You are here

Bankruptcy Court Operations during COVID-19

 

Bankruptcy Court Clerk’s Office access

The Bankruptcy Court is committed to serving parties and the public during the COVID-19 outbreak, but is taking the following actions to protect its employees and visitors to the Clerk’s Offices in Duluth, Minneapolis and St. Paul from transmission of the virus:

Until further notice, the lobbies of the clerk’s offices will be closed to the public

  • Customers are encouraged to contact the Clerk’s Offices by phone for assistance.  Most inquiries and requests for documents can be handled over the phone, and copies and certificates mailed or emailed to the requestor.
  • Pro se parties and members of the public may drop off payments and documents for filing as directed outside each clerk’s office, but are STRONGLY encouraged to mail payments and documents to the appropriate clerk’s office.  NOTE THAT THE DROP BOXES IN THE MAIN FLOOR LOBBIES OF THE TWIN CITIES COURTHOUSES ARE FOR FILINGS FOR THE U.S. DISTRICT COURT ONLY, AND NOT FOR BANKRUPTCY COURT FILINGS.
  • Filing fees may be paid by a cashiers’ check or money order ONLY.  The clerk’s office will NOT accept cash payments at this time.
  • All clerk’s offices will be staffed, the areas for drop offs closely monitored, and documents and payments promptly processed.  Confirmation of filing or receipt of funds will be sent by mail or email.
  • Forms and instructions for filing are available outside the clerk’s offices and on the court’s website
  • Creditors are encouraged to file proofs of claim, amended claims, and withdrawals of claims online using ePOC

To minimize the numbers of staff in the clerk’s office during the outbreak, phone requests for documents requiring pre-payment by credit card will be processed only one day each week, as follows:

Monday, March 30

Wednesday, April 8

Wednesday, April 15

Wednesday, April 22

Wednesday, April 29

Those with such requests are strongly encouraged to mail the request, together with a check or money order, to the clerk’s office. Requests received through the mail will be processed the day they are received.

March 30, 2020

Courthouse entrance protocols in the District of Minnesota

Administrative Order regarding entrance protocol

March 26, 2020

Revised entrance protocols for U.S. Courthouses in the District of Minnesota effective March 17, 2020

March 17, 2020

Advisory for travelers to China, Italy, Iran or South Korea

Please note that if you have traveled to China, Italy, Iran, or South Korea within the last 14 days, reside or have had close contact with someone who has traveled to one of the above areas within the last 14 days, have been asked to self-quarantine by any hospital or health agency, or have been diagnosed with, or have had contact with, anyone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19, you must inform the Court Security Officers upon entering any of the federal courthouses within the District of Minnesota and will be restricted from entering the building. If you are so affected and are an attorney scheduled to appear before the Bankruptcy Court or to represent your client at a meeting of creditors in the near future, you must notify the court or the United States Trustee’s Office so appropriate safeguard measures can be taken. In the case of hearings before the court, you may request the presiding judge’s permission to appear by telephone.

This requirement also applies to your clients in connection with their attendance at meetings of creditors, hearings and trials, and to any witnesses in hearings or trials, and you are asked to advise those individuals accordingly.

These restrictions will remain in place until further notice.

March 11, 2020

Hearings and Trials

All judges except Judge Sanberg will handle hearings, trials, continuances and requests for telephonic appearances on a case-by-case basis.  Until further notice, all of Judge Kathleen Sanberg’s hearings will be held telephonically. Further information will be posted in the dockets in affected individual cases. Notification of defaults will continue as before.

March 16, 2020

Procedural changes during COVID-19

  • Orders on partial case filing and Orders on partial conversion entered on and after March 23, 2020 and until further notice will require filing of the completion within 30 days rather than 14 days.  Debtors in cases in which such orders were entered prior to March 23 may file an application to extend time to file any completion, if needed.
  • For all documents that require a debtor's signature, the requirement in Local Rule 9011-1(d) that an attorney secure the debtor's original, physical signature prior to electronically filing such documents is suspended, on condition that, prior to filing, the attorney has:

March 23, 2020

Information for parties without an attorney

See information under the Filing Without an Attorney tab.

Bankruptcy Advice Clinic

Due to health concerns related to COVID-19, the Bankruptcy Advice Clinics in the Twin Cities are temporarily suspended.  As an alternative to the in-person clinic, VLN is offering free legal advice over the phone by appointment only. 

To sign up for an appointment to speak with an attorney, please call the VLN Intake Line at 612-752-6677 on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays between 9:00 am and 1:00 pm. 

March 16, 2020

341 meetings

Meetings of creditors originally postponed due to the COVID-19 outbreak have been rescheduled and renoticed.  

All meetings of creditors will be held telephonically or by video conference until further notice.  There will be NO PERSONAL APPEARANCES by anyone. Notices of Chapter 7, 11, 12 or 13 Bankruptcy Case commencement will, in place of the usual physical location of the meeting of creditors, direct parties to contact the trustee for instructions and information on attending 341 meetings by telephone or video conference.  

March 26, 2020

US Trustee audits

Due to ongoing public health concerns associated with COVID-19, the United States Trustee Program (USTP) announced it has suspended the assignment of new individual chapter 7 and chapter 13 cases subject to audit for an indefinite period.  The suspension limits the need for in-person contact by debtors with their counsel and others who may have been required to assist them in compiling documentation required by the auditors.  The USTP will lift the suspension at an appropriate time based upon public health conditions. 

For additional information, see https://www.justice.gov/ust/debtor-audit-information

March 25, 2020