ADR Act of 1998: Defiance in Chicago’s Bankruptcy Court?

By:  Donald L. Swanson Here's the local rule (adopted in November 2017) allowing mediation in Chicago's Bankruptcy Court (emphasis added): RULE 9060-1 MEDIATION AND ARBITRATION Except to the extent required by the Bankruptcy Code or Federal Rules of Bankruptcy procedure, parties to an adversary proceeding or contested matter need not request court approval before pursuing... Continue Reading →

Mediation Without Confidentiality Rules: This Needs to Change

By: Donald L. Swanson “You don’t need my permission. Just click your heels together three times and say, ‘There is no place like mediation.’” --U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Benjamin Goldgar, In re Caesars Entertainment hearing on 2/18/2016. Despite such a statement, the Bankruptcy Court in Chicago had already, prior to February 2016, revoked its local rules... Continue Reading →

The Caesars Judge is Right on Stay Termination

Judge Goldgar is right. Bankruptcy Judge A. Benjamin Goldgar, of Chicago, received lots of grief in recent days over the resignation of the Caesars mediator.  The resignation letter focuses on "atypical" language on mediation confidentiality that Judge Goldgar used to support his order terminating a stay of legal action against the Caesars parent company.  Here's... Continue Reading →

Mediation Confidentiality is the Source of Judicial Bewilderment

   By: Donald L. Swanson "I found the [Mediator's resignation] letter to be a little bit bewildering."             --A. Benjamin Goldgar, Chicago Bankruptcy Judge, September 21, 2016. Judge Goldgar is, obviously, an excellent jurist with excellent judgment. But everyone makes mistakes. And Judge Goldgar's flap with the Caesars mediator over... Continue Reading →

Chicago Bankruptcy Court v. Mediation: Making News . . . Again!

By Donald L. Swanson Back in February, 2016, we learn that the Bankruptcy Court in Chicago has revoked its local rules on mediation, while still encouraging parties to mediate their disputes. This development seems a bit . . . well . . . bizarre. After all, for example, such an approach appears to violate Federal... Continue Reading →

Mediator in Caesars Entertainment Resigns — With an Interesting Explanation

By Donald L. Swanson Here is a photo of the resignation letter from the mediator in the Caesars Entertainment bankruptcy proceeding. Wow!!  That's an interesting take. And kudos to the mediator.  It's always refreshing to see a principled stance. This Caesars case is pending in the Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Illinois, located... Continue Reading →

They’re in a bit of a pickle — Part Three: Conflicts of Interest for Bankruptcy Judges as Mediators in Chicago

By: Donald L. Swanson One reason given by the Chicago Bankruptcy Court for the recent revocation of its Local Mediation Rules is this: --Several Judges in the Chicago Bankruptcy Court have agreed to mediate cases for their colleagues on that Court. The pickle is this: --such intra-court mediator appointments create a conflict of interest. This... 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 →

They’re in a bit of a pickle–Part One: Mediation Confidentiality in Chicago’s Bankruptcy Court

By Donald L. Swanson Reuters reports that, Caesars Entertainment signs a "non-disclosure agreement" with various parties "as part of mediation process." Here's saying that the parties to any such "non-disclosure agreement" are in a bit of a pickle. Here's why. The Bankruptcy Court in Chicago recently deleted its Local Rules on mediation. So, the question is... Continue Reading →

“Don’t Trust your Soul to no Backwoods Southern Lawyer🎶” — or Your Business to the Bankruptcy Court in Chicago

By Donald L. Swanson Here is my memory from a decade ago in a far-away jurisdiction where I occasionally practiced: the bankruptcy judge's procedural rules have a backwoods feel. --The rules are cumbersome. --The rules are strictly and rigidly enforced. --The judge's attitude comes across like this: You want flexibility to address immediate needs?! --Forget... Continue Reading →

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