Certain amendments to the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure, which became effective on December 1, 2017, impose affirmative obligations on secured creditors to protect the right to distribution in a bankruptcy case. Specifically, Rule 3002(a) now requires a secured creditor to file a proof of claim in order to gain allowance for a secured claim.
Previously, Rule 3002(a) required only unsecured creditors and equity security holders to file proofs of claim or interest for such claim or interest to be allowed. Now, "[a] secured creditor ... must file a proof of claim... for the claim... to be allowed..."FRBP 3002(a) (emphasis added).
Ignoring this new requirement may well lead to a secured claim not being allowed (absent such claim's inclusion on a debtor's schedules of assets and liabilities); however, consistent with Section 506(d) of the United States Bankruptcy Code, Rule 3002(a) has also been amended to clarify that a secured creditor's failure to file a proof of claim in a timely fashion will not alone lead to the underlying lien securing the secured creditor's claim being deemed void.
Two additional amendments to Rule 3002, which are intended to expedite resolution of bankruptcy cases, are worth noting.
First, Rule 3002(c) has been amended to shorten certain deadlines (or "bar dates") applicable to the filing of proofs of claim. Although new Rule 3002(c) leaves unaltered the mechanism for establishing deadlines for filing proofs of claim in Chapter 11 cases pursuant to Rule 3003(c)(3), new Rule 3002(c) shortens the applicable deadlines for filing a proof of claim in a voluntary Chapter 7 (liquidation for companies or natural persons), Chapter 12 (reorganization of debts for a family farmer or fisherman), or Chapter 13 (reorganization of debts for natural persons) case to not later than 70 days after entry of the order for relief (or the date of the order of conversion to a Chapter 12 or Chapter 13 case). In an involuntary Chapter 7 case, the amendments moved away from the old requirement that proofs of claim were to be filed no later than 90 days after the "first date set for the meeting of creditors" in favor of a new requirement that the proof of claim deadline shall be not later than 90 days after the entry of the order for relief.
Second, Rule 3002(c)(6) has been amended to expand the exception to the bar date where a creditor in a Chapter 7, Chapter 12, or Chapter 13 case received insufficient notice of the deadline for filing a proof of claim. Under new Rule 3002(c)(6), the Bankruptcy Court, on motion filed by a creditor before or after the deadline expires, may extend the time for filing a proof of claim for not more than 60 days following the date a motion seeking additional time is granted.
The amendments, however, do limit the ability for a creditor to request additional time to file a proof of claim to situations where (1) a debtor fails to file on time the list of creditor names and addresses required under Rule 1007(a) or (2) the notice was insufficient to provide the creditor with a reasonable time to file a proof of claim, but only if the notice was mailed to a foreign address.