Mediation Without Confidentiality Rules: This Needs to Change

By: Donald L. Swanson “You don’t need my permission. Just click your heels together three times and say, ‘There is no place like mediation.’” --U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Benjamin Goldgar, In re Caesars Entertainment hearing on 2/18/2016. Despite such a statement, the Bankruptcy Court in Chicago had already, prior to February 2016, revoked its local rules... Continue Reading →

The Caesars Judge is Right on Stay Termination

Judge Goldgar is right. Bankruptcy Judge A. Benjamin Goldgar, of Chicago, received lots of grief in recent days over the resignation of the Caesars mediator.  The resignation letter focuses on "atypical" language on mediation confidentiality that Judge Goldgar used to support his order terminating a stay of legal action against the Caesars parent company.  Here's... Continue Reading →

Mediation Confidentiality is the Source of Judicial Bewilderment

   By: Donald L. Swanson "I found the [Mediator's resignation] letter to be a little bit bewildering."             --A. Benjamin Goldgar, Chicago Bankruptcy Judge, September 21, 2016. Judge Goldgar is, obviously, an excellent jurist with excellent judgment. But everyone makes mistakes. And Judge Goldgar's flap with the Caesars mediator over... Continue Reading →

Chicago Bankruptcy Court v. Mediation: Making News . . . Again!

By Donald L. Swanson Back in February, 2016, we learn that the Bankruptcy Court in Chicago has revoked its local rules on mediation, while still encouraging parties to mediate their disputes. This development seems a bit . . . well . . . bizarre. After all, for example, such an approach appears to violate Federal... Continue Reading →

Mediator in Caesars Entertainment Resigns — With an Interesting Explanation

By Donald L. Swanson Here is a photo of the resignation letter from the mediator in the Caesars Entertainment bankruptcy proceeding. Wow!!  That's an interesting take. And kudos to the mediator.  It's always refreshing to see a principled stance. This Caesars case is pending in the Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Illinois, located... Continue Reading →

They’re in a bit of a pickle–Part One: Mediation Confidentiality in Chicago’s Bankruptcy Court

By Donald L. Swanson Reuters reports that, Caesars Entertainment signs a "non-disclosure agreement" with various parties "as part of mediation process." Here's saying that the parties to any such "non-disclosure agreement" are in a bit of a pickle. Here's why. The Bankruptcy Court in Chicago recently deleted its Local Rules on mediation. So, the question is... Continue Reading →

“Don’t Trust your Soul to no Backwoods Southern Lawyer🎶” — or Your Business to the Bankruptcy Court in Chicago

By Donald L. Swanson Here is my memory from a decade ago in a far-away jurisdiction where I occasionally practiced: the bankruptcy judge's procedural rules have a backwoods feel. --The rules are cumbersome. --The rules are strictly and rigidly enforced. --The judge's attitude comes across like this: You want flexibility to address immediate needs?! --Forget... Continue Reading →

Local Mediation Rules Revoked in Chicago Bankruptcy Court?! Insights From a Chicago Mediator (Updated 3/24/2016 with Responses)

GUEST ARTICLE: Robert M. Fishman mediates bankruptcy disputes across the entire U.S.A. Mr. Fishman hails from Chicago and provides the following article on a recent revocation of Local Bankruptcy Rules on mediation in the Northern District of Illinois. IT’S ALL ABOUT THE CULTURE   By Robert M. Fishman What makes mediation the “go to” approach... Continue Reading →

What’s the Fascination With Requesting an Unnamed “Sitting Bankruptcy Judge” as Bankruptcy Mediator? (Updated on 3/3/16 with Responses)

By Donald L. Swanson The Motion to appoint a mediator in the Caesars Entertainment bankruptcy suggests that an unnamed "sitting bankruptcy judge" be appointed. And filings by others in support of the Motion agree. The unnamed "sitting bankruptcy judge" suggestion seems to be common in many cases. But there is a better approach. Let's begin... Continue Reading →

Local Bankruptcy Rules Without Mandatory Mediation Authority Are Like A Toolbox Without A Vise-Grip

By Donald L. Swanson Fix-it folks have tool boxes full of screw drivers, pliers, box-end and open-end wrenches, crescent and socket wrenches, etc., for handling nuts, bolts and screws. But when fix-it folks need a tool that grabs-and-holds and won't-let-go, they pull a vise-grip from the toolbox.  Similarly, judges have local rules [a toolbox] full... Continue Reading →

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