Are the Bankruptcy Courts Open?

I am sure there are many folks wondering how the COVID-19 (coronavirus) will affect their current bankruptcy case, or even cases that have not been filed yet. For now, things have really slowed down because of some major changes that the Western Washington Bankruptcy Court has implementing. This is a work in progress, and the orders being released from the Court are changing frequently. This is because the situation here in Western Washington continues to evolve.

Seattle U.S. Federal Courthouse

Bankruptcy Court and my Hearing

Right now, the court is basically closed to visitors. This is the downtown Seattle U.S. Federal Courthouse building. Unless you have a reason to be there and you’ve been told to be there, you probably should not go to the Courthouse. Most events will be taking place via telephone. Hearings are being either continued until late April or later, or the judge is convening the hearing by telephone. There are few exceptions. But, as always, you should check on this yourself. I have provided links in the paragraphs above for your use.

Meeting of Creditors

As far as Meetings of Creditors are concerned, the trustee’s offices are coordinating setup of these events by telephone as well. This is a very odd occurrence, and it is uncommon for such things to happen in this District. The debtors are calling in, and the trustee’s are verifying their identities using various means. Sometimes, this involves the debtor’s attorney if the debtor and debtor’s attorney are in the same place. If a creditor is going to attend, then they too have to call into the meeting. Your best bet is to contact the trustee’s office or access the US Bankruptcy Court’s website to figure out what you need to do to attend one of these meetings.

How do I sign my Petition?

In addition, the courts are reducing the requirements for ink signature, so this will allow for filing new petitions and schedules a little easier and without having to meet face to face. There is still ink requirements, but there are ways to do this now without being in the same room. Using the U.S. Mail, telephone, and the internet (eFiling) will alleviate much of the risk when debtors’ attorneys meet with debtors to execute the all-important Petition and Schedules. Talk to you bankruptcy attorney about this. He or she will know how to safely and easily review your documents with you, and get you to sign them without any unnecessary risk.

If you’d like to speak to an attorney that can help you with your bankruptcy situation, please give us a call at (360) 364-5030 or you can just book an initial consultation by phone via our online scheduler – Here