Good news! We have had a seamless transition with video conferencing in Chapter 13 cases and now we are going to move forward and allow video conferencing for some of the Chapter 7 cases filed in Wyoming. During this trial period Randy Royal will be the only Chapter 7 Trustee that will be able to use video conferencing for his Chapter 7 cases. If successful, we hope to implement for the remaining Chapter 7 Trustees by the end of the year. Please note these important changes to 341 locations and practice:
1. Modification of 341 Locations
A. For all Chapter 7 cases filed on or after 5/15 that are normally assigned to the Casper WY 341 meeting location, those cases now will be assigned to the Greybull WY location. The Casper 341 meeting dates will remain the same for the remainder of 2016 but be held at the Greybull location. The OUST will no longer have Casper as a 341 location for Chapter 7 cases.
B. For all Chapter 7 cases filed on or after 5/19 that are normally assigned to the Sheridan WY 341 meeting location, those cases will be assigned to the Greybull WY location. The Sheridan 341 meeting dates will remain the same for the remainder of 2016 but be held at the Greybull location. The OUST will no longer have Sheridan as a 341 location for Chapter 7 cases.
C. For all cases where a Debtor resides in Big Horn, Park, Hot Springs, Washakie, Yellowstone Park (the Greybull settings), debtors will still be required to attend 341 meetings in Greybull in person. The Greybull 341 meeting dates will remain the same for the remainder of 2016 and remain at the Greybull location.
2. Overview of Change to 341 Meeting Practice
A. Ch. 7 Trustee will allow video appearance via Skype in any case where a Debtor resides outside of Big Horn, Park, Hot Springs, Washakie, Yellowstone Park counties (the Greybull settings).
B. Debtor’s request to appear by video should be submitted in advance of the meeting in writing and contain a waiver of privacy matters in relation to security of the video system being utilized and a statement by Debtor’s counsel he has personally verified the debtor’s identity and SS number from inspection of original documents.
C. Ch. 7 Trustee must confirm the veracity of the ID through video camera on Skype.
D. Creditors can appear via Skype, telephone, or in person.
E. If for some reason, technology fails during 341 meeting, Chapter 7 Trustee can reschedule that particular 341 meeting for a mutually convenient time for parties in attendance (and such continued meeting can be conducted by video).
F. If Chapter 7 Trustee deems an in-person examination is necessary the Chapter 7 Trustee will conduct such examination in-person, if possible, at one of the former 341 meeting locations that is convenient for all of the parties (i.e. former Sheridan or Casper location).
Overall, this modification should prove beneficial to all involved. Debtors will save on travel and time off work. Practitioners and the Chapter 7 trustee will save on travel and time out of the office.
Please note that if this new “pilot” program is successful we hope to implement it on a permanent basis. However, if issues arise during the “pilot” program that cannot be easily overcome, then our office will likely revert back to the old 341 process.
Any parties needing further information on this proposal, or that want to share thoughts or concerns during the “pilot” program, should feel free to contact me or the Chapter 7 trustee.
Daniel J. Morse
Assistant U.S. Trustee, District of Wyoming