Caucus Inadequacy and the Joint Session Solution for Multi-Party Mediations

  By: Donald L Swanson Let’s say that a mediation among four parties or more is a “multi-party” mediation. Caucus Inadequacy Here’s how a caucus format works—inadequately—in a mediation among four parties: the mediation starts at 9:00 a.m. with a half-hour joint session to set the rules and format, whereupon, the parties split into sequestered conference... Continue Reading →

Chicago Exercising Control Over Debtor Vehicles: To the U.S. Supreme Court?

By: Donald L Swanson [UPDATE: The U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari in this case on December 18, 2019.] The bankruptcy proceeding is City of Chicago, Illinois v. Fulton, with a Petition for certiorari pending before the U.S. Supreme Court (Case No. 19-357). The dispute is over City of Chicago refusing to surrender possession of impounded vehicles upon... Continue Reading →

Is an Assault Committed During Mediation Protected by Confidentiality?

By: Donald L Swanson Confidentiality is a central tenet of mediation. Without it, mediation cannot function effectively. So, statutes and court rules provide for high levels of confidentiality in the mediation process. But what about an assault occurring within the mediation process? Can a mediator testify about the assault? And what if the assault is directed... Continue Reading →

Mediation — And the Role of the Small Business Trustee

By: Donald L Swanson “Those with business, managerial, consulting, mediation and operational experience are encouraged to apply.” --From “Solicitation” by U.S. Trustee for Applicants to Serve as Subchapter V Trustees (emphasis added) Back in August of this year, the Small Business Reorganization Act of 2019 became law. It’s effective date is 180 days later—February 19, 2020.... Continue Reading →

The Crazy-Season for Student Loans is Nearly Here . . . Again!

By Donald L. Swanson The crazy-season is when millions of people incur easily-obtained student loans they can’t afford, for another semester of college.  That time is nearly here, again, as a new school semester begins after the turn of the year. An even-crazier part is this: the U.S. Government guarantees payment of those unaffordable loans—which is... Continue Reading →

The Haven Act: A Great Law That Exposes A Really-Bad Bankruptcy Policy

By: Donald L. Swanson The Haven Act is short for: “Honoring American Veterans in Extreme Need Act of 2019.”  It is a newly-enacted law of the land. The Haven Act does a great and valuable thing for many of our military veterans: it allows middle class veterans to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy, instead of being stuck for... Continue Reading →

Office of Solicitor General: A Biased and Conflicted Protector of Bankruptcy Laws (Ritzen v. Jackson Oral Arguments)

By: Donald L. Swanson “every creditor in the country should be lining up behind our side of the podium.” --Respondent’s counsel in Ritzen v. Jackson oral arguments at U.S. Supreme Court on 11/13/2019. Here’s a link to the transcript. On October 11, 2019, the Office of Solicitor General files an amicus brief in Ritzen v. Jackson... Continue Reading →

Empirical Studies and the Mediator’s Proposal — A Portal to Decision

By: Donald L. Swanson Let’s try combining a couple empirical studies on unrelated matters to support the following proposition: --The “mediator’s proposal,” as a form of choice delegation, can help parties reach settlement.  The proposal becomes a portal or entryway to decision. First Study: Delegating Difficult Choices The first study is titled, “Delegating Decisions: Recruiting Others... Continue Reading →

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