We are constantly getting phone calls asking if the Bankruptcy Court is closed due to the Coronavirus Pandemic. The answer is Yes and No. As of March 2020 the Bankruptcy Court for the Middle District of Tennessee has been closed to the public for in-person appearances, etc… They do have a mail drop but are not allowing anyone into the Bankruptcy Court to conduct normal Court proceedings and it appears this will be true until at least October 12, 2020 if not extended even longer.
The next question is “Does this mean you cannot file bankruptcy cases during this time?” The good news is “Yes” bankruptcy cases can be filed and for the most part all is well in the Bankruptcy System for providing the relief that Bankruptcy can offer.
The Court and Trustees in Bankruptcy are allowing for remote hearings conducted by either “Zoom Video Conferencing” or by “Teleconferencing” by use of the telephone. This has allowed for cases to proceed somewhat normally with the Court and Trustees doing their best to make everything as close to what it would have been had persons filing Bankruptcy actually appeared at the Bankruptcy Court. The same questions are ask, and the requirements for documentation, proof of identity, etc… are all the same for the most part.
With the fact that the Bankruptcy System has employed Electronic Case Filing ( ECF) since 2004, and now utilizing “Zoom” and “Teleconferencing” a Bankruptcy filer no longer need to go downtown, pay parking, and spend up to one-half of a day in Court for what now can be done without even leaving your home. Different? Yes! But, very convenient. Some attorneys are even hoping that after the Pandemic is over that the Court may continue to utilize “Zoom” and “Teleconferencing” for at least some aspects of the Bankruptcy process.
So, Bankruptcy is alive and well and Court is making every attempt to protect the health of individuals involved in the process and to provide the relief and benefit that Bankruptcy was set up for to begin with.
If you have any questions regarding the filing of a Bankruptcy case during these difficult times, please feel free to give us a call at any time. We will even be happy to do a “Zoom” consultation if that would be of assistance to you.