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Recent Updates to Federal Court Rules

The rulemaking process for federal court rules is governed by the Rules Enabling Act, 28 U.S.C. §§ 2071-2077. Sections 2074(a) and 2075 provide that the “Supreme Court shall transmit to the Congress not later than May 1 of the year in which a rule prescribed … is to become effective a copy of the proposed rule. Such rule shall take effect no earlier than December 1 of the year in which such rule is so transmitted unless otherwise provided by law.”

Below is a list of recent amendments to the rules included in our annual publications, organized by publication and year. Links are to the applicable Supreme Court transmittal to Congress referred to above. Each transmittal includes a clean version of the amended rules, a red line version with committee notes, and committee reports from the Judicial Conference of the United States.

Each edition of our annual publications has the rule amendments that went into effect during the prior December. For example, the 2024 editions have the amendments that went into effect on December 1, 2023, the 2023 editions have the amendments that went into effect on December 1, 2022, and so on.

Federal Civil Rules Booklet

  • Amendments effective Dec. 1, 2022
    • Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure: Rules 25 and 42.
    • Federal Rules of Civil Procedure: Rule 7.1 and (new) Supplemental Rules for Social Security Review Actions Under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g)
  • Amendments effective Dec. 1, 2021
    • Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure: Rules 3(c), 6(b), Forms 1A & 1B (new), Form 2 .
  • 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

United States Bankruptcy Code & Rules Booklet

  • Amendments effective Dec. 1, 2022
    • Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure: Rules 1007, 1020, 2009, 2012, 2015, 3002, 3010, 3011, 3014, 3016, 3017.1, 3018, 3019, 5005, 7004, and 8023, and new Rule 3017.2
  • Amendments effective Dec. 1, 2021
    • Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure: Rules  2005, 3007, 7007.1, and 9036.
  • Amendments effective Dec. 1, 2020
    • Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure: Rules 2002, 2004, 8012, 8013, 8015, and 8021
    • Adopted Federal Rules of Civil Procedure: Rule 30(b)(6)
  • Amendments effective Dec. 1, 2019
    • Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure: Rule 4001, 6007, 9036, and 9037.

Recent Updates to the United States Code

Below is a list and brief summary of recently enacted public laws amending the U.S. Code provisions included in our annual publications, organized by publication and public law number. Use the links to see the full text of each public law, including any statutory notes such as effective date, applicability, and sunset. Also listed below are links to the Federal Register for notices of automatic adjustments to dollar amounts in certain U S. Code provisions included in our annual publications.

(Note: the 2024 editions of our publications are current through Public Law 118-22; the 2023 editions are current through Public Law 117-214; the 2022 editions are current through Public Law 117-69.)

Federal Civil Rules Booklet

Public Law 117-328, the ‘‘Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023’’ signed into law on December 29, 2022, in section 301, amended 28 U.S.C § 1407, which governs venue in multidistrict litigation. The Act, among other things, exempts antitrust actions brought by states from the power of the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation to transfer and consolidate cases.

Automatic adjustments to dollar amounts. Pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 104, the dollar amounts in 28 U.S.C. § 1409(b), which governs the venue of actions in cases under title 11, are increased effective April 1, 2022. For details, see 87 FR 6625.

United States Bankruptcy Code & Rules Booklet

Public Law 117-347, the ‘‘Abolish Trafficking Reauthorization Act of 2022’’ signed into law on January 5, 2023, amended section 523(a) of Title 11, United States Code. The amendment added, in a new paragraph 20, an exception to discharge for injury to an individual by the debtor relating to a violation of chapter 77 of title 18 (Peonage, Slavery, and Trafficking in Persons).

Public Law 117-151, the ‘‘Bankruptcy Threshold Adjustment and Technical Corrections Act,” signed into law on June 21, 2022, modifies provisions related to small business reorganization bankruptcies and wage earner’s bankruptcies. Specifically, the bill extends for two years the increase of the amount of debt allowed to be carried by debtors to qualify for small business reorganization bankruptcy and provides that this debt limit is subject to adjustment for inflation. Additionally, it provides that a small business debtor includes a debtor that is an affiliate of certain publicly traded companies. Further, it authorizes the bankruptcy trustee to operate the business of the debtor if the debtor ceases to be a debtor in possession. The bill also increases for two years the debt limit for individuals filing for bankruptcy under Chapter 13 (i.e., the wage earner’s plan) and allows both secured and unsecured debt to count towards this single limit. (This summary is excerpted from the CRS bill summary.)

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. The effective date of the one year sunset provisions is December 27, 2021.They affect the relief provided by the CAA in 11 U.S.C. §§ 366(d), 501(f), 502(b)(9), 507(d), 525(d), 541(b), 1328(i), and 1329(e). The effective date of the CAA’s 2 year sunset provisions is December 27, 2022. They affect the relief provided by the CAA in 11 U.S.C. §§ 364, 365(d), 503(b), 547, 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 U.S.C. § 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 U.S.C. §§ 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 U.S.C. §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.

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 U.S.C. § 547(b) (preferences), 28 U.S.C. § 1409(b) (venue of certain proceedings), as well as conforming amendments to 11 U.S.C. §§ 101, 103, 322, 326, 347, 363, 364, 523, 524, 557, 1102, 1146 and 28 U.S.C. §§ 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.”

Errata

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