Local Rules

Rule 7026-3 Discovery of Electronic Documents ("E-Discovery").

  1. Introduction.  This rule applies to all matters covered by Fed. R. Civ. P. 26.  It is expected that parties to a case will cooperatively reach agreement on how to conduct e-discovery. In the event that such agreement has not been reached by the Fed. R. Civ. P. 16 scheduling conference, however, the following default standards shall apply until such time, if ever, the parties conduct e-discovery on a consensual basis.
  2. Discovery Conference.  Parties shall discuss the parameters of their anticipated e-discovery at the Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(f) conference, as well as at the Fed. R. Civ. P. 16 scheduling conference with the Court, consistent with the concerns outlined below. More specifically, prior to the Rule 26(f) conference, the parties shall exchange the following information:
    1. A list of the most likely custodians of relevant electronic materials, including a brief description of each person's title and responsibilities;
    2. A list of each relevant electronic system that has been in place at all relevant times  and a general description of each system, including the nature, scope, character, organization, and formats employed in each system. The parties should also include other pertinent information about their electronic documents and whether those electronic documents are of limited accessibility. Electronic documents of limited accessibility may include those created or used by electronic media no longer in use, maintained in redundant electronic storage media, or for which retrieval involves substantial cost;
    3. The name of the individual responsible for that party's electronic document retention policies ("the retention coordinator"), as well as a general description of the party's electronic document retention policies for the systems identified above;
    4. The name of the individual who shall serve as that party's "e-discovery liaison"; and
    5. Notice of any problems reasonably anticipated to arise in connection with e-discovery.

To the extent that the state of the pleadings does not permit a meaningful discussion of the above by the time of the Rule 26(f) conference, the parties shall either agree on a date by which this information will be mutually exchanged or submit the issue for resolution by the Court at the Rule 16 scheduling conference.

  1. E-Discovery Liaison.  In order to promote communication and cooperation between the parties, each party to a case shall designate a single individual through which all e-discovery requests and responses are made (the "e-discovery liaison"). Regardless of whether the e-discovery liaison is an attorney (in-house or outside counsel), a third party consultant, or an employee of the party, he or she must be:
    1. Familiar with the party's electronic systems and capabilities in order to explain these systems and answer relevant questions.
    2. Knowledgeable about the technical aspects of e-discovery, including electronic document storage, organization, and format issues.
    3. Prepared to participate in e-discovery dispute resolutions.

The Court notes that, at all times, the attorneys of record shall be responsible for compliance with e-discovery requests. However, the e-discovery liaisons shall be responsible for organizing each party's e-discovery efforts to insure consistency and thoroughness and, generally, to facilitate the e-discovery process.

  1. Timing of E-Discovery.  Discovery of electronic documents shall proceed in a sequenced fashion.
    1. After receiving requests for document production, the parties shall search their documents, other than those identified as limited accessibility electronic documents, and produce responsive electronic documents in accordance with Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(2).
    2. Electronic searches of documents identified as of limited accessibility shall not be conducted until the initial electronic document search has been completed. Requests for information expected to be found in limited accessibility documents must be narrowly focused with some basis in fact supporting the request.
    3. On-site inspections of electronic media under Fed. R. Civ. P. 34(b) shall not be permitted absent exceptional circumstances, where good cause and specific need have been demonstrated.
  2. Search Methodology.  If the parties intend to employ an electronic search to locate relevant electronic documents, the parties shall disclose any restrictions as to scope and method which might affect their ability to conduct a complete electronic search of the electronic documents. The parties shall reach agreement as to the method of searching, and the words, terms, and phrases to be searched with the assistance of the respective e-discovery liaisons, who are charged with familiarity with the parties' respective systems. The parties also shall reach agreement as to the timing and conditions of any additional searches which may become necessary in the normal course of discovery. To minimize the expense, the parties may consider limiting the scope of the electronic search (e.g., time frames, fields, document types).
  3. Format.  If, during the course of the Rule 26(f) conference, the parties cannot agree to the format for document production, electronic documents shall be produced to the requesting party as image files (e.g., PDF or TIFF). When the image file is produced, the producing party must preserve the integrity of the electronic document's contents, i.e., the original formatting of the document, its metadata and, where applicable, its revision history. After initial production in image file format is complete, a party must demonstrate particularized need for production of electronic documents in their native format.
  4. Retention.  Within the first thirty (30) days of discovery, the parties should work towards an agreement (akin to the standard protective order) that outlines the steps each party shall take to segregate and preserve the integrity of all relevant electronic documents. In order to avoid later accusations of spoliation, a Fed. R. Civ. P. 30(b)(6) deposition of each party's retention coordinator may be appropriate. The retention coordinators shall:
    1. Take steps to ensure that email of identified custodians shall not be permanently deleted in the ordinary course of business and that electronic documents maintained by the individual custodians shall not be altered; and
    2. Provide notice as to the criteria used for spam and/or virus filtering of email and attachments; emails and attachments filtered out by such systems shall be deemed non-responsive so long as the criteria underlying the filtering are reasonable.

