Consumer Bankruptcy Journal Winter 2016 - Page 13

COMMENTS OF THE NACBA Court, all in a period of approximately seven months (assuming the Supreme Court can promulgate the rules by May 1, 2017). NACBA suggests that districts that have decided to opt out and indicate that additional time is needed should be given an additional six months, until June 1, 2018, in which they would have the option to continue using any existing local model chapter 13 plan. Review of Content of Existing Local Model Plans In September 2016, NACBA undertook a review of the model plans currently in effect across the country, and surveyed its members regarding their experiences with their own courts’ model plans which they use every day, and the content of the provisions required by them. NACBA received data from128 survey respondents in 39 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, which included 62 court districts. The court districts within which these respondents practice comprise 83% of all chapter 13 cases filed in 2015. In its review of local plans, NACBA found that (excluding Guam and the Virgin Islands) of the 99 model plans posted on bankruptcy court websites or the authorized trustees’ sites, 90 of them are mandatory in all chapter 13 cases filed. Five jurisdictions have no model plans, and four have recommended – but not actually mandated – model plans. The model plans make up 643 pages, which are attached hereto as pdfs in three parts. Several bankruptcy courts are now in the process of updating their existing model plans or adopting model plans for the first time, so these numbers are in transition. 1. Length of model plans The model plans ranged in length from a single page to more than 16 pages (much of which is single-spaced text). Plans with font size approximating 10 points were the easiest to read: larger fonts diminished the data density too much, and some of the plans used fonts that were so small they were very difficult to read. It is important to note that the longer the text in the plan, the less likely it is that the debtor or the creditor will have the patience or attention to read more than the first page or two. Therefore, all the good intentions to intensively explain the consequences of the plan are likely in vain. NACBA urges that if the proposed rules are adopted, the comments include a reminder that a local model plan should be a brief as possible, display operative data visibly, and utilize a reasonable sized font (not too big and not too small). 2. Excessive notices The longer model plans usually contain extensive descriptions of the meaning of bankruptcy code sections and numerous notices to creditors about the deadlines applicable to National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys 5 Winter 2016 CONSUMER BANKRUPTCY JOURNAL 13