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 pandemic, 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:

As of Monday, September 13, 2021, the Clerk's Office intake desks will be open to the public and financial transactions will be processed daily. Masking and social distancing are still required. Starting September 13, 2021, the Clerk's Office hours are 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

  • Before visiting the Clerk's Office, we encourage all customers to review the court's website or call the Clerk's Office. Many questions can be answered on the website and most inquiries and requests for documents can be handled over the phone, with copies and certificates mailed to the requestor.
  • Pro se parties and members of the public are STRONGLY encouraged to mail payments and documents to the Clerk's Office.
  • Pro se parties may pay their filing fees by a cashiers' check, money order or debit card. The Clerk's Office will NOT accept cash payments at this time.
  • Forms and instructions for filing are available on the court's website.
  • Creditors are encouraged to file proofs of claim, amended claims, and withdrawals of claims online using ePOC.
  • Notice to Public Access Terminal Users: Parties or members of the public needing assistance with accessing court documents and who are not able or cannot afford to use PACER.gov should contact the Clerk's Office for assistance.

 

Courthouse entrance protocols in the District of Minnesota

Updated guidance to court operations under the exigent circumstances created by COVID-19 (September 16, 2021)

Administrative Order regarding use of masks or coverings in U.S. Courthouses in the District of Minnesota (May 25, 2021)

Administrative Order revisiting entrance protocols (August 18, 2020)

Administrative Order requiring masks or face coverings for all persons entering any U.S. Courthouse in the District of Minnesota (May 15, 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.

 

Debtor Signature changes during Covid-19

For all documents that require a debtor's signature, the requirement in Local Rule 9011-4(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:

  • obtained the debtor's digital signature via any commercially available digital signature software that provides signature authentication and maintains a copy of the digitally signed document(s) in the debtor's case file; OR
  • obtains express written permission from the debtor to affix the debtor's signature to the document(s) and maintains a copy of the writing in the debtor's case file.

See Order Temporarily Suspending Requirement to Obtain Original Signatures from Debtors for Electronic Filings for additional details.

 

Notices of Mortgage Forbearance under the CARES Act

A Notice of mortgage forbearance filing event has been added to CM/ECF to allow attorneys and parties to file such a notice, per section 4022 of the CARES Act.

The event prompts the filer to enter the number of days of forbearance and to indicate whether a certificate of service is included with the notice.

The filing event is located on two menus:

Bankruptcy / Post-Petition Events / Notices / Notice of mortgage forbearance

AND

Claim Events / 3002.1 Rule Supplements / Notice of mortgage forbearance

Those with limited filer privileges in CM/ECF will have access to the event ONLY through the Claim Events menu.

 

Amendments to Official Forms 101, 201, 122A-1, 122B and 122C-1 effective April 3, 2020

Effective April 3, 2020, Official Forms 101, 201, 122A-1, 122B and 122C-1 were amended to reflect provision of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (the "CARES Act") increasing the debt limit for small businesses filing under subchapter V of chapter 11 and excluding certain CARES Act payments from current monthly income or disposable income. Fillable versions of these forms will be available on www.uscourts.gov in the near future.

In addition, amendments to Interim Bankruptcy Rule 1020, part of the interim Bankruptcy Rules implementing the Small Business Reorganization Act of 2019, were adopted on April 21, 2020. See the Small Business Reorganization Act Interim Rules for details.

 

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.

 

341 meetings

On August 31, 2020, the Executive Office of the United States Trustee extended the requirement that 341s be conducted by phone or video conference to all cases until 60 days after the government terminates the President's March 13, 2020 "Proclamation on Declaring a National Emergency Concerning the Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Outbreak."

During this period of alternate meetings, the appropriate Assistant U.S. Trustee may approve a request by a trustee in a particular case to continue the section 341 meeting to an in-person meeting in a manner that complies with local public health guidance. That determination requires an Assistant U.S. Trustee to find an in-person examination of the debtor is required to ensure the completeness of the meeting or the protection of estate property. This policy may be revised at the discretion of the Director of the United States Trustee Program.

Notice of Chapter 7, 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.

Notices of Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Case commencement will, in place of the usual physical location of the meeting of creditors, include the phone number and access code parties should use to participate in the 341 meeting by telephone.

 

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 Debtor Audit Information.