Within seven (7) days of identifying the relevant document custodians, the retention coordinators shall implement the above procedures and each party's counsel shall file a statement of compliance as such with the Court.

  1. Privilege.  Electronic documents that contain privileged information or attorney work product shall be immediately returned if the documents appear on their face to have been inadvertently produced or if there is notice of the inadvertent production within thirty (30) days of such inadvertent production.
  2. Costs.  Generally, the costs of discovery shall be borne by each party. However, the Court will apportion the costs of electronic discovery upon a showing of good cause.

Rule 7030-1 Depositions.

  1. Attendance at Deposition.  A deposition may be attended only by (i) the deponent, (ii) counsel for any party and members and employees of their firms, (iii) a party who is a natural person, (iv) an officer or employee of a party who is not a natural person designated as its representative by its counsel, (v) counsel for the deponent, (vi) any consultant or expert designated by counsel for any party, (vii) the United States Trustee, (viii) counsel for any trustee, (ix) counsel for the debtor, (x) counsel for any official committee and (xi) counsel for any party providing postpetition financing to the debtor under 11 U.S.C. § 363 or 364.  If a confidentiality order has been entered, any person who is not authorized under the order to have access to documents or information designated confidential shall be excluded from a deposition upon request by the party who is seeking to maintain confidentiality while a deponent is being examined about any confidential document or information.
  2. Reasonable Notice of Deposition.  Unless otherwise ordered by the Court, "reasonable notice" for the taking of depositions under Fed. R. Civ. P. 30(b)(1) shall not be less than seven (7) days.
  3. Motions to Quash.  Any party seeking to quash a deposition must file a motion with the Court under Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(c) or 30(d).  If such motion is filed at least one (1) business day before the scheduled deposition, neither the objecting party, witness, nor any attorney is required to appear at a deposition to which a motion is directed until the motion is resolved.

Rule 7055-1 Default

All applications, motions or requests for default/default judgment under Fed. R. Bankr. P. 7055 shall be served on the party against whom a default is sought and the party's attorney if an entry of appearance has been filed in the adversary or bankruptcy case, in accordance with Local Rule 9013-1.  Requests for default/default judgment shall be in compliance with the Clerk's Office Procedures.

Rule 8001-1 Appeals From Bankruptcy Court Orders.

  1. Appeals Generally.  A notice of appeal shall be in conformity with Official Bankruptcy Form B 17 and shall be accompanied by the prescribed filing fee.
  2. Transmittal of Notice of Appeal to Bankruptcy Judge.  When appealing from an order entered by a bankruptcy judge, substantially contemporaneous with the filing of a notice of appeal, the appellant shall mail or deliver a copy of the notice of appeal to the bankruptcy judge whose order is the subject of the appeal.  For the avoidance of doubt, the failure of an appellant to provide a copy of the notice of appeal to the bankruptcy judge shall not affect the jurisdiction of any appellate court to hear such appeal.
  3. Opinion in Support of Order.  Any bankruptcy judge whose order is the subject of an appeal may, within seven (7) days of the filing date of the notice of appeal, file a written opinion that supports the order being appealed or that supplements any earlier written opinion or recorded oral bench ruling or opinion.
  4. Notice to Official Committees.  Simultaneously with the filing of any notice of appeal or notice of cross-appeal, with respect to an appeal in which any official committee in the bankruptcy case from which such appeal originated is not a named party to the appeal, the party filing such notice of appeal or notice of cross-appeal shall serve a copy of such notice on counsel to any such official committee and shall file with the notice of appeal or notice of cross-appeal a certificate of service.
  5. Committee Request for Notice.  Any official committee wishing to be placed on the service list for any appeal for the purpose of receiving notices and copies of papers served shall, within twenty-one (21) days of service of the notice of appeal or the notice of cross-appeal as provided for in Local Rule 8001-1(a), file with the Court a request for notice.  Such notice shall become part of the record for the appeal to be transmitted to the District Court Clerk by the Clerk.
  6. Intervention.  Nothing contained herein shall affect or in any way determine any official committee's right to intervene in any appeal or cross-appeal or its obligation to seek leave to intervene in any appeal or cross-appeal if such official committee is not a named party to such appeal or cross-appeal.

