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 →

U.S. Supreme Court and Statute of Frauds for Nondischargeability (§ 523(a)(2)): In re Appling

By: Donald L Swanson On Friday, January 12, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari in Lamar, Archer & Cofrin, LLP v. Appling (In re Appling), Case No. 16-1215, to resolve an indistinct legal standard. The case is about a statute of frauds for nondischargeability. Generally, a statute of frauds requires that certain promises be in... 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 →

The “Estate Neutral” as an Expert Witness, a Mediator and a Financial Advisor

By: Donald L Swanson When ABI’s Commission to Study the Reform of Chapter 11 issued its Final Report in 2014, one creative approach it recommended is to authorize a new bankruptcy position: the "estate neutral." The Final Report says that chapter 11 "needs to offer tools to resolve a debtor’s financial distress." The estate neutral would... Continue Reading →

Creative Mediation System in British Columbia: A Model For Us All

By:  Donald L. Swanson “We have been much struck by the system operated in British Columbia whereby a party can issue a notice to their opponent in a specified form requiring mediation.” “[T]he establishment” of such a system “has led to the growth of informally agreed mediation as a norm” with the formal procedure “only... Continue Reading →

Bankruptcy Laws Need to Adequately Protect Entrepreneurs from Downside Risks

By Donald L. Swanson Individuals can, and often do, file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.  Three professors recently published an article in the ABI Law Review on a ground breaking study of Chapter 11 bankruptcy cases for individual debtors. --The three professors are Richard M. Hynes (University of Virginia; Charlottesville, Va.), Anne Lawton (Lansing, Mich.), and Margaret Howard (Washington &... Continue Reading →

Evolutionary Progress of Mediation is Upward: Toward Greater, Earlier and Mandatory Use

By: Donald L. Swanson “Perhaps no idea has proven more controversial within evolutionary biology than the idea that evolution manifests progress.” --T. Shanahan (7/16/2012) The track-on-a-graph for mediation progress is, without question or controversy, upward! The formal and frequent use of mediation to resolve lawsuits in the U.S. dates back to experimental programs of the... Continue Reading →

Eight Unfortunate Ninth Circuit Words in Sunnyslope: “We Take the Supreme Court at its Word.”

By Donald L. Swanson The case is In re Sunnyslope Housing Ltd. Partnership, 859 F.3d 637 (9th Cir. 2017). It’s before the U.S. Supreme Court on Petition for a Writ of Certiorari, which is set for conference on January 5, 2018. In Sunnyslope, the Ninth Circuit’s ruling is based on a Chapter 13 valuation standard established... Continue Reading →

Do Rhetorical Questions Diminish a Mediator’s Credibility?

By:  Donald L. Swanson “[I]n settings like mediation, rhetorical questions may not be effective as a persuasion device, and under certain circumstances may even be counter-productive.” --Profs. James Stark & Douglas Frenkel, “Changing Minds: The Work of Meidators and Empirical Studies of Persuasion.” [All information below is from this 2013 article; and see Footnote below.]... Continue Reading →

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