Today’s post starts a new series focusing on the nuances of the Local Bankruptcy Rules of the Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California.
Local Bankruptcy Rule (“LBR”) 1001-1 contains useful considerations to keep in mind while participating in matters in the CACB. For example, if a matter implicates ambiguous or conflicting interactions with other rules, then Subsection (b) says that the Local Rules should be construed to be consistent with the FRBP rules or the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure to “promote the just, speedy, and economic determination” within each proceeding or within an overall case.
LBR 1001-1 subsection (b) also says that, if the district court withdraws the reference to the bankruptcy court or a matter gets heard in district court for any reason, then the Local Rules continue to apply even though the parties are no longer within the bankruptcy court and would, otherwise, fall within the Central District’s Local Civil Rules.
In the Central District, we have a large number of pro se filers. LBR 1001-1 can be helpful if you encounter one for any reason. Subsection (c) requires pro se filers or litigants to follow local rules and goes so far as to explain that any reference to an “attorney” or “counsel” in the local rules applies with full force to pro se parties. However, subsection (d) could, upon a judge’s discretion, limit the force of the rule to pro se litigants, which, in my anecdotal experience, does seem to occur with some regularity.
LBR 1001-1 is also helpful if you made a mistake. Subsection (d) is an important rule to keep in mind in matters where non-compliance of the local rules may have occurred either for good reason or inadvertently, which is a reasonable possibility given the complexity of many layers of procedural rules—to say nothing of the substantive law’s complexity. Subsection (d) preserves a judge’s leeway to make a ruling or order “in the interest of justice.”
Under Subsection (e), if no Local Bankruptcy Rule is applicable to a situation, then the parties and the court should draw analogies to rules in the FRBPs, FRCPs, or the Central District’s Local Civil Rules. If no analogy can be drawn, then one is free to proceed in “any lawful manner” (assuming it does not conflict with the Local rules, of course).
While Subsection (d) could give some hope to an advocate or party who runs afoul of the local rules, Subsection (f) is a cautionary reminder that violations of the local rules can also be grounds for sanctions.
As I mentioned, this is the first in a series that I’m planning to write up. When I really spent some time focusing on LBR 1001-1 I found there are some useful tools in there that I don’t see a lot of people leveraging.