Rule 8001-2 Appeals From District Court Orders.

All appeals from a judgment, order or decree of a District Court Judge exercising original jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1334 over a bankruptcy case, matter or proceeding docketed in the Clerk's Office shall be:

  1. Filed with the District Court;
  2. Directed by the Clerk to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals; and
  3. Treated as an appeal from a final judgment, order or decree of a district court exercising jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1334 for purposes of Rule 6(a) of the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure.

Rule 8006-1 Filing of Copies of Record on Appeal.

  1. The appellant, and appellee, if applicable, shall:  File and serve a designation of the items to be included in the record on appeal/cross-appeal, along with a statement of the issues to be presented, in accordance with Fed. R. Bankr. P. 8006; and
  2. At the time of filing the designation identified in Local Rule 8006-1(a), the parties shall file an index identifying by docket number, if available, the following items:
    1. Those documents identified in the designation submitted under Local Rule 8006-1(a);
    2. Any documents that may be expressly requested by the Clerk or the Court; and
    3. A copy of the relevant transcript; if unavailable, evidence that the transcript has been ordered.
  3. In the event that a document identified in the designations does not have a docket number (e.g., exhibits submitted during a hearing, etc.) such documents shall be filed electronically with the Clerk of Court at the time the index is filed and shall be referenced in the index by hearing date and exhibit number.
  4. When all documents referenced on the index have been filed, the Bankruptcy Court Clerk shall electronically transmit the record on appeal to the District Court Clerk’s Office.

No paper copies of the record on appeal shall be filed with the District Court absent a case-specific order.

Rule 9004-1 Caption.

  1. Documents submitted for filing shall contain in the caption the name of the debtor, the case number, the initials of the Judge to whom the case has been assigned, the docket number assigned to the case and, if applicable, the adversary proceeding number.  All documents filed with the Clerk that relate to a document previously filed and docketed shall contain in its title the title of the related document and its docket number, if available.
  2. The hearing date and time and the objection date and time of a motion shall be set forth in bold print (i) in the caption of the notice and motion and all related pleadings, below the case or adversary number and (ii) in the text of the notice.

Rule 9006-1 Time for Service and Filing of Motions and Objections.

  1. Generally.  Fed. R. Bankr. P. 9006 applies to all cases and proceedings in which the pleadings are filed with the Clerk.
  2. Discovery-Related Motions.  All motion papers under Fed. R. Bankr. P. 7026-7037 shall be filed and served in accordance with Local Rule 7026-1.
  3. All Other Motions.
    1. Service of Motion Papers.  Unless the Fed. R. Bankr. P. or these Local Rules state otherwise, all motion papers shall be filed and served in accordance with Local Rule 2002-1(b) at least fourteen (14) days prior to the hearing date.
    2. Objection Deadlines.  Where a motion is filed and served in accordance with Local Rule 9006-1(c)(i), the deadline for objection(s) shall be no later than seven (7) days before the hearing date.  To the extent a motion is filed and served in accordance with Local Rule 2002-1(b) at least twenty-one (21) days prior to the hearing date, however, the movant may establish any objection deadline that is no earlier than fourteen (14) days after the date of service and no later than seven (7) days before the hearing date.  Any objection deadline may be extended by agreement of the movant; provided, however, that no objection deadline may extend beyond the deadline for filing the agenda.  In all instances, any objection must be filed and served so as to be received on or before the applicable objection deadline.  The foregoing rule applies to responses to Omnibus Objection to Claims.  Del. Bankr. L.R. 3007-1. 
  4. Reply Papers.  Reply papers by the movant, or any party that has joined the movant, may be filed and, if filed, shall be served so as to be received by 4:00 p.m. prevailing Eastern Time the day prior to the deadline for filing the agenda.  The foregoing rule applies to replies to Omnibus Objection to Claims.  Del. Bankr. L.R. 3007-1.
  5. Shortened Notice.  No motion will be scheduled on less notice than required by these Local Rules or the Fed. R. Bankr. P. except by order of the Court, on written motion (served on all interested parties) specifying the exigencies justifying shortened notice.  The Court will rule on such motion promptly without need for a hearing.

