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 →

Heavy Penalties for Sabotaging a Court-Ordered Mediation: “Unclean Hands”

By Donald L. Swanson “The purpose of the unclean hands doctrine is not to protect the defendant – it is to protect the court from becoming an aider and abettor of iniquity.”  Baek v. Halvorson (In re Halvorson), 581 B.R. 610, 637 (Bankry.C.D.Cal. 2018) Never do this: sabotage a court-ordered mediation. The Baek v. Halverson case shows... Continue Reading →

ADR Act of 1998: Defiance in Chicago’s Bankruptcy Court?

By:  Donald L. Swanson Here's the local rule (adopted in November 2017) allowing mediation in Chicago's Bankruptcy Court (emphasis added): RULE 9060-1 MEDIATION AND ARBITRATION Except to the extent required by the Bankruptcy Code or Federal Rules of Bankruptcy procedure, parties to an adversary proceeding or contested matter need not request court approval before pursuing... Continue Reading →

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 →

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