DeBN was created to meet the needs of the growing population of debtors who depend upon smart phones and other mobile technology for sending and receiving correspondence. With DeBN, debtors only receive the orders and court-generated notices by email that they otherwise would have received at a mailing address (e.g.: 341(a) Meeting of Creditors notice and Order of Discharge). A debtor who requests DeBN consents only to electronic delivery of orders and court-generated notices. Service requirements for litigants do not change with DeBN.
When a DeBN account is activated by the debtor, the BNC sends the debtor’s court notices and orders in emails as PDF attachments. Debtors can register for DeBN at any time during their case by completing a consent form through the clerk’s office of a participating court. DeBN is entirely voluntary, there are no logins or passwords to remember, and there is no charge to debtors who activate an account.
Three significant advantages of DeBN are: (1) debtors can receive their notices several days faster than by U.S. mail; (2) courts do not need to monitor for bounce-back emails because the BNC will automatically send paper notices and orders to debtors if email delivery fails; and (3) debtors are less likely to misplace their court notices and orders because the emailed PDF attachments can be printed, saved to a computer, forwarded, or retained in the email for viewing at any time.
While DeBN was primarily established as a noticing improvement for debtors, DeBN also reduces BNC costs for debtor noticing by up to 90% over the life of a case. “It is at least nine times cheaper to send an electronic court notice to the debtor in lieu of regular mail because paper and postage costs are avoided,” noted Matt Loughney, Bankruptcy Clerk for the Middle District of Tennessee and Chair of the AO’s Bankruptcy Noticing Working Group.
As of April 15, 2015, 16 bankruptcy courts had implemented DeBN, and 15 additional courts had reported specific plans to offer it in the coming weeks. For more information about DeBN, and for sample forms and tools for implementing DeBN in your court, please visit the DeBN page on the JNet: http://jnet.ao.dcn/court-services/bankruptcy-clerks-offices/bankruptcy-noticing/debtor-electronic-bankruptcy-noticing-debn