Presides in Phoenix Courtroom 601
COVID-19 NOTICE - REDUCING EXPOSURE TO CORONAVIRUS:
I. General Chambers Policy Information
A. Compliance with Local Rules
Effective March 1, 2007, Local Rule 9022-1(b) provides: Notice of Lodging Judgment or Order Immediately after electronically submitting the proposed judgment or order into ECF system, the submitting attorney or case trustee shall also electronically file on the case docket a Notice of Lodging the Judgment or Order with the proposed judgment or order attached. (This is a new provision in this rule that requires an attorney who has uploaded a proposed order into E-Orders to also file on the docket a Notice of Lodging Proposed Order and attach a copy of the order to the Notice. The filing on the docket of the Notice will then give e-mail notification to the other attorneys in the case that a proposed order has been uploaded and they can view a copy of the order) Counsel are expected to comply with all applicable local rules. Particular attention should be paid to Local Rules 1073-(d) & (e) requiring motions for joint administration to be filed in the lower numbered case, 4001-1 governing motions for relief from stay, 6004-1 governing asset sales, 9004-1(f) requiring hearing dates and time to be included in captions when known, 9013-1(d) requiring a form of order to accelerated hearings, and 9013-1(j) requiring a notice of hearing to accompany any motion that requires a hearing. Any party requesting an expedited hearing is expected to comply fully with all applicable requirements of the Bankruptcy Code, Bankruptcy Rules and the Local Rules before an expedited or accelerated hearing will be set by the Court.
B. Bar Date/Negative Notice
Effective immediately, any Motion to Extend Plan Exclusivity pursuant to 11 USC § 1121 (d) must be set for hearing pursuant to the Court's procedures as set forth below. Motions filed utilizing a negative/bar date procedure will be denied.
In addition to the bar date procedures established by the Local Rules, unless the Court orders otherwise, the moving party may use a (21) day bar notice for all:
- approvals of compromises and settlements pursuant to Bankruptcy Rule 9019 (substantial monetary or case dispositive settlements will still require a court hearing).
- objections to exemptions claimed by debtor
- Chapter 11 order & notice setting claims bar date
- professional fee applications
The party using the negative notice/bar date procedure must give detailed notice of the proposed motion or pleading and clearly state the requirement to respond within the time allowed. The party requesting relief must mail the notice to all creditors and parties in interest. Upon expiration of the time stated in the Bankruptcy Rules, Local rules, or the 21-day period as noted above, plus an additional three days for mailing, provided there are no objections filed, the party requesting relief shall file a certificate of service of no objection and lodge an appropriate order granting the relief requested. The lodged order should conform to the relief requested in the motion or pleading. THE PROPOSED FORM OF ORDER AND THE CERTIFICATE OF NO OBJECTION MUST BE SERVED ON THE PARTY AGAINST WHOM RELIEF IS SOUGHT. If an objection to the motion or pleading is filed, the MOVANT, OR PARTY INITIALLY REQUESTING RELIEF is responsible for requesting a notice of hearing with the Court, and upon receiving a hearing date, shall give notice to all interested parties of the hearing and file a certificate of mailing. In the alternative, and particularly if an objection is anticipated, a hearing date may be obtained for any such motion or pleading by e-mailing your request for a hearing to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Where time is short, the Court will receive chambers' copies of filings and permissible ex parte communications by email to Courtroom Deputy, Margaret Kelly at email@example.com.
THE COURT DOES NOT ACCEPT FOR FILING DOCUMENTS SENT DIRECTLY TO CHAMBERS VIA EITHER FAX OR E-MAIL. ALL ORIGINAL DOCUMENTS TO BE FILED WITH THE COURT MUST BE FILED BY THE ATTORNEY ON THE COURT’S CASE MANAGEMENT ELECTRONIC CASE FILING SYSTEM, OR THE ORIGINAL DOCUMENTS MUST BE FILED WITH THE CLERK OF THE BANKRUPTCY COURT before the time of the hearing, and counsel should bring information as to the electronic case filing docket number or a file-stamped copy to the hearing.
