September 14, 2016

Signature Required

 

Although many courts allow fax signatures and other document signing other than the actual “wet” signature, Bankruptcy Courts do not.   When you sign your petition, like an artist, it must have your actual signature.

 

Background:

  • Attorney electronically filed a debtor’s petition and related schedules with signatures that had been created using software.
  • Software he used was called DocuSign.
  • Attorney did not have an actual “wet” signature on file to back up the electronic signatures.
  • DocuSign allows someone to approve a document by clicking the “Sign Here” button to be treated as the person signing to be his actual signature.
  • Debtor also liked the process and found it safe.

Bankruptcy Court Decision

  • Although the debtor and the attorney felt it was a good process, the Court did not.
  • When the United States Trustee requested copies of the actual signature on file, the attorney produced a signature that was a week after the request.
  • The document was not signed the same date.
  • An electronic signature can be manipulated; someone else could click the “Sign Here” button.
  • Rule 9004-1c (1) c states that, if a registered user files a document with software generated electronic signature, the filer certifies an original signature exists and is on file in the attorney’s office.
  • Court ordered the attorney to complete the online-efiling training on the court’s website and to file a declaration verifying that he had done so. This declaration would require an actual signature.
  • Attorney was requesting the Court to disregard the timeliness requirements.
  • REQUEST DENIED.

Not everyone takes the explicit instructions of the Court seriously.    However, the Bankruptcy Court has specific rules and an experienced bankruptcy attorney goes by the Court’s Rules.

You should choose a Board Certified Bankruptcy Attorney who has proven expertise in the field of bankruptcy and abides by the rules.