Refusing a Mediation Opportunity

By: Donald L. Swanson “By providing you with this notice, [creditor’s name] is merely complying with the notice requirements under the Nebraska Farm Mediation Act. [Creditor’s name] does not, in any way, acquiesce to participation in the mediation process with you.” --Two sentences from a creditor’s notice of mediation rights to a debtor under Neb. Rev.... Continue Reading →

A Study of Mediation Transcripts and Recordings

By: Donald L. Swanson Studying mediation is hard to do—because of confidentiality concerns. One study from decades past, however, gets around the problem. It focuses on a course in the UCLA mediation clinic in which students act as mediators. The study looks at transcripts and recordings of mediation sessions (made with consents of the parties for... Continue Reading →

Vacating A Court Order That Violates A Mediated Settlement Agreement—For “Mistake” (In re Mattox)

Disputed property line is on the west side of this photo By Donald L. Swanson The opinion is In re Mattox, Case No. 18-10101-13 in the Kansas Bankruptcy Court, decided October 19, 2020 (Doc. 93). Homestead Exemption Dispute Here’s what happened. Debtor files Chapter 7 bankruptcy, claiming a homestead exemption in 43 acres of property, having... Continue Reading →

Mediation: The Same In War And Peace?

War and Peace By: Donald L Swanson Many factors motivate disputing parties parties to mediate;Disputing parties are rational actors, driven by self-interest;There is a a strong relationship between conflict costs and the willingness of the parties to mediate; andA precondition for negotiations is a perception by the disputing parties that, (i) a negotiated outcome is preferable... Continue Reading →

When is a Dispute Ripe for Mediation? (In re Diocese of Buffalo)

Are they ripe? (Photo by Marilyn Swanson) By: Donald L Swanson The timing of mediation efforts in litigation is important (and can be tricky).  Studies show that early is better than late.  But in early mediation efforts, a tension exists between, (i) acting promptly, and (ii) assuring that parties have adequate information to make informed decisions.... Continue Reading →

Mediation Costs In Sanctions For Frivolous Appeal (Quincy Bioscience v. Ellishbooks)

Frivolous? (photo by Marilyn Swanson) By Donald L. Swanson The opinion is Quincy Bioscience, LLC v. Ellishbooks, et al., Case No. 19-1799 (7th Cir.) (decided July 22, 2020).   The procedural background is this: Ellishbooks loses a case before the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (Doc. 1:17-cv-08292) and appeals to the Seventh... Continue Reading →

Pandemic-Induced “Impossibility” Of Performing A Mediated Settlement? (Belk v. LeChaperon)

Impossibility? (Photo by Marilyn Swanson) By: Donald L Swanson The opinion is Belk, On behalf of herself and All others similarly situated v. Le Chaperon Rouge Co., et al., Case No. 1:18cv1954 in U.S. District Court, N.D. Ohio (decided July 6, 2020). The opinion addresses Plaintiffs’ Motion to enforce a mediated settlement agreement.  Defendants oppose the Motion on grounds... Continue Reading →

“Unavailable” Witness (Under Hearsay Rules) In A Zoom Trial?

Access is unavailable (photo by Marilyn Swanson) By Donald L. Swanson Like many attorneys, I’ve recently participated electronically in many court hearings, mediations and trials. That participation is via Zoom and similar platforms (I’ll refer to all, collectively, as “Zoom”). The Zoom technology is wonderful!  It is revolutionizing litigation processes.  And the resulting changes are here... Continue Reading →

When Mediation Confidentiality Doesn’t Apply–As A Matter of Law (Northern v. Coffey)

Unlimited access (photo by Marilyn Swanson) By: Donald L Swanson Mediation confidentiality is sacrosanct.  Or, so we are all taught in mediation training courses. But in a New Jersey case, from earlier this year, mediation confidentiality is not sacrosanct at all: communications before, during and after mediation sessions are testified to profusely by parties, attorneys and... Continue Reading →

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