The privilege to e-mail should not be abused. Counsel should ordinarily allow themselves sufficient time to submit documents through the normal process, and all e-mails should be received no later than 4:00 p.m. of the day prior to the hearing.
D. Chambers’ Copies
If you need to provide a chambers’ copy on short notice, please see the procedures outlined in Paragraph C above.
If you are electronically filing a fee application, a motion for summary judgment or some other pleading or document which is over 20 pages in length INCLUDING EXHIBITS, a courtesy paper copy of the document should be provided to chambers shortly after the filing of the document with the Court.
E. Continuances & Resolutions of Matters Set for Hearing
A continuance of a trial is not encouraged. Cause must be shown. A hearing or trial will be vacated upon the submission of a stipulated motion and/or order which settles the matter. The motion/order shall be filed at least 48 hours prior to the scheduled hearing or trial date and time to avoid the appearance at the time of the hearing or trial. Parties should notify the Court promptly when a matter has been resolved, so that the hearing may be taken off the Court’s calendar. Any motion and proposed order which continues a matter must be in writing, filed and served on interested parties prior to the scheduled hearing date and time. If all parties consent to the relief, that should be stated in the motion. If there is opposition to the continuance, the court may set a hearing on the matter. Alternatively, counsel may appear at the time of the hearing and request a continuance.
F. Joint Pretrial Statements
The following information should be included in a joint pretrial statement:
• Short Statement of the Case - A terse statement as to each party's position regarding the claims and defenses asserted is appropriate; lengthy, advocative expositions are not.
• Stipulated Facts - There is enough to discuss at trial. Please ensure that allegations for which there are no genuine disputes are listed in this section.
• Disputed Facts - The true heading for this section is, "Disputed facts that are relevant to deciding a material issue in the case". If the item does not tend to prove or disprove an element that a party needs to establish or defend against, feel free to omit it from this list.
• Agreed Issues of Law – At a minimum, the parties should be able to agree on the legal basis for the requested relief, the elements that the party with the burden must establish, the party with the burden of proof, and the standard of proof.
• Disputed Issues of Law – Include only disputed issues relevant to establishing or disputing a claim or defense.
• List of Witnesses - This section should list each witness the party may call as a witness during trial, including impeachment witnesses, the parties identifying the witness shall set forth a summary of the witnesses' testimony and a statement of the relevance of the testimony to a stated claim or defense. Witnesses shall not be permitted to appear by declaration or telephonically without prior leave of the Court. Unless the witnesses' direct testimony is to be introduced by way of a declaration (with Court approval), the party identifying the witness shall provide an estimate of the trial time needed for direct examination. The opposing party shall provide an estimate of the time needed for cross examination of each witness.
• List of Exhibits - Each exhibit shall be separately listed, followed by the legal basis (reference to a rule, not a narrative) for any objection to admission of the exhibit. If the proponent believes an exception to a cited rule justifies admission (e.g. when a hearsay objection is asserted), the proponent shall provide a citation to the subsection of the relevant rule. A party’s failure to set forth an objection to a witnesses’ testimony may be deemed a waiver of any such objection.
• Estimate of Length of Trial - An explanation of the basis for the estimated length of trial is appreciated.
G. Exhibit Procedures
Effective January 1, 2012 - MANDATORY USE OF ELECTRONIC EXHIBITS IN THE COURTROOM OF THE HONORABLE PAUL SALA. All exhibits presented at trials or evidentiary hearings before Judge Sala are to be presented electronically. This applies to both contested and adversary proceedings.
Electronic exhibits may be presented in the following formats: Audiotape, Videotape, Electronically filed documents, Power Point, or other exhibit programs, such as Sanctions or Trial Director. Please contact Margaret Kelly if you have any questions about the format. Counsel and/or parties who present electronic exhibits, are to contact Margaret Kelly at 602-682-4148 or firstname.lastname@example.org two (2) weeks prior to the trial to schedule a time for testing the compatibility of your electronic equipment.
