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Judge's Procedures: Chief Judge Eddward P Ballinger, Jr. - Courtroom #703, 7th Floor

Information to schedule a hearing in Prescott, AZ

TELEPHONIC INFORMATION

In order to appear telephonically before Judge Ballinger in Phoenix or Bullhead City, please call 602-682-4198 a few minutes prior to the hearing. That is our courtroom's conference line. No one answers the phone and there is no music - just dead air. Other parties may be on the phone. If so, you will be able to hear one another. Just before Judge Ballinger takes the bench, the call will be placed on the PA system and the calendar will be called just as if you're in the courtroom. We request that the parties NOT be on speaker phone, as it may cause problems with the connection.  All calls MUST be from a land line.  Telephonic appearances by cell phone are not acceptable.  Please contact Courtroom Deputy, Annette Aguilar at epbecfhearing@azb.uscourts.gov or by phone at 602-682-4188 to advise of your appearance by phone.

COMPLIANCE WITH LOCAL RULES

Counsel are expected to comply with all applicable Local Rules. Particular attention should be paid to Local Rules 1015-1(a) requiring motions for joint administration to be filed in the lower-numbered case, 4001-1 governing motions for relief from stay, 6004-1 governing asset sales, 9004-1(d) requiring hearing dates and times to be included in captions when known, 9013-1(d) requiring a form of order to accompany a motion that may be granted ex parte, 9013-1(h) governing procedures for obtaining accelerated hearings, and 9013-1(j) requiring a notice of hearing to accompany any motion that requires a hearing. Any party requesting an expedited hearing is expected to comply fully with all applicable requirements of the Bankruptcy Code, Bankruptcy Rules and the Local Rules before an expedited or accelerated hearing will be set by the Court.

BAR DATE/NEGATIVE NOTICE

In addition to the bar date procedures established by the Local Rules, unless the Court orders otherwise, the moving party may use a twenty-one (21) day bar date notice for all:

  • Section 363 sales other than real property (and other than pursuant to Code §363(h);
  • Approvals of compromises and settlements pursuant to Bankruptcy Rule 9019;
  • Debtor's objection to claims - all chapters;
  • Applications for professional fees;
  • Objections to exemptions claimed by debtor

The party using the negative notice/bar date procedure must give detailed notice of the proposed motion or application and clearly state the requirement to respond within the time allowed. The moving party must mail the notice to all creditors and parties in interest. Upon expiration of the time stated, plus an additional three days for mailing, provided there are no objections filed, the moving party may file a certificate of service and of no objection and lodge an appropriate order granting the relief requested. The lodged order should conform to the relief requested in the motion or application. Please upload lodged orders via ECF.

In the alternative, and particularly if an objection is anticipated, or if an objection to the motion or application is filed, the MOVANT is responsible for obtaining a hearing date by e-mailing your request to epbecfhearing@azb.uscourts.gov.   Upon receipt of the hearing date, the movant shall prepare and give notice to the appropriate parties and file a certificate of mailing with the Clerk of Court. Be sure to email a copy of the ecf filing receipt for the notice of hearing to Courtroom Deputy, Annette Aguilar at epbecfhearing@azb.uscourts.gov in order for your hearing to be properly calendared. Failure to do so will result in your matter being left off calendar and the hearing being rescheduled to another date.

PROCEDURES FOR OBTAINING AND NOTICING THE FOLLOWING MATTERS:

**PLEASE NOTE:  These same procedures should be used for BHC (office code 0) and PCT cases (office code 3).  The difference is the hearing location.  You cannot use CHS for these office codes.

Preliminary Stay Relief Hearings and Rule 16 Scheduling Conferences

  1. Once an objection is filed to a Motion for Relief from Stay, the Moving party should obtain a date for the setting of a Preliminary Hearing.
    1. Select a hearing date and time using the CHS Hearing Date Look-Up (link below)
    2. Download the PDF order for procedures in stay relief matters.
  2. Once an answer is filed to an adversary complaint, the plaintiff should obtain a date for the setting of a Rule 16 Scheduling Conference.
    1. Select a hearing date and time using the CHS Hearing Date Look-Up (link below)
    2. Download the PDF order for procedures in adversary matters.
  3. Prepare a notice of preliminary hearing or notice of rule 16 scheduling conference and attach the procedural order to the notice of hearing. A copy of the Procedures Order MUST be attached to the notice of hearing for notice to be effective. Please include the “related to” docket number of the underlying motion under the subject of the hearing for all lift stay motions.
  4. Serve the notice of hearing with the order attached to the appropriate parties and file the notice and certificate of service via ECF.
  5. Email a copy of the ECF receipt for the notice of hearing to epbecfhearing@azb.uscourts.gov in order for the matter to be calendared. Failure to provide the receipt will result in your matter being left off calendar and the hearing will be rescheduled.

