GUIDELINES FOR CHAPTER 13 VIRTUAL HEARINGS
The following protocols will be followed for the Chapter 13 docket conducted by remote means before the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of West Virginia:
1. Video Conferencing Solutions: The court will be utilizing Zoom for Government (“Zoom”) to conduct the hearings. Participants will be connected with the courtroom using Zoom but will not be physically present in the courtroom.
2. Required Appearance By Video: The Chapter 13 Trustee, Debtor’s counsel, and counsel wishing to make an argument before the court or be heard on the merits of a case must appear by video conference.
3. Telephonic Attendance at the Hearing by Debtors, Other Attorneys, Parties-in-Interest and the Public: All debtors, other attorneys, parties in interest, or members of the public who wish to monitor the proceedings may do so using the following dial-in information:
- Meeting ID: 161 666 5385
- Passcode: 5466
- Once you call-in, you will be staged in the Zoom Waiting Room, until a court representative takes roll and checks you into the hearing. Please be sure to call into the meeting at least 10 minutes before your hearing is scheduled to begin.
4. Required Equipment: To appear by video, each attorney must have access to a computer, tablet, phone, or other device equipped with (a) a camera, (b) an internet connection sufficient to support the applicable video platform, and (c) a microphone.
5. Connecting to Judge Bissett’s Meeting Room via Zoom for Government – by Video: There are two different ways to access Judge Bissett’s Meeting Room via Zoom for Government: (A) mobile app or (B) computer. Please review each method before determining which works best for you.
|MOBILE APP||COMPUTER BROWSER|
1. Download the free “ZOOM Cloud Meetings” app from your app store and open the app.
1. Click on the link in hearing notice or enter the meeting link in your browser’s address bar: https://www.zoomgov.com/j/1616665385?pwd=dHVFdEJ2SWdoL3poQkQwdHNqN2JCdz09
6. Pre-hearing Testing. All counsel shall conduct a pre-hearing test of Zoom using the same equipment that they will be using during the hearing unless they have previously appeared for a virtual hearing before this Court without experiencing any technical difficulties. Counsel should contact the Courtroom Deputy by emailing Lisa_McNeil@wvnb.uscourts.gov to schedule a pre-hearing test at least two business days prior to the hearing.
Please note, technical settings may have changed since your last appearance, either on your end or the court’s. Also, Zoom frequently updates their software. Check for and install any software updates shortly before your appearance.
7. Courtroom Formalities. Although conducted using videoconferencing technologies, the hearing constitutes a court proceeding. No person shall record—from any location or by any means—the audio or video of the hearing. All hearings will be recorded by the Court and uploaded to the docket following the hearing. The audio recording created and maintained by the court shall constitute the official record of the hearing. Further, the formalities of a courtroom shall be observed. Counsel shall dress appropriately, exercise civility, and otherwise conduct themselves in a manner consistent with an appearance in Federal Court.
8. Hearing Procedures:
- The hearing notice will include the Zoom link; Meeting ID (10-digit access code) and a meeting password.
- All parties are instructed to access Judge Bissett’s Meeting Room 10 minutes before the hearing is scheduled to start. You will be staged in the virtual “Waiting Room”, until a court representative takes roll and checks you into the hearing. Before entering, make sure your video mode is in the “on” position, and your audio indicator shows your audio is unmuted. Once the roll is completed, parties should mute their microphone and turn off the video feed unless you are the first case scheduled on the docket.
- Parties should remain seated when the Judge joins the meeting or when addressing the Court to provide the best video feed for the Court. The Court will be hearing multiple cases, so please expect to wait until your case is called. Once your case is called, turn your video on, un-mute yourself and proceed with the hearing.
- At the beginning of the docket, Judge Bissett may ask the Trustee if there are any matters that have been resolved that she can announce. The trustee will then, announce any matters that can be confirmed, continued or removed from the docket. The remaining cases will be called in the order they appear on the docket. Parties may leave/disconnect from the meeting once all your hearing(s) are concluded.
9. General Recommendations:
- Mute your cellphones, any notifications and set their status to Do Not Disturb to avoid interruptions during the hearing.
- Mute your microphone when not addressing the court to prevent background noise, which is distracting to participants and interferes with the record.
- Close any unnecessary application on your computer or phone before the hearing begins.
- Sit with the camera trained directly on your head and shoulders. Avoid backlighting – sitting with your back to (and your camera facing) a window can result in the backlight obscuring your face.
- Speak toward your device. When you turn your head away to look at something while you are talking, the other parties and the judge may not be able to hear you.
- Participate from a quiet room and be situated in such a manner as to be able to both view the video feed and be seen by the Court. Parties should not appear from a public space or a vehicle.
- Parties should (i) wait until called upon to speak; (ii) announce their name for the record; (iii) make an effort to speak slowly, clearly, and concisely; and (iv) pause before speaking and avoid speaking over or interrupting other parties and the Court.
- Advise the court promptly if a participant has a hearing impairment that may require additional tools for communication.
- Make sure you have as strong a connection to the Internet as possible. If you are participating from a computer, consider whether you can use a “wired” connection to the internet router instead of a “wireless” connection.
- Contact the courtroom deputy with any procedural questions or concerns prior to the hearing.
10. Technical Difficulties: The court may convert the Zoom for Government platform to a telephone platform if technical issues prevent the use of a video platform. Notice of any such change will be provided to counsel through email or other appropriate means, as necessary.