At the time of the trial counsel shall provide the Courtroom Clerk with a thumbdrive containing the exhibits that will become part of the official record, and will provide an additional thumb drive for Judge Sala's use. Counsel are encouraged to confer on presenting one thumb drive that contains both parties exhibits. Plaintiff's exhibits should be identified by numbers; Defendant's exhibits should be identified by alphabet. Please provide the Courtroom Deputy with an Exhibit List of all exhibits to be submitted. Exhibit list may be emailed to Margaret Kelly at email@example.com.
Those electronic exhibits in the custody of the Clerk and maintained as the official court record will be the exhibits that are presented to the Bankruptcy Court in the case, unless otherwise ordered. The Clerk of Court shall maintain control of the electronic exhibits until the matter is finally concluded, or the time for appeal has run, unless otherwise ordered to be released by the court. The exhibits shall be stored in the same electronic format that the electronic exhibits were provided.
The parties shall be responsible for presentation of the evidence, including operating any computer program, the document camera, or any video device. This may be done by the lawyer presenting the evidence or by another person providing assistance. The Courtroom Deputy will not assist the parties during the trial or hearing in the actual presentation of evidence.
GUIDELINES FOR DOCUMENT PRESENTATIONS
1. Select landscape mode (horizontal format) for presentations. This format fits the document camera and monitors the best.
2. Use simple fonts, avoid fonts that are difficult to read. Use a font size of 20 point or greater and maintain at least a 2 inch border all around.
3. Use bright, bold colors that contrast well with light backgrounds.
4. Use simple charts, such as pie and bar charts, that are easier to read.
5. Provide copies of your handouts to all parties, before the hearing.
6. To avoid constantly re-aligning and focusing, from the document camera: Staple pages together. Tape the bottom page to the document camera. Zoom and focus on first page. Simply turn the following pages when ready. If you experience a bleed through of print from other pages, just insert a blank piece of paper between each page
7. Connection Types: VGA, S-video, composite video, HDMI, Display Port and DVI
8. Resolution up to 1024 x 768
9. Please refer to Local Rule 5005-1 regarding the disposal of exhibits following the final disposition of the case.
H. Docketing Calls
Except in case of an emergency, inquiries regarding the entry of pleadings and orders on the docket should be directed to the Bankruptcy Court Clerk’s Office at (602)682-4000. In an emergency, parties may inquire of chambers staff whether an order has been signed.
Chambers staff will not give parties legal advice or provide status reports concerning items before the court. If a matter has been under advisement for more than 60 days, counsel may send a letter of inquiry directly to the Judge. Before sending the letter of inquiry, counsel should check the docket or otherwise verify that the matter has not previously been decided.
I. Specific Information
After a response is filed to a Motion for Relief from Stay, the movant shall schedule a preliminary hearing on the Motion for Relief from stay on one of the dates listed below provided that seven (7) days’ notice of such hearing can be provided to debtor, debtor’s counsel, and any other respondents, and all other persons entitled to notice under applicable rules and procedures, and their counsel.(The Order Setting Preliminary Hearing is located under Files for download at the end these procedures)
Movant shall download the required Order Setting Preliminary Hearing, fill in the case information along with the hearing date and time, and then electronically submit the Order in pdf format to the court by way of E-Orders. (In e-orders, select upload single order, relate to the motion, select order type; Orders Setting/Vacating/Rescheduling Hearing). Once the court receives the order, it will be reviewed by the courtroom deputy for proper form as to the correct location, date, and time. The order will then be placed on the court’s hearing calendar and the court docket. (IF MOVANT’S LODGED ORDER HAS AN INCORRECT HEARING DATE, TIME OR LOCATION, IT WILL BE DENIED, AND MOVANT MUST LODGE AN AMENDED ORDER WITH THE CORRECT HEARING INFORMATION.) It will be the Movant’s responsibility to review the court docket and retrieve the signed Order from the docket, or in the alternative, enable the e-mail ECF notification system. Movant shall serve all interested parties with a copy of the Court’s Order Setting the Preliminary Hearing and file a certificate of service with the court pursuant to Bankruptcy Rule 9013-l(j)(5)©. Failure to file a certificate of service may result in the relief being denied, or the hearing being continued.
