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Jessica Bagdanov Pens E-Bulletin on Cabardo v. Patacsil for California Lawyers Association (CLA)

Jessica Bagdanov recently authored an e-bulletin analyzing Cabardo v. Patacsil (In re Patacsil), Case No. 20-23457-A-7, Adv. No. 20-02167-A, 2023 Bankr. LEXIS 537 (Bankr. E.D. Cal. Feb. 28, 2023) for the Business Law section of California Lawyers Association. The case debates the use and acceptance of electronic signature tools like DocuSign for signing bankruptcy court documents.

In Cabardo v. Patacsil, a former employee who was previously awarded a $2M judgment against Ernesto Patacsil and Marilyn Embry Patacsil (the Debtors) brought a nondischargeability action against the Debtors during their bankruptcy proceedings. The Patacsils filed evidentiary objections claiming that, among other things, numerous direct testimony declarations submitted by the Plaintiffs were not properly signed in accordance with the Local Bankruptcy Rules for the Eastern District of California. Specifically, they drew the court’s attention to Rule 9017-1 and 9004-1(d), which prohibit the use of DocuSign to properly sign sworn written testimony. The court ultimately sustained the Debtors’ evidentiary objections, stating that “The Eastern District of California has always required affiants to executed sworn testimony by a manually-created, wet signature.”

As a result of the court upholding the Local Rules in this case, Jessica warns that “practitioners should carefully review the local rules for maintaining signatures and ensure compliance on behalf of themselves as well as their legal support staff.” However, she continues on to note that the case “raises interesting questions about the age in which we live and the complete integration of the Internet into every aspect of the human existence.”

To read the full California Lawyers Association e-bulletin, click here.

To read the full decision, click here.

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