By Donald L. Swanson Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes declares in his Detroit plan confirmation opinion (Doc. 8257) that the mediated settlements: --Are “an extraordinary accomplishment in bankruptcy”; and --Create “an ideal model for future municipal debt restructurings.” With the benefit of hindsight, we can all agree with Judge Rhodes on both points. But why not... Continue Reading →
Detroit’s use of multiple mediators and hundreds of mediation sessions is not surprising. How else could a Court deal with billions of dollars of debt and a multitude of creditors of a City that must keep operating and must meet the daily needs of its hundreds of thousands of inhabitants.
By Donald L. Swanson “Mediator” and “proactive” are, usually, oxymoronic terms. A mediator’s role is usually passive: to help parties deal with disputes they bring to the mediator. Detroit bankruptcy mediation rejects mediator passivity. One of the early—and monumental—judicial actions in the Detroit bankruptcy is this: the referral of a sweeping array of issues to... Continue Reading →
By Donald L. Swanson 40 people are in the room at the first mediation session about Detroit’s two pension plans. There aren’t enough chairs in the room to go around, so the mediator, Eugene Driker, stands for the entire four-hour meeting. This is an unusual mediation: Its issues and disputes are newly joined, so the... Continue Reading →
By Donald L. Swanson Get this: all six mediators in the Detroit Bankruptcy are sitting or retired federal judges -except one. Eugene Driker is the lone exception. He is the only private-practice mediator in the group - or, as Mr. Driker describes it, “I was the civilian.” That makes him an example and hero... Continue Reading →