*Please note that Local Rule 9022-1(b) is NOT applicable to the Court's Order Setting Preliminary Hearing
Current dates to schedule preliminary hearings at 230 North First Avenue, 6th Floor, Courtroom No. 601, Phoenix, Arizona:
January 7, 2021 at 2:00 p.m. (Phoenix Cases Only)
February 11, 2021 at 2:00 p.m. (Phoenix Cases Only)
Effective February 2, 2009, the Court will be rendering tentative rulings on Motions for Relief from Stay that are set for hearing. At least two days before the preliminary hearing date, the Court will review the Motion and supporting documentation. If the Motion is deficient, the Court will deny the requested relief without prejudice and vacate the scheduled hearing via a Minute Entry Order. Movant will have to remedy the deficiency before acquiring another hearing date
Please note that preliminary hearing calendar dates listed above contemplate a hearing of approximately 5 minutes, with no more than 15 minutes devoted to any one matter. If you need more time, please contact the courtroom deputy and you will be assigned a hearing date and time to be noticed out to interested parties.
Pursuant to the Court’s Order regarding the Motion to Vacate the Stay, parties are directed to file declarations to support their respective positions at least three days prior to the preliminary hearing. FAILURE TO FILE DECLARATIONS MAY AFFECT THE COURT’S RULING ON THIS MATTER EITHER SUMMARILY GRANTING OR DENYING THE RELIEF REQUESTED.
Preliminary hearings are not status hearings; hence, any stipulation or request to continue a preliminary hearing, after the filing of the appropriate declarations, should be specific as to the need to continue the hearing. A failure to explain the need for continuance, or to file declarations in a prompt manner, may affect the Court's ruling on the request for a continuance.
Applications for Professional Fees
Please comply with the negative notice procedures for professional fee applications as stated above. (see I., B.,General Chambers Policy Information, Bar Date/Negative Notice procedures) If an objection to the application is anticipated, or has been filed, a hearing date may be obtained by e-mailing your request for a hearing to firstname.lastname@example.org. (See section II, A below) If counsel will be seeking to obtain a security interest in Real or Personal Property of the Debtor, counsel must request a hearing.
All parties and their counsel, if any, are expected to comply with FRBP 7026(a) and (f) prior to the time of the initial Scheduling Conference set pursuant to FRB 7016(b). Upon filing of the Answer, an Order Re Rule 7016(b) Scheduling Procedures will ordinarily be issued after the answer is filed that sets forth a hearing date and time, and times by which compliance is expected.
Chapter 11 Proceedings
Local Rule 4001-4 provides additional requirements for any debtor or other movant that requests court action on matters within the first 30 days after a chapter 11 petition has been filed (“First Day Motions”). This Rule requires advance notice to the United States Trustee and that certain relief requested in a First Day Motion be conspicuous. This Rule should be reviewed carefully, and failure to comply with the Rule may result in the relief set forth in the First Day Motion being denied. Even if the relief is not within the parameters of Local Rule 4001-4, the Bankruptcy Code, Federal or Local Rules, or case law may require a specific showing from the debtor or other movant to obtain the relief requested. FOR INSTANCE, THE PAYMENT OF PRE-PETITION WAGES TO EMPLOYEES, EVEN IF THE PAYMENT TO ANY ONE INDIVIDUAL IS WITHIN THE AMOUNT SET FORTH UNDER SECTION 507 OF THE BANKRUPTCY CODE AS A PRIORITY CLAIM, AND EVEN IF THE PAYMENT WILL BE PAID FROM CASH COLLATERAL, MUST BE SEPARATELY NOTICED OUT AND APPROVED BY THE COURT. RELEVANT CASE LAW SHOULD BE CONSULTED ON THIS TOPIC. Please review the Local Rules and General Orders of the Court in requesting any accelerated hearing in Chapter 11 cases.
