Bankruptcy Court Procedures after Hurricane Florence in the Eastern District of North Carolina

As we all know, on September 13, Hurricane Florence struck Eastern North Carolina hard. It caused a disruption in people’s lives, employment and many other aspects of life. People may have lost their homes; furnishings; automobiles, clothing; any number of things.

Because of the disruption and the need for people to replace immediately needed and necessary items, the United States Bankruptcy Court has issued an Administrative Order for dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Florence. A link to the order is here. The procedures outlined in this Order will remain in effect through the end of 2018.

Some important items are outlined here:

Creditors’ Meetings:

If you have been displaced or you are unable to attend your scheduled creditors’ meeting due to road conditions; or you have been displaced and you are not in the area or due to something reasonably related to the effects of Hurricane Florence, the trustee may continue your § 341 Creditors’ Meeting. If at all possible, please call your attorney and let them know of your situation ahead of your scheduled § 341 Creditors’ Meeting.

Chapter 13 Plan Payments:

If your employment has been disrupted or you need to use your money to repair damage, replace needed furnishings, food, etc. because of flooding or loss of electricity, so that you unable to make your chapter 13 plan payments, the Trustee is authorized to grant you a waiver of some payments. Please contact your attorney to discuss the particulars of your situation. Before the Trustee will grant a waiver, he will want to know some specifics. Please understand this is temporary! If a waiver is granted, either your plan payments will be extended or a plan devised so that you can catch up any payments that you are allowed to miss. If you can, try to make your plan payments! If you need a waiver, please use this form here.

Chapter 13 Plan Consent Orders

If you are in a Consent Order that requires you to make your plan payments on time, the Trustee is authorized to allow a waiver or some form of accommodation to work with you. If you are unable to make your plan payments and you are under a Consent Order, contact your attorney with details of why you cannot make your payment; how is it related to Hurricane Florence and, to the extent that you are able, how are you going to get back on track. If you need to request a change in the Consent Order terms, use this form here.

Consent Orders with secured creditors

If you are in a Consent Order with a secured creditor where you make the payments directly to the creditor (outside the plan) and you cannot make these payments, please contact your attorney. We can try to reach a consensual workout on the payments. If we cannot reach an agreement with your creditor, we can ask the Bankruptcy Court consider some changes. If a debtor files a request with the Bankruptcy Court, the default provisions in the Consent Order are suspended until the Bankruptcy Court rules on the matter.

If you are in this situation, it is very important that you contact your attorney as soon as you realize that you may not be able to make your required payments. The creditor will need to be contacted as soon as possible to work out some arrangement or to file a request with the Bankruptcy Court. If you need to change the terms of a Consent Order with a secured creditor, use this form here.

Chapter 13 Incurring debt

The Local Rules requiring you to obtain court approval if you incur debt over $7,500 is suspended. If you need to incur debt to replace flood damaged property, then the Trustee may approve this without going through the court approval process. If you need to incur debt over $7,500, contact your attorney with the details of how much debt you will incur, what is it for (replace furniture, etc.), and the terms of the debt. As long as this is reasonable, the Trustee will most likely approve the transaction. If you need to incur debt over $7,500, please use this form here.

Motions to Modify

If your disruption of income is likely to be longer term or the property that you were paying for through your plan is a total loss, you may wish to consider modifying your plan. The Bankruptcy Court will consider plan modifications as quickly as possible but you will need to detail the hurricane related reasons for the change.

Information will be required:

If you are experiencing a hardship with your chapter 13 plan, please use the forms that are linked to this article to gather up the necessary information. You can e-mail it or fax it to us and we will try to expedite getting a resolution.

Finally:

This brutal storm has affected people all over Eastern North Carolina. Please be patient with us and the other people trying to help you reach a resolution to these issues.