Subchapter V Trustee Duties: Facilitation Conflicts With Other Statutory Duties

Rainbow—a spectrum of light (photo by Marilyn Swanson) By: Donald L Swanson “The [Subchapter V] Trustee shall— . . . facilitate the development of a consensual plan of reorganization.”  11 U.S.C. § 1183(b)(7). Facilitation is a mediator-like tool that can be used by every bankruptcy trustee in every case.  Conflicting Duties For Subchapter V trustees, however,... Continue Reading →

When “Unimpaired” =/= Pay In Full (In re Hertz)

Unimpaired (photo by Marilyn Swanson) By Donald L. Swanson Claims are “impaired,” unless the plan “leaves” their rights “unaltered.”  § 1124(1). This rule is not as simple and unequivocal as it seems, according to an In re Hertz opinion. [Fn. 1]   Here’s why. Plan Treatment of Unsecured Claims Claims of unsecured creditors in the Hertz bankruptcy... Continue Reading →

Judicial Mediator Serving As Deciding Judge In Same Case: An Overreach? (McAdams v. Robinson)

An overreach? (photo by Marilyn Swanson) By: Donald L Swanson “Mediating judges have largely slipped through the cracks of widespread academic discussion. . . . Yet, some practices create the perception or the reality of judicial overreach in ways that elude standard judicial accountability measures.” Prov. Melissa B. Jacoby, “Other Judge’s Cases,” at 68 (January 22,... Continue Reading →

Judges Mediating Other Judges’ Cases: A Report (Harder/Sunwest)

A report By: Donald L Swanson Here’s a first of its kind: a report about federal judges mediating other judges’ cases.  It's a January 22, 2022, report titled, Other Judges’ Cases, authored by Melissa B. Jacoby, Professor of Law, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill—scheduled to publish in 72 NYU Annual Survey of American Law... Continue Reading →

In Mediation, Ignore The “F” Word: “Final Offer”

Ignoring? (photo by Marilyn Swanson) By: Donald L Swanson “I have an opening statement that I give at the beginning of every mediation, and it goes like this”: “I don’t have a lot of rules but I have one firm rule and that is nobody uses the ‘F’ word—“final offer.” “And it’s very true. If I... Continue Reading →

Mediation Timing And Details: Adjusting To Unique Circumstances (In re Diocese of Buffalo)

Adjustments to unique circumstances? (Photo by Marilyn Swanson) By Donald L. Swanson The opinion is from In re The Diocese of Buffalo, N.Y., Case No. 20-10322, Western New York Bankruptcy Court (entered December 27, 2021, Doc. 1487). The Diocese of Buffalo asks the Bankruptcy Court to refer its Chapter 11 case and related adversary proceedings to... Continue Reading →

Mediation Order in Purdue Pharma Bankruptcy: Managing A Tension

Managing tension (photo by Marilyn Swanson) By: Donald L Swanson On January 3, 2022, Reuters reports, under the heading “Judge orders mediation for Purdue, Sacklers over opioid settlement,” as follows: A U.S. bankruptcy judge orders mediation in the Purdue Pharma bankruptcy [fn. 1], calling for the company, the Sackler family members that own it and nine... Continue Reading →

Deposing A Mediator About What Happened In The Mediation (Roberts v. City of Fairbanks)

Pursuing a strategy? (Photo by Marilyn Swanson) By: Donald L Swanson “There is no federal mediation privilege”;“the mediator's testimony about the mediation is not privileged”; and“there is no legal bar to Defendants seeking the [mediator’s testimony] with regard to the mediation and settlement negotiations.” --Roberts v. City of Fairbanks, Case No. 17-cv-00034, U.S. District Court of... Continue Reading →

Mediation Privilege For A Proposed (But Not Actual) Mediator? (In re Boy Scouts)

Not real (photo by Marilyn Swanson) By: Donald L Swanson An insurer in the Boy Scouts of America bankruptcy [fn. 1] files a motion to compel production of documents held by a proposed mediator who did not become an actual mediator in the case. The proposed mediator opposes production based upon a mediation privilege. Guess how... Continue Reading →

Over-Estimating The Persuasive Value Of Electronic Communications

Face-to-face communications (photo by Marilyn Swanson) By: Donald L Swanson Electronic communications (e.g., emails and texts) fail to convey the non-verbal cues that are readily apparent in face-to-face communications.  That’s an unsurprising conclusion from a study titled, “Ask in person: You're less persuasive than you think over email.”  [Fn. 1] Dominant Email and text communications are... Continue Reading →

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