- Motion for Entry of Chapter 11 Discharge: All motions shall include a supplement that contains a schedule that identifies (i) the creditors entitled to payment, (ii) the amount of the payments to which they are entitled, (iii) the payments made (amount and date) and (iv)the balance owning (should be zero). Attached to the schedule should be proof of payments (hopefully cancelled checks sorted by creditor).
Bankruptcy Rules 7001, et seq. apply in all contested matters, unless the court specifically orders otherwise. See also B.R. 9014(c).
II. Calendaring, Contact & Appearance Information
A. Obtaining Hearing Dates
ALL PARTIES AND COUNSEL ARE REMINDED THAT CHAMBERS DOES NOT RECEIVE NOTIFICATION OF EVERY DOCUMENT YOU ELECTRONICALLY FILE. IF YOU WISH A HEARING ON A MATTER, PLEASE CONTACT MARGARET KELLY AT email@example.com TO RECEIVE YOUR HEARING DATE AND TIME.
Upon the filing of a motion/application, counsel may obtain a hearing date by contacting Courtroom Deputy Margaret Kelly by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The request for hearing must be accompanied with a copy of the "ECF Filing Receipt". Counsel will then be provided with a hearing date and time for the notice. Once counsel has prepared the notice of hearing, a copy of the notice must be sent to the Courtroom Deputy for review to verify that the hearing date, time, and location are correct . Phoenix hearings should be set for 230 North First Avenue, 6th Floor, Courtroom 601, Phoenix, Arizona.
MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENTS: Upon the filing of the motion for summary judgment counsel should contact Courtroom Deputy Margaret Kelly by e-mail at email@example.com A copy of the ECF filing receipt for the motion for summary judgment should be attached to the e-mail. Once the courtroom deputy is notified of the motion for summary judgment, a court order will be issued setting forth the response and reply dates, and a hearing time for the oral argument. The order setting the oral argument will be sent to parties by the Bankruptcy Noticing Center, or will be e-mailed to the moving party by the courtroom deputy.
EXPEDITED HEARINGS: Upon filing of the motion/application counsel shall upload an appropriate form of pdf order to e-orders Emergency order box. Once the court has assigned a hearing date, and signed the order, counsel will receive the signed order by e-mail, or fax, or chambers staff may notify counsel by telephone and inform counsel to obtain the signed order from the ecf docket. It is counsel's responsibility to immediately provide appropriate service of the order which sets the expedited hearing, and file a certificate of service with the court.
HEARING DATES FOR CHAPTER 13 TRUSTEE'S MOTIONS FOR STATUS HEARINGS
Location: The hearings will be held at the Mohave County Superior Court, 2225 Trane Road, Courtroom R, Bullhead City, AZ 86442
The hearings will be conducted by Video Conference from Phoenix. Parties may appear in the Bullhead City Courtroom or in Phoenix at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court 230 N. First Ave., 6th Floor, Courtroom #601. When docketing the notice of hearing in CM/ECF, please use the Bullhead City court address. Do not use the address for the 6th floor courtroom. Counsel outside of Maricopa County can appear by telephone, by calling the conference line at (877) 402-9757, access code 4376956. Local counsel should appear in the courtroom.
Hearings begin at 11:00 a.m., except reaffirmation agreements, which are set at 10:00 a.m..
- January 20, 2021(telephonic apearances only)
- March 18, 2021 (telephonic appearances only)
B. Telephonic Appearances
Policy Governing Telephonic Appearances
Telephonic appearances are allowed in all matters before Judge Sala in Courtroom 601, or in Bullhead City, Arizona except the following:
a. Trials and Evidentiary Hearings (all counsel and witnesses must appear in person unless the court has expressly approved telephonic appearances)
b. Appearances by parties and attorneys located in Maricopa County within 15 miles of the Courthouse, except as otherwise expressly permitted by the court.
c. Any matter designated by the court as one requiring a personal appearance, such as an order to show cause.
