Sometimes Good Things CAN Happen in Bankruptcy for Student Loan Debts

By: Donald L Swanson Every now and then a good thing happens in bankruptcy. It’s not very often—but good things do happen. Here’s a story of one of those good things [Fn. 1]. Our Hero (the bankruptcy Debtor) is a 54 year old, single mother of two college-aged children. She is a self-employed professional in a... Continue Reading →

Optimum Timing for Mediation: Early . . . but Not Too Early

By: Donald L. Swanson Mediation should occur "at some reasonable point,” (i) “before discovery is completed,” and (ii) after “critical motions have been decided.” --Suzanne J. Schmitz, A Critique of the Illinois Circuit Rules Concerning Court-Ordered Mediation, 36 Loy. U. Chi. L. J. 783 (2005). Early Mediation Referral Law Professor Suzanne J. Schmitz says that mediation... Continue Reading →

Eighth Circuit’s In re Knudsen Opinion is Still Good Law on Chapter 12 Taxes — Despite the U.S. Supreme Court

By: Donald L. Swanson In 1986, Congress enacted Chapter 12 of the Bankruptcy Code to help farmers. Throughout the 1980s, many farmers liquidated their farm assets, either voluntarily or involuntarily, and moved on to other careers. Unfortunately, the liquidation left many of them with nondischargeable tax liabilities beyond anything they could ever repay. Congressional Action on... Continue Reading →

A False Assumption: Some Types of Cases are “Not Amenable” to Mediation

By: Donald L. Swanson The U.S. Sixth Circuit “moved to random selection” of cases for mediation because “cases that appeared to be amenable to mediation were not actually more likely to settle than any other case.” Sixth Circuit Appellate Blog, April 6, 2012. A False Assumption One of the early assumptions about mediation is that some... Continue Reading →

How, Decades Ago, the U.S. Supreme Court Screwed-Up Our Bankruptcy World — Twice

By: Donald L. Swanson Here are two declarations of law, by the U.S. Supreme Court and from decades ago, that screwed-up our bankruptcy world — all the way to present: “The bankruptcy power, like the other great substantive powers of Congress, is subject to the Fifth Amendment.” Louisville Joint Stock Land Bank v. Radford, 295 U.S.... Continue Reading →

Four Characteristics of Successful Mediators — from a Study of Mediation in International Relations

By: Donald L. Swanson “Successful Mediation in International Relations” reports on a  study of 79 international disputes (of which 44 were mediated) occurring between 1945 and 1989. The study identifies multiple characteristics of successful mediators in the international realm.  As to each of such characteristics, the following question needs to be asked: --Does this characteristics... Continue Reading →

Bankruptcy Issues are Non-Partisan and A-Political — A Flip-Flopping Exception at U.S. Supreme Court

By: Donald L. Swanson Bankruptcy issues tend to be non-partisan and a-political. Political partisans find it hard to pick-a-side, let alone get worked-up, over such issues as adequate protection, executory contracts and absolute priority. That’s because no one likes bankruptcy, even though it’s a necessity. An Exception A historical exception, however, has been over the question... Continue Reading →

A Study on Effects of “Apology” on Plan Confirmation in Consumer Bankruptcies

By: Donald L. Swanson “Using a sample of U.S. bankruptcy judges,” this study “asks whether a bankrupt consumer improves her situation by apologizing for breaching her promises.” From a 2013 “Bankruptcy Apologies“ study by two professors from the University of Illinois College of Law [Fn. 1]. An “apology” can be a factor (often a decisive one)... Continue Reading →

Katz — The Supreme Court’s Most Important Bankruptcy Opinion

By: Donald L. Swanson The most important bankruptcy opinion from the U.S. Supreme Court, since enactment of the Bankruptcy Code in 1978, is this: --Central Virginia Community College v. Katz, 546 U.S. 356 (2006). Here’s why: Katz evaluates the U.S. Constitution’s Bankruptcy Clause against a conflicting part of the Constitution—i.e., the Eleventh Amendment; and Katz  determines... Continue Reading →

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