Rule 9006-2 Bridge Orders Not Required in Certain Circumstances

Unless otherwise provided in the Code or in the Fed. R. Bankr. P., if a motion to extend the time to take any action is filed before the expiration of the period prescribed by the Code, the Fed. R. Bankr. P., these Local Rules or Court order, the time shall automatically be extended until the Court acts on the motion, without the necessity for the entry of a bridge order.

Rule 9010-1 Bar Admission.

  1. The Bar of this Court.  The Bar of this Court shall consist of those persons heretofore admitted to practice in the District  Court and those who may hereafter be admitted in accordance with these Rules.
  2. Admission Pro Hac Vice.  Attorneys admitted, practicing, and in good standing in another jurisdiction, who are not admitted to practice by the Supreme Court of the State of Delaware and the District Court, may be admitted pro hac vice in the discretion of the Court, such admission to be at the pleasure of the Court.  Unless otherwise ordered by the Court, or authorized by the Constitution of the United States or acts of Congress, an applicant is not eligible for permission to practice pro hac vice if the applicant:
    1. Resides in Delaware; or
    2. Is regularly employed in Delaware; or
    3. Is regularly engaged in business, professional, or other similar activities in Delaware.

Any Judge of the Court may revoke, upon hearing after notice and for good cause, a pro hac vice admission in a case or proceeding before a judge.  The form for admission pro hac vice, which may be amended by the Court, is Local Form 105 and is located on the Court's website.

  1. Association with Delaware Counsel Required.  Unless otherwise ordered, an attorney not admitted to practice by the District Court and the Supreme Court of the State of Delaware may not be admitted pro hac vice unless associated with an attorney who is a member of the Bar of the District Court and who maintains an office in the District of Delaware for the regular transaction of business ("Delaware counsel").  Consistent with CM/ECF Procedures, Delaware counsel shall be the registered users of CM/ECF and shall be required to file all papers.  Unless otherwise ordered, Delaware counsel shall attend proceedings before the Court.
  2. Time to Obtain Delaware Counsel.  A party not appearing pro se shall obtain representation by a member of the Bar of the District Court or have its counsel associate with a member of the Bar of the District Court in accordance with (paragraph (c) above) within thirty (30) days after:
    1. The filing of the first paper filed on its behalf; or
    2. The filing of a case transferred or removed to this Court.

Failure to timely obtain such representation shall subject the defaulting party to appropriate sanctions.

  1. Motion for Pro Hac Vice and Association with Delaware Counsel not Required.
    1. Government Attorneys.  An attorney not admitted in the District Court but admitted in another United States District Court may appear representing the United States of America (or any officer or agency thereof) or any state or local government (or officer or agency thereof) so long as a certification is filed, signed by that attorney, stating (a) the courts in which the attorney is admitted, (b) that the attorney is in good standing in all jurisdictions in which he or she has been admitted and (c) that the attorney will be bound by these Local Rules and that the attorney submits to the jurisdiction of this Court for disciplinary purposes.
    2. Delaware Attorney with Out of State Office.  Attorneys who are admitted to the Bar of the District Court and in good standing, but who do not maintain an office in the District of Delaware, may appear on behalf of parties upon approval by the Court.
    3. Claim Litigation.  Parties (pro se or through out of state counsel) may file or prosecute a proof of claim or a response to their claim.  The Court may, however, direct the claimant to consult with Delaware counsel if the claim litigation will involve extensive discovery or trial time.
  2. Standards for Professional Conduct.  Subject to such modifications as may be required or permitted by federal statute, court rule or decision, all attorneys admitted or authorized to practice before this Court, including attorneys admitted on motion or otherwise, shall also be governed by the Model Rules of Professional Conduct of the American Bar Association, as may be amended from time to time.