No telephonic appearance involving more than one caller will be allowed unless prior arrangements are made through the Courtroom Deputy, Margaret Kelly, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 602-682-4148.
If an individual schedules a telephonic appearance and then fails to respond to the call of a matter on calendar, the court may place the matter on second call or may treat the failure to respond as a failure to appear and rule by default. Scheduling simultaneous telephonic appearances in multiple courts does not excuse a failure to appear when a matter is placed on calendar and called.
Individuals making use of the conference call service are cautioned that they do so at their own risk. Hearings generally will not be rescheduled due to missed connections.
Scheduling a Telephonic Appearance
Telephone appearances may be arranged by emailing Judge Sala's courtroom deputy, Margaret Kelly at email@example.com, or calling 602-682-4148 not later than 12:00 p.m. the business day prior to the court hearing date.
The Courtroom Deputy will need:
- Court date and time
- Case name and number
- Name of person requesting to appear by telephone
Once approval has been obtained, parties may appear by phone by calling the conference line at (877) 402-9757, access code 4376956.
PHOENIX TELEPHONIC APPEARANCES ARE CONNECTED DIRECTLY WITH THE COURTROOM’S PUBLIC ADDRESS SYSTEM AND ELECTRONIC RECORDING EQUIPMENT SO THAT A NORMAL RECORD IS PRODUCED. TO ENSURE THE QUALITY OF THE RECORD, THE USE OF CAR PHONES, CELLULAR PHONES, SPEAKER PHONES, PUBLIC TELEPHONE BOOTHS, OR PHONES IN OTHER PUBLIC PLACES IS PROHIBITED EXCEPT IN THE MOST EXTREME EMERGENCIES. PARTICIPANTS SHOULD BE ABLE TO HEAR ALL PARTIES WITHOUT DIFFICULTY OR ECHO.
At the time of your hearing, you may initially be in the listening mode in which case you will be able to hear the case before yours just as if you were in the courtroom. After your call is connected to the courtroom, the Judge will call the case, request appearances, and direct the manner in which the hearing proceeds. Each time you speak, you should identify yourself for the record. The court’s teleconferencing system allows more than one speaker to be heard, so the judge can interrupt a speaker to ask a question or redirect the discussion. When the Judge informs the participants that the hearing is completed, you may disconnect and the next case will be called.
Telephonic appearance by multiple participants are only possible when there is compliance with every procedural requirement. Sanctions may be imposed when there is any deviation from the required procedures, or the Court determines that a person’s conduct makes telephonic appearances inappropriate. Sanction may include vacating a matter from calendar, granting or denying the relief requested depending on the behavior of the non-complying party, continuing the hearing, rescheduling the hearing and requiring personal attendance, proceeding in the absence of an unavailable participant, a monetary sanction, and/or a permanent prohibition against a person appearing telephonically.
C. Video Conferencing
Parties and their counsel may now appear at hearings through the use of video conferencing equipment. The location of a video conference hearing may vary in Phoenix. It will usually be in the 3rd Floor Courtroom at 230 North First Avenue, Courtroom 301. Evidence may be presented by video methods, if the parties (and their counsel, if the parties are represented) consent. Please contact Margaret Kelly at 602-682-4148 if you require a video conference hearing for Phoenix, or if a Prescott hearing calendar go Courtroom 301 for your hearing.
D. Obtaining a CD or Transcript of a Hearing
A party may obtain a transcript, tape or CD of a hearing by contacting the ECRO Department at 602-682-4200.
- CD = $32.00 per CD,
- Transcript - cost is determined by the number of pages and whether the party requests a 24-hour or 7-day turnaround.
Files for Download:
- Preliminary Hearing Order
- Order Approving Disclosure Statement
- Disclosure Statement Order
- Local Form 3003-4 Order Setting Confirmation Hearing (Subchapter V)