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Signatures and Document Retention

Local Rule Number: 
Rule 9011-1
9000 Series

(A)     Petitions, lists, schedules and statements, amendments, pleadings, affidavits, and other documents which must contain original wet ink signatures or which require verification under Fed. R. Bankr. P. 1008, or an unsworn declaration as provided in 28 U.S.C. § 1746, must be filed electronically and may include, in lieu of the original wet ink signature, a signature in any of the signature types set forth in subparagraphs 1 and 2 of subparagraph B below.

(B)     As used in these local rules and the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure, all of the following constitute a signature on an electronically filed document:

(1)     A copy or digitally scanned image of the entire originally signed document containing a wet ink signature; or

(2)     An original wet ink signature on an original document.

Subject to paragraph D below, a filing party may indicate a signature of any party to a document by showing “/s/” followed by the printed name of the signatory where the filing party has received the signature of the signatory.  If the filing party has relied upon (B)(1) above for the signatory’s signature, the filing party must obtain the original document containing the wet ink signature from the signatory within 14 days from the date of the filing party’s receipt of the copy or digitally scanned image of the document containing the wet ink signature.

(C)     Prior to filing, the debtor's attorney/filer must:

(1)     Verify with the signer that the signer has received the entire document(s) to be signed;

(2)     Communicate with the signer regarding the substance and purpose of the signed document;

(3)     Receive back from the signer and be in possession of the entire document, including the signature page, that contains either a digital or scanned image of the signed document from the signer; and

(4)     Obtain express authorization from the signer to file the document.

(D)     An attorney’s use of the login and password issued for CM/ECF constitutes the signature of the attorney and client(s) for all purposes, including Fed. R. Bankr. P. 9011.

(E)     Any electronically filed document containing “/s/” for a debtor or non-filing party in lieu of one of the other signature types referenced in paragraph B above constitutes a representation under penalty of perjury by the registered CM/ECF filer that he or she has the document with the signature of such party or, if the signing party is also a registered CM/ECF filer, that the filing party has evidence of permission to indicate the party’s signature by use of “/s/.” The registered CM/ECF filer must retain the original signed document with the original wet ink signature and, if applicable, the digitally scanned image of the originally signed document containing a wet ink signature, for at least 5-years from the later of the date of entry of the order of discharge, the date on which the case is dismissed, or the date on which all appeals are finally resolved.  Upon request, the signed document, digitally scanned image, or evidence of permission must be provided to other parties or the Court for review.

(F)     Notwithstanding any other provision to the contrary, there is no record retention requirement for electronically filed proofs of claim.

☞ 2020 Amendment: The new Local Rule 9011-1 abrogates the existing local rules regarding signatures and document retention.  In order to file a document electronically with the signatory’s signature indicated by “/s/” followed by the printed name of the signatory, lawyers may accept a copy or digitally scanned image of the entire document with a wet ink signature by the signatory, in addition to the existing requirement of the lawyer obtaining the original wet ink signature of a signatory on a document. If the attorney is relying upon a copy or digitally scanned image of the document with the wet ink signature, the attorney must obtain the version  of the document with the signatory’s original wet ink signature within 14 days after the attorney’s receipt of the digital or scanned image of the document.  Both the document with the original wet ink signature and, if applicable, the digital image upon which the attorney relied in order to file the document electronically, must be retained for a 5-year period after the case is closed and all appeals are resolved.  For purposes of clarification, it is insufficient for the attorney to receive solely the signature page with the image of the wet ink signature from the signatory; the signatory must transmit an electronic file with the entire document containing an image of the wet ink signature on the signature page.)