§ 58.6Procedures for suspension and removal of panel trustees and standing trustees.
(a) A United States Trustee shall notify a panel trustee or a standing trustee in writing of any decision to suspend or terminate the assignment of cases to the trustee including, where applicable, any decision not to renew the trustee's term appointment. The notice shall state the reason(s) for the decision and should refer to, or be accompanied by copies of, pertinent materials upon which the United States Trustee has relied and any prior communications in which the United States Trustee has advised the trustee of the potential action. The notice shall be sent to the office of the trustee by overnight courier, for delivery the next business day. The reasons may include, but are in no way limited to:
(1) Failure to safeguard or to account for estate funds and assets;
(2) Failure to perform duties in a timely and consistently satisfactory manner;
(3) Failure to comply with the provisions of the Code, the Bankruptcy Rules, and local rules of court;
(4) Failure to cooperate and to comply with orders, instructions and policies of the court, the bankruptcy clerk or the United States Trustee;
(5) Substandard performance of general duties and case management in comparison to other members of the chapter 7 panel or other standing trustees;
(6) Failure to display proper temperament in dealing with judges, clerks, attorneys, creditors, debtors, the United States Trustee and the general public;
(7) Failure to adequately monitor the work of professionals or others employed by the trustee to assist in the administration of cases;
(8) Failure to file timely, accurate reports, including interim reports, final reports, and final accounts;
(10) Failure to attend in person or appropriately conduct the 11 U.S.C. 341(a) meeting of creditors;
(11) Action by or pending before a court or state licensing agency which calls the trustee's competence, financial responsibility or trustworthiness into question;
(12) Routine inability to accept assigned cases due to conflicts of interest or to the trustee's unwillingness or incapacity to serve;
(13) Change in the composition of the chapter 7 panel pursuant to a system established by the United States Trustee under 28 CFR 58.1;
(14) A determination by the United States Trustee that the interests of efficient case administration or a decline in the number of cases warrant a reduction in the number of panel trustees or standing trustees.
(b) The notice shall advise the trustee that the decision is final and unreviewable unless the trustee requests in writing a review by the Director, Executive Office for United States Trustees, no later than 20 calendar days from the date of issuance of the United States Trustee's notice (“request for review”). In order to be timely, a request for review must be received by the Office of the Director no later than 20 calendar days from the date of the United States Trustee's notice to the trustee.
(c) A decision by a United States Trustee to suspend or terminate the assignment of cases to a trustee shall take effect upon the expiration of a trustee's time to seek review from the Director or, if the trustee timely seeks such review, upon the issuance of a final written decision by the Director.
(d) Notwithstanding paragraph (c) of this section, a United States Trustee's decision to suspend or terminate the assignment of cases to a trustee may include, or may later by supplemented by an interim directive, by which the United States trustee may immediately discontinue assigning cases to a trustee during the review period. A United States Trustee may issue such an interim directive if the United States Trustee specifically finds that:
(1) A continued assignment of cases to the trustee places the safety of estate assets at risk ;
(2) The trustee appears to be ineligible to serve under applicable law, rule, or regulation;
(3) The trustee has engaged in conduct that appears to be dishonest, deceitful, fraudulent, or criminal in nature; or
(4) The trustee appears to have engaged in other gross misconduct that is unbefitting his or her position as trustee or violates the trustee's duties.
(e) If the United States Trustee issues an interim directive, the trustee may seek a stay of the interim directive from the Director if the trustee has timely filed a request for review under paragraph (b) of this section.
(f) The trustee's written request for review shall fully describe why the trustee disagrees with the United States Trustee's decision, and shall be accompanied by all documents and materials that the trustee wants the Director to consider in reviewing the decision. The trustee shall send a copy of the request for review, and the accompanying documents and materials, to the United States Trustee by overnight courier, for delivery the next business day. The trustee may request that specific documents in the possession of the United States Trustee be transmitted to the Director for inclusion in the record.
(g) The United States Trustee shall have 15 calendar days from the date of the trustee's request for review to submit to the Director a written response regarding the matters raised in the trustee's request for review. The United States Trustee shall provide a copy of this response to the trustee. Both copes shall be sent by overnight courier, for delivery the next business day.
(h) The Director may seek additional information from any party in the manner and to the extent the Director deems appropriate.
(i) Unless the trustee and the United States Trustee agree to a longer period of time, the Director shall issue a written decision no later than 30 calendar days from the receipt of the United States Trustee's response to the trustee's request for review. That decision shall determine whether the United States Trustee's decision is supported by the record and the action is an appropriate exercise of the United States Trustee's discretion, and shall adopt, modify or reject the United States Trustee's decision to suspend or terminate the assignment of future cases to the trustee. The Director's decision shall constitute final agency action.
(j) In reaching a determination, the Director may specify a person to act as a reviewing official. The reviewing official shall not be a person who was involved in the United States Trustee's decision or a Program employee who is located within the region of the United States Trustee who made the decision. The reviewing official's duties shall be specified by the Director on a case by case basis, and may include reviewing the record, obtaining additional information from the participants, providing the Director with written recommendations, or such other duties as the Director shall prescribe in a particular case.
(k) This rule does not authorize a trustee to seek review of any decision to increase the size of the chapter 7 panel or to appoint additional standing trustees in the district or region.
(l) A trustee who files a request for review shall bear his or her own costs and expenses, including counsel fees.