Good Faith In A Mandated Mediation: Are Contempt and Sanctions Appropriate? (In re A.T. Reynolds)

Contempt of the rules of road? (photo by Marilyn Swanson) By: Donald L Swanson “the specter of sanctions and contempt spawns ancillary litigation that often eclipses the issues at the heart of the underlying dispute.” --From In re A.T. Reynolds & Sons, Inc., 452 B.R. 374, 376 (S.D.N.Y. 2011), reversing a Bankruptcy Court order of contempt... Continue Reading →

Mediation-In-Bankruptcy: An Effective, But Difficult, Tool For Resolving Mass Tort Disputes

An effective tool (photo by Marilyn Swanson) By: Donald L Swanson Mediation-in-bankruptcy has been an effective tool for resolving mass tort cases.  That effectiveness has been for the benefit of all parties involved, such as: helping to maximize recoveries for tort claimants;helping to allocate scarce funds among competing tort claimants and other creditors; andhelping to keep... Continue Reading →

A Negotiations Study: Being “Tough & Firm” v. “Warm & Friendly”

Not tough and firm (photo by Marilyn Swanson) By: Donald L Swanson Being “tough and firm” in negotiations: Takes “less effort than being warm and friendly”; Results “in better financial outcomes; has “no apparent social cost”; butis commonly viewed, incorrectly, as less effective than “warm and friendly.” Such are the conclusions drawn from a four-part study [Fn. 1]... Continue Reading →

Mediating Large/Complex Cases: The Mediator Must Have A Plan (In re City of Detroit)

Working a plan? (photo by Marilyn Swanson) By: Donald L Swanson In large, complex bankruptcy cases: The mediator must have a plan;Otherwise, the mediator is going to get run over;These are tough cases with very experienced lawyers who often have significant resources to put into the fight; andThe mediator has to be just as resourceful, just... Continue Reading →

A Study Of Four Mediator Strategies And Their Effects

Reflecting back on what works and what doesn’t (photo by Marilyn Swanson) By: Donald L Swanson A recent research project measures the effects (both short and long term) of four mediator strategies on party attitudes and outcomes. [Fn. 1] What follows is a summary of the project’s findings on these mediator strategies: Eliciting Participant Solutions;Neutral Offering... Continue Reading →

Trillions Of Dollars In Civil Penalties: “Exhibit A” On Johnson & Johnson’s Need For Bankruptcy

By: Donald L Swanson "Trillions of dollars": That's the amount of civil penalty claims a group of 40 States are asserting against Johnson & Johnson for consumer protection law violations.  [Fn. 1] Such civil penalty claims: are independent of, and in addition to, any claims of individuals who used Johnson & Johnson’s talc products; andarise from... Continue Reading →

Compensating Mediators: Procedural Guidance From Sears v. Lampert

Procedural guidance? (Photo by Marilyn Swanson) By Donald L. Swanson How are private practice mediators compensated in a bankruptcy case—procedurally? We have a new court order providing guidance on how such procedures can work. The new guidance is from Sears Holding Corp. v. Lampert (In re Sears Holdings Corp.), Adv. Pro. No. 19-08250, SDNY Bankruptcy Court. ... Continue Reading →

Subchapter V Trustees: Satisfying The § 1183(b)(3) Duty To “Appear And Be Heard”

Appearing and being heard? (Photo by Marilyn Swanson) By: Donald L Swanson "The trustee shall . . . appear and be heard at . . . any hearing that concerns . . . the value of property . . . confirmation of a plan . . . sale of property." § 1183(b)(3) (emphasis added). In every... Continue Reading →

Honesty, the Small Cheat, and Reputation

By: Donald L Swanson Business people value their reputations because they take pride in their good names, and “not for some nebulous financial gain.” They: are guided “by their consciences”; and avoid cheating and “keep promises” because they “believe it is right to do so, not because it is good business.” [Fn. 1] The internal drive... Continue Reading →

Mediators: Reject A Binary Equation — “Either This Or That” (In re City of Detroit)

“Either this or that” (photo by Marilyn Swanson) By Donald L. Swanson Here’s an important rule for mediators: When the parties try to present you with a binary equation—“either this or that”—reject it; insteadGet the parties involved in the process with you—try to help think your way out of the binary box they are trying to... Continue Reading →

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