I have made some changes to our policies and procedures that attorneys representing debtors and creditors in chapter 13 cases in the EDKY need to know about.
Changes in Secured Claim Descriptions: We have revamped some of the terms we use to describe what type of claim a creditor has. You will see these amended claim types on voucher checks, on the Notice of Allowance of Claims, and on the 13network and the NDC. The revised claim types are:
- Secured Claim – Per Plan/Order
- Secured Claim – Not Provided For
- Mortgage – Debtor Direct Pay
- Mortgage Ongoing Conduit
- Mortgage In Plan* (see next paragraph)
Other frequently used claim descriptions which have not been renamed include:
- Debtor Attorney Fees
- Priority Non-Administrative
- Pre-Petition Arrearage
- Post-Petition Arrearage
- Arrears Other Than Mortgage
- Vehicle Claim
- Split Claim/Unsecured
- Notice Only
“Mortgage in Plan”: This claim type is new and will be used when real estate mortgage claims are being crammed down or must be paid in full during the plan because of when the note matures. These claims are currently listed as one of the Secured Claim types. However, this change will be made prospectively only. Any claims that have already been filed and set up will continue to be classified as a Secured Claim. Mortgage servicers may need to report these claims on their CFPB billing statements.
No More “Reply to All” Emails: Some of you send emails to my office and list your client in the cc field of the email. According to a recent KBA Ethics Opinion, if I “reply to all” so that my reply goes to your client, I am communicating with a represented party without your consent. If the email is from an attorney for a bank or credit union, I can’t always tell whether a party cc’d on your email is a client or a colleague. To avoid any risk of an ethical breach, I and my staff will no longer use “reply to all” when responding to an email from an attorney. That means that if you cc your legal assistant and co-counsel, my reply will not go to them. It will go only to you, and you will need to forward my reply to anyone you want to receive it.
The ethics opinion, E-442 (November 17, 2017), is a must-read for Kentucky attorneys. https://www.kybar.org/resource/resmgr/ethics_opinions_(part_2)_/KBA_E-442.pdf.
Emails/Phone Calls From My Office: Finally, a request: I rely heavily on my outstanding staff of 26 employees to keep the office operating efficiently and accurately. Often my employees need to contact debtors’ or creditors’ attorneys. Most attorneys are responsive (or forward the messages to their own staff to respond). A few, however, ignore email and voicemail messages from my staff. Please understand that I cannot personally handle every task in every one of my 7,500 active cases. If you receive a message from one of my employees about a case, please treat it as if it came directly from me. If you don’t feel like you can give information to a non-lawyer staff person, please respond and ask to speak with one of the staff attorneys instead.
Other Changes: There are other procedure changes in my office affecting debtors and debtors’ attorneys, and I will discuss those in a different post soon.