Trustee Blog

Electronic Signature Page

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Recently during one of Chapter 7 Riverside Trustee John Pringle’s cases, the

UST representative asked about an electronic signature page that was used twice. Debtor said he did not sign the page a second time. The first electronic signature page was used when the case was filed. Then two weeks later another document was filed. The same electronic signature page was re-used. (Also in the same case, the attorney fee listed was zero. Then the UST asked and it was found that nearly $3000 was charged. UST asked the matter be continued, so that he could investigate). This using of the same electronic signature can pose a serious issue to the attorney.

See below the recent case in which the United States Trustee brought an action against an attorney for using an electronic signature page twice:

On July 18, 20xx, (the “Debtor”), represented by (“Attorney”), electronically filed a skeletal chapter 7 petition (the “Petition”). Docket # 1. The Petition was accompanied by an Electronic Filing Declaration signed by the Debtor and Attorney and dated July 18, 20xx (“EFD 1”). Docket #2. On August 1, 20xx, the Attorney filed the Debtor’s remaining bankruptcy documents (the “Schedules and Statements”). Docket # 10. Attached to the Schedules and Statements was another Electronic Filing Declaration signed by the Debtor and Attorney and dated August 1, 20xx (“EFD 2”). Docket #10-1.

On August 13, 20xx, the U.S. trustee (the “UST”), noticing that the signature of the Debtor on EFD 1 and EFD 2 were identical, filed the instant disgorgement motion against Attorney (the “Motion”). Docket #11. The UST argues that Attorney failed to comply with the electronic filing requirements outlined in the Court Manual and, therefore, the Schedules and Statements were never properly signed. Motion 5:24-25 to 6:1-4. Moreover, the UST asserts that the Attorney himself, as debtor’s counsel, has committed similar violations of in prior cases in the Riverside Division .

Practice Pointer:

Do not use the electronic signature page twice.

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