The Mediator as Proactive Leader

By Donald L. Swanson “The concept of a mediator going outside of the role of just settling a dispute and soliciting money to help settle that dispute is unprecedented in the history of bankruptcy and in the history of mediation as far as I know.” --Judge Steven Rhodes, as quoted in “Detroit Resurrected: To Bankruptcy... Continue Reading →

How a Judge Makes Mediation Work: Defending the Mediator

By Donald L. Swanson “The mediators’ record of accomplishment in this case establishes but one plan, one agenda, one bias—to settle as much of the case as they can and to do so tirelessly and selflessly.” --Judge Steven Rhodes, responding to allegations of mediator bias, as quoted in “Detroit Resurrected: To Bankruptcy and Back,” by... Continue Reading →

How a Judge Makes Mediation Work: Judicial Oversight in Bankruptcy

By Donald L. Swanson “Even if a plan emerged out of mediation that unfairly discriminated against financial creditors, it’s the court’s responsibility to block the deal.” -- Judge Steven Rhodes, as reported by Nathan Bomey in “Detroit Resurrected: to Bankruptcy and Back.” Judge Rhodes is defending his mediators in the City of Detroit bankruptcy against... Continue Reading →

How a Judge Makes Mediation Work: Supporting Mediation with Timely Orders

By Donald L. Swanson “We in bankruptcy impair contracts all day, every day . . . That is what we do.” --Judge Steven Rhodes, as quoted by Nathan Bomey in “Detroit Resurrected: To Bankruptcy and Back.” Michigan’s State Constitution provides that public pension rights cannot be impaired.  So, pensioners take the position, in Detroit’s bankruptcy,... Continue Reading →

How a Judge Makes Mediation Work: Minimizing Risks in Close-Call and Winner-Take-All Disputes

By Donald L. Swanson “The decision here is most likely all or nothing.  One side is going to win and the other side is going to lose—and that’s going to be very happy on one side and very tough on the other side.” --Judge Steven Rhodes, encouraging parties to reach a settlement, as quoted in... Continue Reading →

City of Detroit Withstands Another Challenge to Its Confirmed Bankruptcy Plan

By: Donald L. Swanson Who knew that the City of Detroit’s confirmed bankruptcy plan is still in legal jeopardy? Well . . . it is.  But the jeopardy today is much-less than it was two days ago. Several Detroit pensioners had challenged the City of Detroit’s plan confirmation order because the plan reduced their benefits. ... Continue Reading →

They’re in a Bit of a Pickle, Part Two: What if the City of Chicago Files Bankruptcy?

By: Donald L. Swanson If the City of Chicago were to file bankruptcy, the Bankruptcy Court in Chicago would find itself in a bit of a pickle. It's not a between-a-rock-and-a-hard-place type of pickle. It's more of a between-a-rock-and-an-I-don't-want-to-go-there pickle. First of all, let's note that prospects for a City of Chicago bankruptcy filing are... Continue Reading →

The Detroit Bankruptcy Creates “An Ideal Model for Future Municipal [and Other?] Debt Restructurings”

By Donald L. Swanson Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes declares in his Detroit plan confirmation opinion (Doc. 8257) that the mediated settlements: --Are “an extraordinary accomplishment in bankruptcy”; and --Create “an ideal model for future municipal debt restructurings.” With the benefit of hindsight, we can all agree with Judge Rhodes on both points. But why not... Continue Reading →

Multiple Mediators and Hundreds of Sessions for Detroit’s Mediation: Why / How it’s Done

Detroit’s use of multiple mediators and hundreds of mediation sessions is not surprising. How else could a Court deal with billions of dollars of debt and a multitude of creditors of a City that must keep operating and must meet the daily needs of its hundreds of thousands of inhabitants.

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