Like you, the team at Gold & Hammes has been closely monitoring the Covid-19 situation. In accordance with the shelter-in-place order issued by the Santa Clara County Department of Public Health, we are doing our part to participate in this shutdown for the health and safety of our community.
Starting March 17, 2020, our physical office has been closed. We do not know how long we will be required to keep our physical office closed, but it is expected to last for several weeks.
What does that mean for you?
For our current clients:
- The U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the San Jose Federal Building is closed, but the judges are continuing to hold telephonic hearings (which we participate in, as necessary), and we continue to be able to electronically file documents with the court.
- The bankruptcy trustees who hold the Section 341 meetings with debtors and their attorneys (which happen about a month after the case is filed) are all in a state of transition. Some trustees are continuing to hold in-person 341 meetings; but, there have been discussions of holding telephonic 341 meetings. This issue has not been resolved as of 03/17/2020.
- The Chapter 13 Trustee (Devin Derham-Burk) is performing only the most vital functions, with reduced on-site staffing. Her staff is not able to answer the phone lines at this time. If you have a question for the Trustee’s office, please ask us your question by email, so we can find the answer for you.
- Most importantly, if you will be falling behind on your Chapter 13 plan payments, please do not panic!!! Unfortunately, many people are in the same situation as you are. We will assume that nearly everyone is having financial strains now – don’t worry about immediately discussing the details with us. Let’s let a week or so pass, so we can better understand the scope and duration of this situation. In the meantime, please be assured that the judges are generally understanding, the trustees are also, and we will do our very best to protect you and your case. While the judges and trustees have not published any new specific rules, there is currently enough flexibility in the process so that in most cases problems will be resolvable as the overall Coronavirus problem passes.
Although our physical office is closed, we are gearing up quickly to be fairly functional on a remote basis. Here are some of the things we can and cannot do:
- We are not able to answer phone calls to 408-297-8750 at this time.
- However, you may text us at that phone number. We find that texting is a very good way for us to have useful conversations together.
- You can email to us at office@GoldAndHammes.com
- We hope to use Zoom for video meetings, as well. If you are not familiar with Zoom, we invite you to Google it and you’ll find that it is widely used by big companies and government agencies so that people who are at different locations can more effectively communicate and make decisions together. We could share documents on the screen and notate them. This helps us explain options that are available for you. The only problem is that you appear to need to download a free application in order for us to use it together. We urge you to check it out.
- For more details on how to join a Zoom meeting, click here.
- We are able to prepare documents to help in your case, such as amended plans, plan modifications, amended schedules, etc. We can email them to you and hopefully, you can get the signed documents back to us, one way or another.
- We are able to receive paystubs or other documents from you by email.
If you are not currently our client but are wondering if bankruptcy could help you, please do not hesitate to contact us:
- Yes, we are taking new clients! If you are having financial problems, we will do our best to see if we can help you.
- We can meet several different ways: phone, text, email, and video meeting (though Zoom). Because we are doing our best to reduce in-person meetings, we will want to meet first using phone, text, email and/or Zoom meetings. Until the Coronavirus problem is behind us, chances are that our first in-person meeting will be when you are prepared to sign the documents necessary to file your bankruptcy.
- As always, if you have any questions about this process, please feel free to text or email your questions so we can connect with you.
We sincerely thank all of you for your patience.
We wish for the very best for you and your family. We hope you will stay safe and stay healthy,
Gold & Hammes