Telephonic Court Appearance & Telephonic Testimony Procedures for all Judges
Adopted June 15, 2010
(Modified: January 30, 2014)
The United States Bankruptcy Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania has arranged for parties to participate by telephonically using CourtCall, an independent conference call company.
Except as digitally recorded by the Court, under no circumstances may any participant record or broadcast the proceedings conducted by the Bankruptcy Court.
I. Policies Governing Telephonic Court Appearances
Telephonic appearances by counsel and pro se debtors using CourtCall are authorized for all matters, pursuant to procedures set forth herein.
If a party or attorney schedules a telephonic appearance and fails to respond when the matter is called, the Court may proceed with the hearing and may treat the failure to respond as a failure to appear. Parties and attorneys making use of CourtCall’s services are cautioned that they do so at their own risk. Hearings and trials generally will not be rescheduled due to missed connections, except upon motion and showing of good cause.
A waiver of the CourtCall fees is approved for debtors who have been granted IFP status and parties represented by pro bono counsel. The Court will notify CourtCall prior to the hearing that fees are to be waived.
To ensure the quality of the record, the use of cellular phones, speaker phones, car phones, or phones in other public places is prohibited. Prior to speaking, the participant must identify himself or herself for the record. CourtCall participants must take reasonable steps not to allow distracting sounds, such as dogs barking or machinery noise, to be heard in the courtroom through the CourtCall conference call. CourtCall conference calls must not be placed on hold at any time. When the Court informs the participants that the hearing is completed, the participants may disconnect.
II. Policies Governing Telephonic Testimony
Except as permitted by the Court, any attorney or pro se debtor intending to present testimony of any witness telephonically must obtain the prior written consent from all parties to the matter. A Certification of Concurrence for Telephonic Testimony via CourtCall must be filed by the party seeking telephonic testimony at least two (2) business days before the scheduled hearing. The form of the Certification, a fillable form (L.B.F. 9074-1) is available on the Court’s website (www.pamb.uscourts.gov).
III. Notice of Telephonic Appearance
1. All telephonic participants must contact CourtCall directly by telephone, email, or fax no later than 24 hours prior to the scheduled hearing date.
2. No later than 5:00 p.m. the day prior to the scheduled hearing, all ECF filers who intend to appear at a hearing telephonically must place on the docket, by a virtual entry, the following notice (Select docket entry Notice of Telephonic Court Appearance and the following text will appear on the docket):
Notice is given that counsel intends to appear telephonically at the hearing. (There is no image or paper document associated with this entry.) Filed by (attorney name). (RE: related document(s) ). (Filing attorney) (Entered: )
3. Participants must pay by credit card for each appearance, but can sign a credit card application to be billed automatically. There are no subscription fees and no special equipment is needed. CourtCall does not charge for calls that are not completed. Participants pay only if the service is used.
4. CourtCall will need the following information to make a reservation:
• Hearing/trial date and time
• Case name and number
• Name and telephone number of individual appearing
5. Participants will receive confirmation from CourtCall the day before the hearing.
6. Generally, CourtCall participants are responsible to pay for telephonic appearances pursuant to CourtCall’s current fee schedule.
IV. Connecting to CourtCall
CourtCall will provide participants with written confirmation of a telephonic appearance and will provide a telephone number for the participant to call in order to appear by telephone. It is the participant’s responsibility to dial into the call no later than 10 minutes prior to the scheduled hearing. CourtCall does not place a call to the participant.
At the time of the hearing or trial, participants may initially be in the listening mode and may hear other scheduled matters as if they were in the courtroom. After the participant’s call is connected to the courtroom, the Judge will call the case, request appearances, and direct the manner is which the hearing proceeds. Each time an attorney or pro se litigant appearing via CourtCall speaks, he or she should identify himself or herself for the record. When the Court informs participants that the matter is completed, participants may disconnect.