(a) Examination on Motion. On motion of any party in interest, the court may order the examination of any entity.
(b) Scope of Examination. The examination of an entity under this rule or of the debtor under §343 of the Code may relate only to the acts, conduct, or property or to the liabilities and financial condition of the debtor, or to any matter which may affect the administration of the debtor's estate, or to the debtor's right to a discharge. In a family farmer's debt adjustment case under chapter 12, an individual's debt adjustment case under chapter 13, or a reorganization case under chapter 11 of the Code, other than for the reorganization of a railroad, the examination may also relate to the operation of any business and the desirability of its continuance, the source of any money or property acquired or to be acquired by the debtor for purposes of consummating a plan and the consideration given or offered therefor, and any other matter relevant to the case or to the formulation of a plan.
(c) Compelling Attendance and Production of Documents or Electronically Stored Information. The attendance of an entity for examination and for the production of documents or electronically stored information, whether the examination is to be conducted within or without the district in which the case is pending, may be compelled as provided in Rule 9016 for the attendance of a witness at a hearing or trial. As an officer of the court, an attorney may issue and sign a subpoena on behalf of the court where the case is pending if the attorney is admitted to practice in that court.
(d) Time and Place of Examination of Debtor. The court may for cause shown and on terms as it may impose order the debtor to be examined under this rule at any time or place it designates, whether within or without the district wherein the case is pending.
(e) Mileage. An entity other than a debtor shall not be required to attend as a witness unless lawful mileage and witness fee for one day's attendance shall be first tendered. If the debtor resides more than 100 miles from the place of examination when required to appear for an examination under this rule, the mileage allowed by law to a witness shall be tendered for any distance more than 100 miles from the debtor's residence at the date of the filing of the first petition commencing a case under the Code or the residence at the time the debtor is required to appear for the examination, whichever is the lesser.
(As amended Mar. 30, 1987, eff. Aug. 1, 1987; Apr. 30, 1991, eff. Aug. 1, 1991; Apr. 29, 2002, eff. Dec. 1, 2002.)
Notes of Advisory Committee on Rules—1983
Subdivision (a) of this rule is derived from former Bankruptcy Rule 205(a). See generally 2 Collier, Bankruptcy 343.02, 343.08, 343.13 (15th ed. 1981). It specifies the manner of moving for an examination. The motion may be heard ex parte or it may be heard on notice.
Subdivision (b) is derived from former Bankruptcy Rules 205(d) and 11–26.
Subdivision (c) specifies the mode of compelling attendance of a witness or party for an examination and for the production of evidence under this rule. The subdivision is substantially declaratory of the practice that had developed under §21a of the Act. See 2 Collier, supra 343.11.
This subdivision will be applicable for the most part to the examination of a person other than the debtor. The debtor is required to appear at the meeting of creditors for examination. The word “person” includes the debtor and this subdivision may be used if necessary to obtain the debtor's attendance for examination.
Subdivision (d) is derived from former Bankruptcy Rule 205(f) and is not a limitation on subdivision (c). Any person, including the debtor, served with a subpoena within the range of a subpoena must attend for examination pursuant to subdivision (c). Subdivision (d) applies only to the debtor and a subpoena need not be issued. There are no territorial limits on the service of an order on the debtor. See, e.g., In re Totem Lodge & Country Club, Inc., 134 F. Supp. 158 (S.D.N.Y. 1955).
Subdivision (e) is derived from former Bankruptcy Rule 205(g). The lawful mileage and fee for attendance at a United States court as a witness are prescribed by 28 U.S.C. §1821.
Definition of debtor. The word “debtor” as used in this rule includes the persons specified in the definition in Rule 9001(5).
Spousal privilege. The limitation on the spousal privilege formerly contained in §21a of the Act is not carried over in the Code. For privileges generally, see Rule 501 of the Federal Rules of Evidence made applicable in cases under the Code by Rule 1101 thereof.
Notes of Advisory Committee on Rules—1991 Amendment
This rule is amended to allow the examination in a chapter 12 case to cover the same matters that may be covered in an examination in a chapter 11 or 13 case.
Committee Notes on Rules—2002 Amendment
Subdivision (c) is amended to clarify that an examination ordered under Rule 2004(a) may be held outside the district in which the case is pending if the subpoena is issued by the court for the district in which the examination is to be held and is served in the manner provided in Rule 45 F. R. Civ. P., made applicable by Rule 9016.
The subdivision is amended further to clarify that, in addition to the procedures for the issuance of a subpoena set forth in Rule 45 F. R. Civ. P., an attorney may issue and sign a subpoena on behalf of the court for the district in which a Rule 2004 examination is to be held if the attorney is authorized to practice, even if admitted pro hac vice, either in the court in which the case is pending or in the court for the district in which the examination is to be held. This provision supplements the procedures for the issuance of a subpoena set forth in Rule 45(a)(3)(A) and (B) F. R. Civ. P. and is consistent with one of the purposes of the 1991 amendments to Rule 45, to ease the burdens of interdistrict law practice.
Changes Made After Publication and Comments. The typographical error was corrected, but no other changes were made.
Committee Notes on Rules—2020 Amendment
Subdivision (c) is amended in two respects. First, the provision now refers expressly to the production of electronically stored information, in addition to the production of documents. This change is an acknowledgment of the form in which information now commonly exists and the type of production that is frequently sought in connection with an examination under Rule 2004.
Second, subdivision (c) is amended to bring its subpoena provision into conformity with the current version of F.R.Civ.P. 45, which Rule 9016 makes applicable in bankruptcy cases. Under Rule 45, a subpoena always issues from the court where the action is pending, even for a deposition in another district, and an attorney admitted to practice in the issuing court may issue and sign it. In light of this procedure, a subpoena for a Rule 2004 examination is now properly issued from the court where the bankruptcy case is pending and by an attorney authorized to practice in that court, even if the examination is to occur in another district.