3M CEO Ordered To Personally Attend Mediation Sessions (In re 3M Combat Earplug Litigation)

In-person involvement (photo by Marilyn Swanson) By: Donald L Swanson 3M’s Chief Executive Officer “must personally attend, and listen and engage directly with the mediators.” From mediation Order entered May 19, 2023, in In re 3M Combat Arms Earplug Products Liability Litigation, Case No. 3740 (Doc. 3740), by U.S. District Court in Northern Florida. Wow!  That’s... Continue Reading →

Required Disclosure Of “Last Offers” By Mediating Parties (In re Genesis Global)

Disclosure? (Photo by Marilyn Swanson) By: Donald L Swanson “within three (3) business days of termination of the mediation, the Debtors shall publicly disclose the terms of the last offers extended by each of the Mediation Parties, respectively.”[Fn. 1] Say what!? Whoever heard of such a thing—a requirement that the “last offers” of the mediating parties... Continue Reading →

Conceit-Of-The-Present: In Science, Construction, Mediation and Bankruptcy

From antiquity (photo by Marilyn Swanson) By: Donald L Swanson Conceit-of-the-present is this: thinking that people of today are smarter, more sophisticated and better than people of the past. There is, of course, some truth in that conceit for today: (i) improved hygiene and medicine, for example, enable people of today to be bigger, stronger and... Continue Reading →

Mediation Improves Litigants’ Impressions—Whether Settlement Is Achieved Or Not (A Study)

Impressions (Photo by Marilyn Swanson) By: Donald L Swanson A study compares the self-reported experiences of individuals who use mediation in a lawsuit with those who go through a lawsuit without mediation.  It uses surveys of litigants taken before and immediately after the lawsuit—and then 3-6 months later. “Radically Different” Study The study claims to be... Continue Reading →

Hard-Knocks Rule: Hiding True Reasons For A Position Can Backfire (In re Heaven’s Landing)

This did not end well (photo by Marilyn Swanson) By: Donald L Swanson Here’s a hard-knocks rule: When you can’t or won’t explain the true reason for taking a position in negotiations or litigation, distrust and suspicion of the worst-possible motives will follow. An Exhibit A for this rule is an opinion issued February 9, 2023,... Continue Reading →

Subchapter V Trustee: Initial And Subsequent Zoom Meetings–A Facilitation Tool

A Vise-Grip Tool 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). That’s what we Subchapter V trustees are supposed to do. Ok, fine.  But how are we supposed to do that? A facilitation tool that many Subchapter V trustees... Continue Reading →

Tough Guys Finish Last In Negotiations (A Study)

Finishes last? (Photo by Marilyn Swanson) By: Donald L Swanson Negotiators consider, (i) the reputation of the opposition, in an effort to decrease uncertainty, and (ii) their own reputations, recognizing that past behaviors can influence future efforts. A study examines the effects of a negotiator’s tough guy reputation on negotiation processes (fn. 1, the “Study”). Distributive... Continue Reading →

Bankruptcy Judge = A Mediator in the Judge’s Own Court: An Old and Meritorious Idea

By: Donald L Swanson Many years ago, back when mediation is a rarity in bankruptcy disputes, I asked an old-timer this question: Why is the bankruptcy system a lagging adopter of mediation?” A Surprising Answer The old-timer gave this surprising answer: “At the time of the Bankruptcy Code's enactment, the bankruptcy judge was viewed as a... Continue Reading →

Mediation And The Boy Scouts Bankruptcy: From A Court Opinion On Plan Confirmation

Scouting? (Photo by Marilyn Swanson) By: Donald L Swanson “Without these [mediated] settlements, there is no Plan.” From Opinion on Plan confirmation, In re Boy Scouts of America, Case No. 20-10343, Delaware Bankruptcy Court, Doc. 10136, at 80 (issued July 29, 2022). The Boy Scouts of America bankruptcy has achieved a milestone: on July 29, 2022,... Continue Reading →

Face-To-Face Discussions: Studies Show It’s The Best And Most-Popular Way To Mediate

Face-to-face discussions (photo by Marilyn Swanson) By: Donald L Swanson Common Practice. A common practice in these United States is for commercial lawsuits to be mediated in a caucus-only format.  That means: the parties never see each other during the mediation, except during the mediator’s opening comments and on visits to the toilet; andthe mediator shuttles... Continue Reading →

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