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Recent Updates to the United States Code

Congress enacted the following public laws amending the U.S. Code provisions included in our annual publications. (Note: the 2022 editions of our publications are current through Public Law 117-69; the 2021 editions are current through Public Law 116-193; the 2020 editions are current through Public Law 116-73.)

United States Bankruptcy Code & Rules Booklet

Automatic adjustments to dollar amounts. Pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 104, certain dollar amounts in titles 11 and 28 of the United States Code are increased effective April 1, 2022. For details, see 87 FR 6625.

Public Law 117-43, the ‘‘Extending Government Funding and Delivering Emergency Assistance Act,’’ signed into law on September 30, 2021, made a technical amendment to 11 U.S.C. § 330(e)(3). The latter subsection pertains to payments from the Chapter 7 Trustee Fund created by Public Law 116-325.

Public Law 117-5, the “COVID–19 Bankruptcy Relief Extension Act of 2021,” signed into law on March 27, 2021, extended the effective date of the CARES Act sunset provisions for an additional year. (See Public Law 116-136, summarized below, for information on the CARES Act.)

Public Law 116-325, the “Bankruptcy Administration Improvement Act of 2020,” signed into law on January 12, 2021, created a Chapter 7 Trustee Fund and funding sources for providing additional compensation to chapter 7 case trustees, by amending 11 U.S.C. § 330 and 28 U.S.C. § 1930(a).

Public Law 116-260, the “Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021” (“the CAA”), enacted into law on December 27, 2020, provided additional bankruptcy relief for individuals and businesses affected by the Covid-19 pandemic by amending sections 364, 365, 366, 501, 502, 503, 507, 525, 541, 547, 1191, 1225, 1325, 1328, and 1329 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. The bankruptcy-related provisions are found in sections 320 (134 Stat. 2015) and 1001 (134 Stat. 3216) of the CAA. Most bankruptcy changes effected by the CAA sunset one or two years after the date of enactment. Update: CAA was enacted on December 27, 2020. Thus, the effective date of the one year sunset provisions was December 27, 2021. (As of mid-February 2022, it appears that Congress has not extended that effective date.) The CAA’s one-year sunset provisions remove from the Code the bankruptcy relief that the CAA had provided in 11 U.S.C. §§ 366(d), 501(f), 502(b)(9), 507(d), 525(d), 541(b), 1328(i), and 1329(e). This red-line version of these sections shows how their text has changed as a result of the 1 year sunset provisions. The effective date of the CAA’s 2 year sunset provisions is December 27, 2022. These provisions will remove the bankruptcy relief that the CAA provided in 11 U.S.C. §§ 364, 365(d), 503(b), 1191, 1225, and 1325.

Public Law 116-189, the ‘‘Empowering Olympic, Paralympic, and Amateur Athletes Act of 2020,” enacted into law on October 30, 2020, amended 11 USC § 362(b) by adding a new paragraph 29 which extended the exemption from the automatic stay to actions brought by certain amateur sports organizations.

Public Law 116-136, the “Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act’’ or the ‘‘CARES Act,’’ signed into law on March 27, 2020, expands bankruptcy relief for individuals and small businesses affected by the Covid-19 pandemic by amending 11 USC §§ 101, 103, 347, 1182, 1325, and 1329. The major bankruptcy changes, which are set forth in Section 1113 of the CARES Act, include (1) increasing from $2,725,625 to $7,500,000 the debt ceiling that a small business may have and still have access to the Small Business Reorganization Act of 2019; (2) excluding from the definition of “current monthly income” in 11 USC §101(10A) any payments made under federal law relating to the national emergency declared by the President with respect to COVID-19; and (3) allowing the modification of a reorganization plan under Chapter 11 if the debtor is experiencing or has experienced a material financial hardship due to COVID-19. The amendments are scheduled to sunset one year after the date of enactment. Update: Public Law 117-5, the “COVID–19 Bankruptcy Relief Extension Act of 2021,” signed into law on March 27, 2021, delayed the effective date of the CARES Act sunset provisions until March 27, 2022. This red-line text shows how the affected sections of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code will appear after the CARES Act sunset provisions take effect.

