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Delaware Bankruptcy Court Issues Revised Local Rules, Effective February 1, 2022

On February 1, 2022, the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware issued revised Local Rules.  The revisions were concentrated primarily in two rules: Local Rule 3017-2 regarding combined plan and disclosure statements and Local Rule 9019-5(d) regarding the confidentiality of mediation proceedings. Additional minor revisions were made to several other rules, including Local Rule 3007-1(f)(i), which now limits substantive claims objections to including no more than 100 claims per objection (as opposed to 150 claims) and permitting no more than three substantive claims objections to be filed each month (as opposed to two objections).

As to Local Rule 3017-2, the revisions substantially expand the scope of the rule, which previously only addressed combined plans and disclosure statements for post-sale liquidating debtors with distributable assets worth less than $25 million.  As revised, the rule will now apply to all combined plan and disclosure statement proceedings (other than “pre-packaged” plans). The rule sets forth certain non-exclusive exemplar situations for appropriate use of the rule and various noticing requirements.  The revised rule generally requires 35 days between service of notice of the final hearing and the final hearing, as opposed to the 45 days previously required.

As to Local Rule 9019-5(d), the revisions clarify the scope of confidentiality generally applicable to Court approved mediation proceedings.  As revised, the rule notes that to the fullest extent applicable, Rule 408 of the Federal Rules of Evidence (and other applicable law or rulings related to protection of settlement communications) shall apply to the mediation conference and related communications with the mediator. The revised rule further provides that unless otherwise discoverable, the mediator and mediation participants are prohibited from disclosing outside the mediation (i) certain submissions to the mediator by the parties, and (ii) oral or written information disclosed to or in the presence of the mediator or between the parties during the conference.

The revised Local Rules and a blackline to the 2021 Local Rules can be accessed here.

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