Mediators as Persuaders?

  By: Donald L. Swanson For everyone who believes that mediators should facilitate and not evaluate, you’re gonna’ love this one – or maybe not! The study report is, “Changing Minds: The Work of Mediators and Empirical Studies of Persuasion,” 28 Ohio St. J. on Disp. Resol. 263 (2013).  It's prepared by these two professors: --James H.... Continue Reading →

Mediation Confidentiality Protection: A “Very High Bar to Overcome”

By: Donald L. Swanson The legal opinion is In re Residential Capital, LLC, 536 B.R. 132 (Bankr. S.D.N.Y.  2015). The Facts, Including Mediation ResCap bought residential mortgage loans and sold those mortgage loans to others. When a mortgage loan crisis hits, a decade or so ago, many of these mortgage loans go bad.  Those who bought... Continue Reading →

What Happens When a Mediated Settlement Falls Apart? Some Not-Good Things (In re Blue Dog)

By:  Donald L. Swanson Have you ever wondered what happens when disputing parties reach a mediated settlement agreement that requires further documentation—and then the settlement falls apart? What actually happens is often not-good. Here is an actual example, from a bankruptcy case, of what happens. The opinion is Blue Dog at #99 Inc. v. BP... Continue Reading →

“Vital” Role of Mediator: Tony Blair and the Northern Ireland Peace Process

By Donald L. Swanson “The conflict won’t be resolved by the parties if left to themselves. If it were possible for them to resolve it on their own, they would have done so. Ergo, they need outside help.” Tony Blair, A Journey: My Political Life, 189, Alfred A. Knopf, 2010 Chapter 6 of Tony Blair’s memoir... Continue Reading →

A Federal Rule is Needed for Mediation Mandates

By: Donald L. Swanson “Where does a bankruptcy judge get authority to order parties into mediation?” —Question at a discussion of bankruptcy mediation. This question comes from a skeptic. And it has little to do with the topic under discussion.  So, the others in the discussion hem and haw.  One finally says, “Section 105.” The questioner then... Continue Reading →

ADR Act of 1998: Progress in Bankruptcy Courts

By:  Donald L. Swanson 2018 is the twenty-year anniversary of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Act of 1998 (codified at 28 U.S.C. § 651 et seq., the “ADR Act”). Bankruptcy Courts – Lagging Adopters but Making Progress Bankruptcy courts, generally, have been lagging adopters of mediation. And a few bankruptcy districts remain stubbornly opposed to complying... Continue Reading →

A Misguided Notion: Mediation is Entirely-Voluntary and Should Not Be Mandated

By: Donald L. Swanson Mandatory mediation works.  It results in case settlements.  And it helps creates a culture for voluntary mediation. But the idea of a mandated mediation is repugnant to some because it violates a "voluntary" ideal.  This is unfortunate.  Evaluating Mediation The ultimate goal of all civil litigation is this: to resolve disputes under... Continue Reading →

Random Selection of Cases for Mandatory Mediation = A “Spectacular Success” in the U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals

By: Donald L. Swanson Back in the 1970s, Chief Judge Irving Kaufman of the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals established an experimental mediation program called Civil Appeals Management Plan (“CAMP”) to deal with burgeoning caseloads. 1970s One CAMP feature, implemented for experiment and testing purposes, is the random selection of cases for mandatory mediation. ... Continue Reading →

Alternative Dispute Resolution Act of 1998: A Twenty-Year Anniversary and Impressive Results

By:  Donald L. Swanson 2018 marks the twenty-year anniversary of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Act of 1998 [codified at 28 U.S.C. § 651 et seq., the "ADR Act"]. Preamble The preamble to the ADR Act contains these findings on mediation: --“mediation . . . may have potential to reduce the large backlog of cases now... Continue Reading →

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