Public Law 116-54, the “Small Business Reorganization Act of 2019” signed into law on August 23, 2019, amended Chapter 11 of Title 11 of the United States Code by adding at the end a new Subchapter V. The new subchapter is codified in new sections 1181 through 1195, and will become effective on February 23, 2020. The Act also made changes to 11 USC § 547(b) (preferences), 28 USC § 1409(b) (venue of certain proceedings), as well as conforming amendments to 11 USC §§ 101, 103, 322, 326, 347, 363, 364, 523, 524, 557, 1102, 1146 and 28 usc §§ 586, 589b and 1930.

The following is a brief description of the Small Business Reorganization Act of 2019 (H.R. 3311) excerpted from House Committee Report 116-171 dated July 23, 2019 at p. 4.

“The principal features of H.R. 3311 consist of the following: (1) requiring the appointment of an individual to serve as the trustee in a chapter 11 case filed by a small business debtor, who would perform many of the same duties required of a chapter 12 trustee; (2) requiring such private trustee to monitor the debtor’s progress toward confirmation of a reorganization plan; and (3) authorizing the court to confirm a plan over the objection of the debtor’s creditors, providing such plan does not discriminate unfairly, and is fair and equitable, with respect to each class of claims or interests that is impaired under, and has not accepted, the plan. The bill also includes two provisions, not limited to small business chapter 11 cases, pertaining to preferential transfers. In sum, it specifies an additional criterion that a trustee must consider before commencing an action to recover a preferential transfer (i.e., a transfer of property by the debtor made before the filing of the bankruptcy case preferential to a creditor and to the detriment of similarly situated creditors). The first provision would require the trustee to determine whether to exercise such authority based on reasonable due diligence in the circumstances of the case and take into account a party’s known or reasonably knowable affirmative defenses. The second provision concerns the venue where such preferential transfer actions may be commenced. Current law requires this type of action to be commenced in the district where the defendant resides if the amount sought to be recovered by the action is less than $13,650. H.R. 3311 would increase this monetary limit to $25,000.”

Public Law 116-52, the “Honoring American Veterans in Extreme Need Act of 2019” or the “HAVEN Act” signed into law on August 23, 2019, amended Section 101(10A) of title 11, United States Code, to shield from creditors VA and DoD disability payments made to veterans or their dependent survivors.

Public Law 116-51, the “Family Farmer Relief Act of 2019” signed into law on August 23, 2019, amended Section 101(18) of title 11, United States Code, by increasing to $10,000,000 the dollar amount in the definition of “Family Farmer.”

Federal Civil Rules Booklet

Public Law 116-54, the “Small Business Reorganization Act of 2019” signed into law on August 23, 2019, amended section 1409(b) of Title 28, United States Code, by raising from $10,000 to $25,000 the monetary limit for the venue of certain bankruptcy proceedings.

Recent Updates to Federal Court Rules

Below are recent updates to federal court rules that we include in our annual publications, organized by publication and date of amendment. Links are to the Judicial Conference Committee Reports in the applicable Congressional Rules Package submitted by the Supreme Court to Congress. These Reports include the black line version and the official Committee Note for each amended rule.

United States Bankruptcy Code & Rules Booklet

Amendments effective Dec. 1, 2021

Amendments effective Dec. 1, 2020

Amendments effective Dec. 1, 2019

Federal Civil Rules Booklet

Amendments effective Dec. 1, 2021

Amendments effective Dec. 1, 2020

  • Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure: Rules  35 and 40.
  • Federal Rules of Civil Procedure: Rule 30(b)(6)
  • Federal Rules of Evidence: Rule 404(b)

Amendments effective Dec. 1, 2019

  • Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure: Rules  3, 5, 13, 21, 25, 26, 26.1, 28, 32, and 39.
  • Federal Rules of Evidence: Rule 807

Errata

Corrections are posted below and will be incorporated in the next printing of the publication. We welcome submission of corrections. Thank you for helping us to improve our books.

United States Bankruptcy Code & Rules Booklet –

  • 2017 to 2019 editions — 11 USC section 541(b) paragraph (10)(C): the dollar amount should be $6,425 not $6,225.

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