Posted on 16-03-20

MEMO RE: CORONAVIRUS IMPACT ON
THE OFFICE OF MARY K. VIEGELAHN,
STANDING CHAPTER 13 TRUSTEE FOR THE
WESTERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS
SAN ANTONIO DIVISION

We are all aware of the current situation with the Coronavirus (“COVID-19”) and the worldwide pandemic. However, in addition to this virus we must remember that each year thousands are infected with Influenza A & B. I want to ensure that each of you and your families remain safe; and also the safety of my staff and families. The following is a summary of changes to my office effective immediately:
1. Effective immediately the First Meeting of Creditors currently scheduled for March 18th, March 25th, April 1st, and April 8th will be adjourned to following dates: March 18th and March 25th will be adjourned to April 22, 2020.
April 1st and April 8th will be adjourned to April 29, 2020.
At this time I have not set the adjourned times but will do so as soon as possible. The adjourned calendar will be posted on the website. In addition, I will call each case on the original scheduled date to advise any party in interest who may appear of the adjourned date. The Court docket will also reflect the adjourned date and time. It will be the responsibility of debtors’ counsel to advise their client(s) of the adjourned date and time. It will be the responsibility of all other parties in interest to check the Court docket or my website to verify the adjourned date and time.
As to first meetings for cases filed now expect those first meetings to be scheduled approximately 45 to 50 days which is consistent with Bankruptcy Rule 2003.
I would ask debtors’ counsel to remind their clients to sign up for the NDC and TEN debtor education.
I will revisit the policy after April 1st in conjunction with the status of the pandemic at that time and will advise all parties as necessary.
2. My staff will be operating on a split schedule with half working from 7 am – 1 pm; and half working from noon – 6 pm. The schedule for each staff member will be posted on my website.
3. My office will not be open for walk in appearances. But my office will be open for communication via phone calls and emails.
4. My office will be liberal in requests for adjournment of hearings. This is of course subject to any Court policy regarding future hearings.
5. It is contemplated that in the near future I may conduct first meetings via telephonic means or video conference. If you are capable of participating by video conference please let me know via email.
6. As to motions to dismiss I intend to continue to file motions to dismiss but will grant liberal adjournments. I prefer to put everyone on notice to file a modification ASAP. It easier to resolve a small default rather than a large default. I would also encourage requesting a 60 day moratorium and if the debtor’s income has been affected by the pandemic please include that information as well.
7. Counsel, please keep your clients informed of all adjournments pertaining to the first meeting of creditors, court hearings; and when available the process for telephonic first meetings and telephonic hearings. If possible, I am considering teleconferences for first meetings. Please let me know if your office is set up for teleconferences.
8. Ongoing communication with clients, and especially with debtors will be imperative.
9. It is my goal to see that we all get through these difficult times with as little disruption to the debtors as possible.
10. Debtor’s counsel should be prepared that confirmations may be delayed. To the extent we can resolve objections an submit early confirmation orders this will keep distributions flowing. You may also want to consider filing fee applications prior to confirmation for services rendered to date.
11. Please feel free to contact me at: mviegelahn@sach13.com; or 210-824-1460.