Trump extends 25 temporary bankruptcy judge terms

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Law360 (January 13, 2021, 5:13 p.m. EST) – President Donald Trump on Tuesday signed into law a bipartisan bill extending 25 temporary judge positions on the bankruptcy bench, including in Delaware, and changing the bankruptcy fee system. .

The Bankruptcy Administration Improvement Act of 2020 passed Congress in 12 days and was presented to the President in late December. The law project extends 25 temporary mandates of bankruptcy judge for another five years in a bid to ensure the country’s insolvency system is effective during a period of increased filings by large corporations in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Among other things, the extensions apply to the seven temporary seats of the Delaware Bankruptcy Bank, one of the nation’s busiest jurisdictions for complex Chapter 11 cases and which has only one permanent seat.

The senses. Lindsey Graham, RS.C., and Chris Coons, D-Del., introduced S. 4996 in the Senate Dec. 9, where it passed the same day. It was accepted into the House of Representatives without objection on December 21. The bill was co-sponsored by Sens. Tom Carper, D-Del., Marco Rubio, R-Fla., Ben Cardin, D-Md., and Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn.

“Businesses and individuals are facing deep financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With this bill now enacted, Congress is ensuring that those who need to use the bankruptcy system can do so. effectively,” Coons said in a statement. Wednesday. “Delaware has earned a reputation for having one of the most reputable bankruptcy courts in the nation, and we can now be confident that our court will have the resources it needs to handle pressing matters and provide relief to businesses. and employees.”

The law also replaces the current fee structure payable to the US Trustee Program with a simplified, lower fee structure that will expire in five years. The new structure reduces quarterly fees paid by nearly all Chapter 11 debtors from 18% to 75% based on out-of-pocket payments made by debtors, with the maximum fee amount remaining at $250,000 per quarter.

The increase, passed in 2018, was intended to strengthen program funding and shift the burden of that funding to debtors.

Industry group American Bankruptcy Institute welcomed the signing of the law in a statement released Wednesday.

“ABI commends Congress and the President for their work to enact the Bankruptcy Administration Improvement Act,” ABI Executive Director Amy Quackenboss said in a statement. “Amid the economic challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, this law will ensure that the justice system is sufficiently equipped to help struggling consumers and businesses get a financial fresh start through bankruptcy.”

–Additional reporting by Vince Sullivan. Editing by Alanna Weissman.

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