Federal Arbitration Act vs. Stern v. Marshall: So . . . What’s Fair About This?

By Donald L. Swanson I’m irritated [not that anyone actually cares]. Here’s why. Federal Arbitration Act I’ve been reading some bankruptcy cases on requirements of the Federal Arbitration Act. These cases talk about submitting a bankruptcy dispute to arbitration based on an arbitration provision in the disputing parties’ pre-petition contract. Never mind that the dispute is... Continue Reading →

Micromanaging the Mediation Process

  By: Donald L. Swanson In the case of In re Sabine Oil & Gas Corp., Case No. 15-11835 (Bankry. S.D.N.Y.), the bankruptcy judge authorizes and terminates two separate mediation efforts by the following orders: --January 5, 2016 – “Order Selecting Mediator and Governing Mediation Procedures” (Doc. 669). --May 2, 2016 – “Order Terminating STN... Continue Reading →

The Student Loan Debt Problem: Northwestern University as “Exhibit A”

By:  Donald L. Swanson Let’s juxtapose these two quotes: “Congress must act now to defuse the student loan debt bomb.” --From Jim Haller, Opinion Contributor, The Hill, February 27, 2017. “Northwestern’s [financial aid] options make higher education  more accessible.” --From Northwestern University's (Evanston, IL) “Tuition and Aid” online page. The Northwestern quote above uses the... Continue Reading →

A Peek into Business and Bankruptcy in Russia

By Donald L. Swanson It's not very often that we get to see what's going on with businesses and bankruptcies in Russia. But we now get a peek. It comes from a lawsuit and a bankruptcy filed in the Southern District of New York involving a granite production business in Russia. Business Developments in Russia Sergei... Continue Reading →

Puerto Rico is a “State” under U.S. Bankruptcy Law: Foreshadowing Bankruptcy-Type Relief for Other “States”?

By Donald L. Swanson "We must decide whether Puerto Rico is a “State” for purposes of this [bankruptcy] pre-emption provision. We hold that it is." --Commonwealth of Puerto Rico v. Franklin California Tax-Free Trust, U.S. Supreme Court Case No. 15-233 (Decided June 13, 2016). The Bankruptcy Code definition of "State" is contained in Sec. 101(52) and... 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 →

What’s With Puerto Rico and Its Relationship to the USA?

By Donald L. Swanson Have you ever wondered about the nature and history of Puerto Rico's relationship with the United States of America? After all, it’s located 1,600 miles beyond Miami and is separated from the U.S. mainland by the likes of Cuba, Bahamas, Turks and Caicos Islands, Haiti and Dominican Republic. So . .... Continue Reading →

Harsh & Public Punishments for Bankruptcy Crimes are Still in Fashion

  By: Donald L Swanson “And yet, despite the failure of the English experiment with harsh penalties, the desire to punish debtors has remained a part of the culture of bankruptcy to this day.” From Prof. Emily Kadens in “The Last Bankrupt Hanged.” The latest installment of harsh and publicly-visible punishments for bankruptcy crimes involves a... Continue Reading →

How Settling Up is Hard to Do in a Mediation on Appeal

By: Donald L. Swanson When . . . an appeal is from the district court’s affirmance of a bankruptcy court order, a remand to the bankruptcy court for approval of settlement requires coordination between three courts. --Cox v. Nostaw, Inc. (In re Central Illinois Energy Coop.), Case No. 16-1389 (7th Cir., Feb. 8, 2017). Background... Continue Reading →

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