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Proposal: Bankruptcy discipline effective in district court as well

Judges of the Eastern District of Virginia propose new language in their rules making it clear that a disciplinary penalty in bankruptcy court will presumptively be applied in district court as well.

The proposed changes in the district court’s local rules would make it clear that the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District is an “other court” such that presumptive reciprocal discipline procedures apply. Those reciprocal discipline procedures are set out in the Federal Rules of Disciplinary Enforcement, already adopted under local rules.

“This change makes it clear that the presumptive reciprocity procedures in FRDE II and III apply to members of the district court bar who are disciplined by our bankruptcy court, just as such procedures apply to attorneys disciplined by any other court,” read an announcement from the district court.

A similar rule change proposed for the bankruptcy court would both provide a mechanism for discipline and sanction of a bankruptcy lawyer and implement reciprocal enforcement of attorney sanction orders of other courts, including the Eastern District court.

“The change is simply meant to provide clarity,” said District Court Clerk Fernando Galindo about the district court proposal. “It was a matter of discussion amongst our bankruptcy and district judges, and they decided that more clarity would be beneficial,” Galindo said.

The district court changes will take effect Feb. 22 subject to revision based on any comments received at localrulecomment@vaed.uscourts.gov by a Feb. 15 deadline. Comments to the bankruptcy court rule changes may be submitted to localrules@vaeb.uscourts.gov through March 1.