(a) Election of Single Trustee for Estates Being Jointly Administered. If the court orders a joint administration of two or more estates under Rule 1015(b), creditors may elect a single trustee for the estates being jointly administered, unless the case is under subchapter V of chapter 7 of the Code.
(b) Right of Creditors To Elect Separate Trustee. Notwithstanding entry of an order for joint administration under Rule 1015(b), the creditors of any debtor may elect a separate trustee for the estate of the debtor as provided in §702 of the Code, unless the case is under subchapter V of chapter 7.
(c) Appointment of Trustees for Estates Being Jointly Administered.
(1) Chapter 7 Liquidation Cases. Except in a case governed by subchapter V of chapter 7, the United States trustee may appoint one or more interim trustees for estates being jointly administered in chapter 7 cases.
(2) Chapter 11 Reorganization Cases. If the appointment of a trustee is ordered, the United States trustee may appoint one or more trustees for estates being jointly administered in chapter 11 cases.
(3) Chapter 12 Family Farmer’s Debt Adjustment Cases. The United States trustee may appoint one or more trustees for estates being jointly administered in chapter 12 cases.
(4) Chapter 13 Individual’s Debt Adjustment Cases. The United States trustee may appoint one or more trustees for estates being jointly administered in chapter 13 cases.
(d) Potential Conflicts of Interest. On a showing that creditors or equity security holders of the different estates will be prejudiced by conflicts of interest of a common trustee who has been elected or appointed, the court shall order the selection of separate trustees for estates being jointly administered.
(e) Separate Accounts. The trustee or trustees of estates being jointly administered shall keep separate accounts of the property and distribution of each estate.
(As amended Mar. 30, 1987, eff. Aug. 1, 1987; Apr. 30, 1991, eff. Aug. 1, 1991; Mar. 27, 2003, eff. Dec. 1, 2003.)
Notes of Advisory Committee on Rules—1983
This rule is applicable in chapter 7 cases and, in part, in chapter 11 and 13 cases. The provisions in subdivisions (a) and (b) concerning creditor election of a trustee apply only in a chapter 7 case because it is only pursuant to §702 of the Code that creditors may elect a trustee. Subdivision (c) of the rule applies in chapter 11 and 13 as well as chapter 7 cases; pursuant to §1104 of the Code, the court may order the appointment of a trustee on application of a party in interest and, pursuant to §1163 of the Code, the court must appoint a trustee in a railroad reorganization case. Subdivision (c) should not be taken as an indication that more than one trustee may be appointed for a single debtor. Section 1104(c) permits only one trustee for each estate. In a chapter 13 case, if there is no standing trustee, the court is to appoint a person to serve as trustee pursuant to §1302 of the Code. There is no provision for a trustee in a chapter 9 case, except for a very limited purpose; see §926 of the Code.
This rule recognizes that economical and expeditious administration of two or more estates may be facilitated not only by the selection of a single trustee for a partnership and its partners, but by such selection whenever estates are being jointly administered pursuant to Rule 1015. See In the Matter of International Oil Co., 427 F.2d 186, 187 (2d Cir. 1970). The rule is derived from former §5c of the Act and former Bankruptcy Rule 210. The premise of §5c of the Act was that notwithstanding the potentiality of conflict between the interests of the creditors of the partners and those of the creditors of the partnership, the conflict is not sufficiently serious or frequent in most cases to warrant the selection of separate trustees for the firm and the several partners. Even before the proviso was added to §5c of the Act in 1938 to permit the creditors of a general partner to elect their separate trustee for his estate, it was held that the court had discretion to permit such an election or to make a separate appointment when a conflict of interest was recognized. In re Wood, 248 Fed. 246, 249–50 (6th Cir.), cert. denied, 247 U.S. 512 (1918); 4 Collier, Bankruptcy 723.04 (15th ed. 1980). The rule retains in subdivision (e) the features of the practice respecting the selection of a trustee that was developed under §5 of the Act. Subdivisions (a) and (c) permit the court to authorize election of a single trustee or to make a single appointment when joint administration of estates of other kinds of debtors is ordered, but subdivision (d) requires the court to make a preliminary evaluation of the risks of conflict of interest. If after the election or appointment of a common trustee a conflict of interest materializes, the court must take appropriate action to deal with it.
Subdivision (f) is derived from §5e of the Act and former Bankruptcy Rule 210(f) and requires that the common trustee keep a separate account for each estate in all cases that are jointly administered.
Notes of Advisory Committee on Rules—1991 Amendment
One or more trustees may be appointed for estates being jointly administered in chapter 12 cases.
The amendments to this rule are derived from Rule X–1005 and are necessary because the United States trustee, rather than the court, has responsibility for appointing trustees pursuant to §§701, 1104, 1202, and 1302 of the Code.
If separate trustees are ordered for chapter 7 estates pursuant to subdivision (d), separate and successor trustees should be chosen as prescribed in §703 of the Code. If the occasion for another election arises, the United States trustee should call a meeting of creditors for this purpose. An order to select separate trustees does not disqualify an appointed or elected trustee from serving for one of the estates.
Subdivision (e) is abrogated because the exercise of discretion by the United States trustee, who is in the Executive Branch, is not subject to advance restriction by rule of court. United States v. Cox, 342 F.2d 167 (5th Cir. 1965), cert. denied, 365 U.S. 863 (1965); United States v. Frumento, 409 F.Supp. 136, 141 (E.D.Pa.), aff’d, 563 F.2d 1083 (3d Cir. 1977), cert. denied, 434 U.S. 1072 (1977); see, Smith v. United States, 375 F.2d 243 (5th Cir. 1967); House Report No. 95–595, 95th Cong., 1st Sess. 110 (1977). However, a trustee appointed by the United States trustee may be removed by the court for cause. See §324 of the Code. Subdivision (d) of this rule, as amended, is consistent with §324. Subdivision (f) is redesignated as subdivision (e).
Committee Notes on Rules—2003 Amendment
The rule is amended to reflect the enactment of subchapter V of chapter 7 of the Code governing multilateral clearing organization liquidations. Section 782 of the Code provides that the designation of a trustee or alternative trustee for the case is made by the Federal Reserve Board. Therefore, neither the United States trustee nor the creditors can appoint or elect a trustee in these cases.
Other amendments are stylistic.