Mediation Confidentiality Protection: A “Very High Bar to Overcome”

By: Donald L. Swanson The legal opinion is In re Residential Capital, LLC, 536 B.R. 132 (Bankr. S.D.N.Y.  2015). The Facts, Including Mediation ResCap bought residential mortgage loans and sold those mortgage loans to others. When a mortgage loan crisis hits, a decade or so ago, many of these mortgage loans go bad.  Those who bought... Continue Reading →

What Happens When a Mediated Settlement Falls Apart? Some Not-Good Things (In re Blue Dog)

By:  Donald L. Swanson Have you ever wondered what happens when disputing parties reach a mediated settlement agreement that requires further documentation—and then the settlement falls apart? What actually happens is often not-good. Here is an actual example, from a bankruptcy case, of what happens. The opinion is Blue Dog at #99 Inc. v. BP... Continue Reading →

ADR Act of 1998: Progress in Bankruptcy Courts

By:  Donald L. Swanson 2018 is the twenty-year anniversary of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Act of 1998 (codified at 28 U.S.C. § 651 et seq., the “ADR Act”). Bankruptcy Courts – Lagging Adopters but Making Progress Bankruptcy courts, generally, have been lagging adopters of mediation. And a few bankruptcy districts remain stubbornly opposed to complying... 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 →

A “Compelling Reason” for Mandating Mediation: to Advocate for its Use

By:  Donald L. Swanson “Studies show that parties who have entered mediation reluctantly still benefited from the process even though their participation was not voluntary.” D. Quek, Mandatory Mediation: An Oxymoron? Examining the Feasibility of Implementing a Court-Mandated Mediation Program, Cardozo Journal of Conflict Resolution, Vol 11:479, at 483 (Spring 2010). Dorcas Quek is arguing... Continue Reading →

How Mandatory Mediation Succeeds: Seven Illustrations

By: Donald L. Swanson “Mandatory mediation” is a self-explanatory term.  It means this: –Disputing parties are required by court order or rule of law to participate in a mediation session. Mandatory mediation is a common tool for resolving disputes.  However, a reticence still exists, in much of the bankruptcy world, toward mandatory mediation.  The sources... Continue Reading →

Omission of Mediators and Other “Masters” from Federal Bankruptcy Rules is the Result of Haste and Error?!

By: Donald L. Swanson Mediators and Other Special Masters in District Courts -- Rule 53 “Special Masters” can be appointed by U.S. District Courts to handle special circumstances, under Fed.R.Civ.P. 53. One type of special master under Rule 53 is a “Settlement Master” (aka “Mediator”). Special masters are used by District Courts, typically, in large... Continue Reading →

U.S. Congress and Supreme Court Support ADR — But Some Bankruptcy Courts Remain Nonconformist on Mediation

NonconformityBy Donald L. Swanson There is "a kind of 'hostility to arbitration' that led Congress to enact" the Federal Arbitration Act. Kindred Nursing Centers v. Clark, U.S. Supreme Court Case No. 16-32 (decided May 15, 2017). Alternative dispute resolution processes ("ADR") include arbitration and mediation. Arbitration Congress passed the Federal Arbitration Act ("Arbitration Act") to... Continue Reading →

Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: