Police Abuse Claims and Municipal Bankruptcy — A New Report (Part 1 of 3)

By Donald L. Swanson Detroit’s mediated settlements are “an extraordinary accomplishment in bankruptcy and an ideal model for future municipal debt restructurings.” --Judge Steven W. Rhodes, from Detroit Bankruptcy’s Plan Confirmation Ruling A new report “Who Pays for Police Misconduct in Bankrupt Cities” is the title for the report of a study, published on August... Continue Reading →

ABI’s “Bankruptcy Mediation” Book: Evaluative Mediation (Part 1)

By: Donald L. Swanson  When a mediating party and counsel say to the mediator: "Just give us your evaluation!" What they are actually saying is: "Just confirm that you agree with my side." --Prof. Elayne E. Greenberg of St. John's University School of Law  This observation appears in the "Bankruptcy Mediation" book recently published by... Continue Reading →

Mandatory Mediation: A Remedy for Non-Cooperative Behavior?

By: Donald L. Swanson Two local municipal authorities in Ohio are not cooperating.  So, a local judge orders them to mediate the dispute between them, according to this news report from The Athens Messenger. The Facts One municipality, a local school district, wants to connect a proposed wellness center into the sewer system of the... Continue Reading →

How Mediation Developed in Bankruptcy Court — A Local Example (Part 4)

By Donald L. Swanson We've just finished adopting new local rules on mediation in Nebraska's Bankruptcy Court, back in 1911.  And we are expecting that attorneys will promptly start utilizing these rules.  We are wrong. An alleged Ponzi scheme case is going on when our rules are adopted, and the chapter 11 trustee files 117... Continue Reading →

Former Judge as Bankruptcy Mediator (IN RE SMITH, Part Three)

By: Donald L. Swanson This is the third-of-three articles on In re Smith, 524 B.R. 689 (Bkrtcy.S.D.Tex. 2015). Sitting Judges as Mediators--for Comparison I've published an earlier article on sitting bankruptcy judges as mediators in bankruptcy cases titled, "What's the Fascination with Requesting an Unnamed 'Sitting Bankruptcy Judge' as Bankruptcy Mediator?" In response to that... Continue Reading →

We Need a Federal Bankruptcy Rule on Mediation (Part 1)

By: Donald L. Swanson The time is here. We need a new mediation tool! We need to include mediation -- explicitly and by name -- in the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure. Mediation is already included in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure for U.S. District Courts. And mediation has become a important tool for... Continue Reading →

How Mediation Developed in Bankruptcy Court — A Local Example (Part 3)

By Donald L. Swanson It’s January 2011. I’m sitting in a conference room at the Federal Courthouse in Omaha (the building is new and beautiful; you should visit it sometime). It’s a “brown-bag luncheon” for the local bankruptcy bench and bar. We’re on the last agenda item (open forum), and the judge asks for input.... Continue Reading →

Are Mediators “Professionals” under § 327(a) (IN RE SMITH, Part Two)

By: Donald L. Swanson The first of my three articles on In re Smith,  524 B.R. 689 (Bkrtcy.S.D.Tex. 2015), quotes the Judge’s arguments for opposing mediation. Some of those arguments seem off-base, as I noted in Part 1. Mediator as Professional However, the Judge addresses another issue in that case on which his ruling is more... Continue Reading →

How Mediation Developed — A Local Example (Part 2)

By: Donald L. Swanson Michael Mullin is an Omaha attorney.  He is a mediator and has been mediating lawsuits for many years. Mike mediates cases all-day, every-day -- literally: including Saturday's, Sunday's and holidays, as needed. Mike became active as a mediator when mediation began taking hold in the Omaha area back in the mid-1990's.... Continue Reading →

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