Motions to Dismiss Administrative Case

Counsel may schedule a hearing on a Motion to Dismiss administrative case using the CHS Hearing Date Look-Up (link below) provided that appropriate notice of such hearing can be provided to all creditors and interested parties.

CHS HEARING DATES: (all dates are subject to change)

To see a list of available dates for preliminary stay relief hearings, Rule 16 scheduling conferences and motions to dismiss the administrative case, please click the Hearing Dates Look-Up link below:

IN ORDER TO HAVE YOUR HEARING CALENDARED, YOU MUST PROVIDE A COPY OF THE ECF FILING RECEIPT FOR THE NOTICE OF HEARING TO COURTROOM DEPUTY AT LEAST ONE WEEK PRIOR TO THE HEARING. FAILURE TO DO SO WILL RESULT IN YOUR HEARING NOT BEING CALENDARED AND YOU WILL HAVE TO RE-NOTICE THE MATTER. EMAIL THE RECEIPT OF FILING THE NOTICE OF HEARING TO: epbecfhearing@azb.uscourts.gov.

Please note: If the parties have settled or there is an agreement to continue any hearings scheduled, the moving party may contact Courtroom Deputy, Annette Aguilar by phone or email to do so without coming to the hearing.

ORAL ARGUMENT ON MOTIONS FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

  1. Once a motion for summary judgment is filed, email a copy of the ecf filing receipt to Courtroom Deputy, Annette Aguilar at epbecfhearing@azb.uscourts.gov.
  2. You will receive an email advising you of the date and time to set the hearing.
  3. Prepare a notice setting oral argument on the motion for summary judgment. Please include the “related to” docket number of the motion under the subject of the hearing.
  4. Download the PDF order for procedures re: motions for summary judgment and attach the order to the notice of hearing. A copy of the Procedures Order MUST be attached to the notice of hearing for notice to be effective.
  5. Serve the notice of hearing with the order attached to the appropriate parties and file the notice and certificate of service via ECF.
  6. Email a copy of the ECF receipt for the notice of hearing to epbecfhearing@azb.uscourts.gov in order for the matter to be calendared. Failure to provide the receipt will result in your matter being left off calendar and the hearing will be rescheduled.

STATUS HEARING ON CHAPTER 11 CASES

  1. Upon the filing of a new chapter 11 case, counsel is to email a copy of the ecf filing receipt to Courtroom Deputy, Annette Aguilar at epbecfhearing@azb.uscourts.gov.
  2. You will receive an email advising you of the date and time of the status hearing on the chapter 11 case.
  3. Prepare a notice of hearing.
    1. Download the PDF order for procedures re: chapter 11 cases and attach the order to the notice of hearing.
  4. Serve the notice of hearing with the procedure order attached to the appropriate parties and file the notice and certificate of service via ECF.
  5. Email a copy of the ECF receipt for the notice of hearing to epbecfhearing@azb.uscourts.gov in order for the matter to be calendared. Failure to provide the receipt will result in your matter being left off calendar and the hearing will need to be rescheduled.

OBTAINING HEARING DATES FOR ALL OTHER MATTERS

Upon the filing of all other motions/applications, counsel may contact Courtroom Deputy, Annette Aguilar by phone at (602) 682-4188 or by email at epbecfhearing@azb.uscourts.gov to obtain a hearing date. The request for hearing must contain the docket number of the motion/application and subject matter. Ms. Aguilar will then respond with a hearing date and time to be noticed by counsel. When counsel notices the hearing a copy of the ECF filing receipt for the notice of hearing must be provided to the Courtroom Deputy for her review so she can make sure the date and time is correct. Please email the notice and filing receipt to epbecfhearing@azb.uscourts.gov.

EXHIBIT PROCEDURES

ELECTRONIC EXHIBITS ARE MANDATORY IN THE COURTROOM OF THE HONORABLE EDDWARD P. BALLINGER, Jr.

