Late yesterday I received the following email from the clerk of bankruptcy court in Minneapolis:“In the event of a government shutdown on October 1, 2013, the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Minnesota will be open and will maintain normal hours and operations for approximately 10 business days. All proceedings and deadlines remain in effect as scheduled and CM/ECF will be available for the electronic filing and review of documents.”
This somewhat surprised me because last week I received the following email from the clerk of federal court’s office in Minneapolis:
"JUDICIARY TO REMAIN OPEN IF GOVERNMENT SHUTS DOWN
In the event there is a government shutdown beginning October 1, 2013, the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota will continue normal operations Tuesday, October 1, 2013. All cases, including civil and criminal jury trials, will be processed and argued and judgments will be issued and enforced according to usual schedules and priorities. The Clerk’s Office will be fully operational and CM/ECF will continue to be fully functional.” (CM/ECF means Case Management/Electronic Case Files.)
I always thought of the bankruptcy court as being a branch of the federal judiciary, and the earlier of the two emails seemed to be saying that the federal judiciary would not be shut down at all. Guess I misunderstood that. Apparently if the government shutdown continues for more than two weeks, we can expect the bankruptcy court to close.
Either way the news for now is that the Minnesota bankruptcy court is open for business as usual. Filings are being accepted and nothing is being postponed or rescheduled. I expect that this is at least in part because there are very stiff filing fees in bankruptcy court. Right now the filing fee for a Chapter 7 is $306 and the filing fee for a Chapter 13 is $281. Late last week I was charged $30 to file an amended document with the court. I imagine that at any one time there are enough of these fees in the pipeline to keep the place going for a while.
Nevertheless, I invite all my clients to keep an eye out for emails and phone messages from me concerning possible delay or rescheduling of creditor meetings or other events. The word for today is UNCERTAINTY.
This post is for general information purposes only, is not legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. I am a debt relief agency. I help people file for relief under the federal bankruptcy code.