still requires the objecting party to give 30 days’ notice, but it now requires service of a “Notice of Objection to Claim” that substantially conforms to Official Form 420B along with the claim objection.  The notice form is intended to provide plain English explanations to parties regarding what they must do to respond to the objection to claim.

Under amended Rule 9009(a), the ability to make changes to the wording of Official Forms will be restricted.  Consequently, a generic notice of hearing in legalese likely will not substantially conform to the official “Notice of Objection to Claim,” and a claim objection without the language of the official notice form will not have been served in compliance with the amended rules.  Trustees and debtors’ attorneys should consider revising their forms accordingly and adopting the language of Official Form 420B, Notice of Objection to Claim.  The only alterations to the form should be with respect to whether a hearing will be held or whether the claimant must respond to the objection and request a hearing.

Click here for a blacklined copy of the amended Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure scheduled to be effective with cases filed on or after December 1, 2017.

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