All exhibits presented at trial before Judge Ballinger are to be presented electronically. This rule does not apply to pro se parties.

Electronic exhibits may be presented in the following formats: CD-Rom, Audiotape, Videotape, electronically filed documents, Power Point, or other exhibit programs, such as Sanctions or Trial Director. The Courtroom Deputy will not mark electronic exhibits with traditional exhibit tags. Instead, counsel and/or parties are to work together to properly mark the exhibits and to provide an electronic list of all exhibits to the Courtroom Deputy. (Sample of Exhibit list below) Please contact Courtroom Deputy, Annette Aguilar if you have any questions about the format. Counsel and/or parties are to contact Courtroom Deputy, Annette Aguilar at 602-682-4188 or epbecfhearing@azb.uscourts.gov. one (1) weeks prior to the trial to schedule a time for electronic exhibit testing.

Those electronic exhibits in the custody of the Clerk and maintained as the official court record will be the exhibits that are presented to the appellate court in the case, unless otherwise ordered. The Clerk of Court shall maintain control of the electronic exhibits in a case until the matter is finally concluded, or the time for appeal has run, unless otherwise ordered to be released by the court. The exhibits shall be stored in the same electronic format that the electronic exhibits were provided.

Exhibit List

GUIDELINES FOR DOCUMENT PRESENTATIONS

1. Select landscape mode (horizontal format) for presentations. This format fits the document camera and monitors the best.

2. Use Helvetica or Tahoma fonts. Use a font size of 20 point or greater and maintain at least a ½ inch border all around.

3. Use bright, bold colors that contrast well with light backgrounds.

4. Use simple charts, such as pie and bar charts, that are easier to read.

5. Provide copies of your handouts to all parties, before the hearing.

6. To avoid constantly re-aligning and focusing, from the document camera: Staple pages together. Tape the bottom page to the document camera. Zoom and focus on first page. Simply turn to the following pages when ready. If you experience a bleed through of print from other pages, insert a blank piece of paper between each page.

7. Connection Types: VGA, S-video, composite video, HDMI, Display Port and DVI.

8. Resolution up to 1024 x 768.

9. Please refer to Local Rule 5005-1 regarding the disposal of exhibits following the final disposition of the case.

USE OF DECLARATIONS

Unless otherwise ordered, the direct testimony of any expert witness shall be by written declaration and the witness shall appear in person at the hearing and shall be subject to cross examination.

JOINT PRETRIAL STATEMENT

The following information should be included in the joint pretrial statement:

  • Short Statement of the Case - A terse statement as to each party's position regarding the claims and defenses asserted is appropriate; lengthy, advocative expositions are not. 
  • Stipulated Facts - There is enough to discuss at trial.  Please ensure that allegations for which there are no genuine disputes are listed in this section.
  • Disputed Facts - The true heading for this section is, "Disputed facts that are relevant to deciding a material issue in the case".  If the item does not tend to prove or disprove an element a party needs to establish or defend against, feel free to omit it from this list.
  • Agreed Issues of Law - Every case has them.
  • Disputed Issues of Law - History has shown not much guidance is required for this topic.  But, please only include disputed issues relevant to establishing or disputing a claim or defense.
  • List of Witnesses - This section should list each witness the party may call as a witness during trial, and a summary of the witnesses' testimony and a statement of the relevance of the testimony to a stated claim or defense.  This requirement does not apply to those who may be called SOLELY for impeachment purposes.  [Note: Witnesses shall not be permitted to appear telephonically without prior leave of Court and when leave is granted these appearances shall not involve the witnesses' use of wireless devices.] For each witness the opposing party shall set forth, immediately following the summary of the testimony, the legal basis for any objection to the witness testifying.  Unless the witnesses' direct testimony is to be introduced by way of a declaration, an estimate of the trial time needed for direct examination shall be provided.  Estimates of the time needed for cross examination and re-direct examination shall be provided for each witness.  [Note: Absent an order to the contrary entered prior to or during trial, the court will not allot more than twenty (20) minutes for each re-direct examination.]
  • List of Exhibits - Each exhibit shall be separately listed, followed by the legal basis for any objection to admission of the exhibit.  "Legal basis" means reference to the rule of evidence prohibiting admission, not a narrative.  If the proponent believes an exception to a cited rule justifies admission (e.g. when a hearsay objection is asserted) a citation to the subsection of the relevant rule shall be cited. 
  • Estimate of Length of Trial - An explanation of the basis for the estimated length of trial is appreciated. 

