Reflecting Feelings and Interests — A Mediation Study

By Donald L. Swanson A 2016 report on a mediation study looks at how a mediator reacts with participants.  Specifically, the study evaluates what happens when a mediator: --reflects back to participants what the participants themselves express --focuses on a participant's feelings/emotions --focuses on a participant's underlying interests. Findings When a mediator does such things, participants... Continue Reading →

Mediation Confidentiality at Second and Ninth Circuits: Stability v. Who Knows?

By: Donald L Swanson You’d expect, these days, that mediation confidentiality is enforced everywhere. But that expectation is wrong. Bankruptcy Hypothetical Let’s start with a bankruptcy hypothetical: Debtor is a small business in Chapter 11 and hopes to reorganize—not liquidate. Debtor reaches a mediated settlement with a large creditor, removing an obstacle to reorganization. Mediating parties... Continue Reading →

How a Judge Makes Mediation Work: Judicial Oversight in Bankruptcy

By Donald L. Swanson “Even if a plan emerged out of mediation that unfairly discriminated against financial creditors, it’s the court’s responsibility to block the deal.” -- Judge Steven Rhodes, as reported by Nathan Bomey in “Detroit Resurrected: to Bankruptcy and Back.” Judge Rhodes is defending his mediators in the City of Detroit bankruptcy against... Continue Reading →

Settlor’s Regret in Mediation — After It’s Too Late to Back Out

By: Donald L. Swanson “There was a settlement . . . many arguments have been constructed to get around that unfortunate fact, but it’s a fact.” --Bankruptcy Judge, during hearing on Motion to enforce a mediated settlement in Lehman Brothers bankruptcy. It’s common in business bankruptcies for the estate to pursue preference and fraudulent transfers claims.  Sometimes,... Continue Reading →

“I’m Not Comfortable With Requiring Mediation” = Unfounded Squeamishness

By: Donald L Swanson “Any district court that elects to require the use of . . . alternative dispute resolution in certain cases may do so . . . with respect to mediation.” Alternative Dispute Resolution Act of 1998 (28 U.S.C. § 652(a)). “I don’t feel comfortable requiring parties to mediate.” Ubiquitous sentiment among judges. I... Continue Reading →

Mediation and Early Neutral Evaluation in Consumer Disputes — England, Wales And ABI Consumer Commission

By Donald L. Swanson England and Wales have a Civil Justice Council that, in 2016, formed an ADR Working Group to "review the ways in which" mediation is "encouraged and positioned within the civil justice system."  In October, 2017, the Working Group issued its "Interim Report." Low Value Cases and Litigants Without Means One focus of... Continue Reading →

Contingent Fees or Success Fees for Mediators: Why Not?

By: Donald L. Swanson I have a new LinkedIn friend, Mark Winters from the U.K., who’s developed a mediation practice within an unusual context. And he’s making it work. Since the practice arose from his own creativity and out of unusual circumstances, he’s unbounded by common norms and can do creative things. One creativity is this:... Continue Reading →

2017 ABA Report on Research of Mediation Techniques — and the Need for Research on Bankruptcy Mediation

By Donald L. Swanson On June 12, 2017, the American Bar Association’s Section of Dispute Resolution published its “Report of the Task Force on Research on Mediator Techniques.” Notably, this report makes no reference to any research on bankruptcy mediation — not even a single study. The following article consists of four parts: --Summary of the... Continue Reading →

Defining and Illustrating “Statement Respecting Financial Condition” for Nondischargeability: U.S. Supreme Court (Appling Case)

By: Donald L. Swanson “a statement about a single asset can be a ‘statement respecting the debtor’s financial condition’ under §523(a)(2) of the Bankruptcy Code.” U.S. Supreme Court, Lamar, Archer & Cofrin, LLP v. Appling, Case No. 16-1215, June 4, 2018. One of the frequently-mediated types of disputes in bankruptcy is nondischargeability under 11 U.S.C. §... Continue Reading →

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