CONTINUANCES AND RESOLUTION OF MATTERS SET FOR HEARING

Continuances may generally be obtained by telephonic request to the Courtroom Deputy, Annette Aguilar at (602) 682-4188 or by email at epbecfhearing@azb.uscourts.gov. When a telephonic continuance is obtained, the party requesting it shall lodge, as soon as practicable, either an order granting the continuance or a stipulation signed by the parties. The party requesting the continuance shall also file a new form of notice for the continued hearing with the date and time included. The party requesting the continuance has the obligation of notifying the opposing counsel, trustee or party. Failure to do so may result in sanctions in the appropriate circumstances.

Parties should notify the Court promptly when a matter has been resolved so that the hearing may be taken off the Court's calendar.

DISCOVERY

Very rarely should discovery disputes require court intervention, if the parties keep in mind the court's philosophy. 

With respect to production of materials, in most cases the only successful objections will be directed towards issues of confidentiality (privileges, protection of trade secrets, etc.).  Relevance objections will almost always be overruled.  Objections based upon a production request being burdensome will be seriously considered. Seasoned counsel will almost always be able to predict the court's ruling in these instances. 

When a discovery dispute arises, the court requires, as a prerequisite to filing a motion in accordance with Local Rule 9013-1, that the party requesting relief first file a Preliminary Request.  Such Preliminary Request shall not exceed three pages in length.  In addition to providing a brief description of the discovery dispute, the Preliminary Request shall confirm:

   1. That the parties have conferred in person, not by electronic means, and attempted to resolve their disputes (if a dispute arises as to where to meet, the parties shall call the courtroom deputy and arrange for the use of a court conference room) and that they have not been able to resolve their differences; and

   2. That prior to filing the Preliminary Request, the moving party asked that the courtroom deputy set an expedited joint conference with the judge to resolve the dispute and was told he/she could not be accommodated.

Parties are encouraged to call the court in the event disputes arise during discovery (e.g. during a deposition).  Please be aware that the court interprets Fed. R. Civ. P. 30(c)(2) and Fed. R. Bank. P. 7030 to place significant limits on the comments and objections that may be interposed by counsel representing a deponent.  Only those objections related to privileges against disclosure or generic statements regarding defects in the form of a question (e.g. "I object to the form of the question.") are permitted.  Compliance with these guidelines is mandatory.

RECUSAL ORDER

The appearance of the following entities in any contested matter before this court requires this court to enter an order of recusal as to that contested matter:  Information forthcoming.

OBTAINING A TAPE, CD OR TRANSCRIPT OF A HEARING

A party may obtain a transcript, tape or CD of a hearing by contacting the ECR department at (602) 682-4200. The cost of obtaining these items is:

  • CD: $30.00 per CD

The cost of a transcript is determined by the number of pages and whether the party requests a 1-hour, 24-hour, 7-day, 14-day or 30-day turnaround.

DOCKET INQUIRIES

Except in the case of an emergency, inquiries regarding the entry of pleadings and orders on the docket should be directed to the Bankruptcy Court Clerk's Office at (602) 682-4000. In an emergency, parties may inquire of chambers staff whether an order has been signed by calling Judicial Assistant, Linda Gray at (602) 682-4184. Calls regarding hearings should be directed to Courtroom Deputy, Annette Aguilar at (602) 682-4188 or by email at epbecfhearing@azb.uscourts.gov.

Chambers staff will not give parties legal advice or provide status reports concerning items before the Court.

E-MAIL

Where time is short, the Court will receive chambers copies of filings and permissible ex-parte communications by e-mail to Courtroom Deputy, Annette Aguilar at epbecfhearing@azb.uscourts.gov. THE COURT DOES NOT ACCEPT FOR FILING DOCUMENTS SENT DIRECTLY TO CHAMBERS BY EMAIL. ALL ORIGINAL DOCUMENTS TO BE FILED WITH THE COURT MUST BE FILED WITH THE CLERK OF THE BANKRUPTCY COURT before the time of the hearing, and counsel should bring a file-stamped copy to the hearing. The privilege to e-mail chambers should not be abused. Counsel should ordinarily allow themselves sufficient time to submit documents through the normal process, and all faxes and e-mails should be received no later than 4:00 p.m. of the day prior to the hearing.

Files for Download