Study: Early Referrals To Mediation, With Opt-Out for Good Cause, Are Effective

A courthouse (photo by Marilyn Swanson) By: Donald L Swanson When an opt-out for good cause exists, early referral of a case to mediation facilitates settlement. --This conclusion is from a “large sample” study of mediations involving the federal government as party defendant. The “large sample” study is reported as, “Dispute Resolution and the Vanishing Trial:... Continue Reading →

Hellenic Union of Mediators — Doing Excellent Work!

"Welcome to the website of the HELLENIC UNION OF MEDIATORS" (translation of first line in this photo) By: Donald L Swanson There are many people, around the world, doing excellent work in promoting the use of mediation as a dispute resolution tool. One such organization is the Hellenic Union of Mediators, located in Athens, Greece (the... Continue Reading →

Case Evaluation: An Effective ADR Process Under Michigan Law (Alemarah v. General Motors)

A Michigan rule of civil procedure By: Donald L. Swanson Mediation is the most commonly utilized, and a highly effective, method of alternative dispute resolution (“ADR”). “Case evaluation” is another ADR process.  We don’t hear about it as much—but it is also effective. The State of Michigan has formalized a “case evaluation” process in its state... Continue Reading →

Mediation: Persisting Despite Early Failures (Kellogg v. Progressive)

Persisting through early failures (photo by Marilyn Swanson) By: Donald L. Swanson “Failure” in a mediation is difficult to define.  For hypothetical examples: Is it a “failure” when a lawsuit fails to settle in a mediation session?Is it a “failure” when a lawsuit fails to settle in a second mediation session?Is it a “failure” when, (i)... Continue Reading →

There are Problems Mediation Can’t Solve (Ripa v. Perfetti)

By: Donald L Swanson Lots of things are wrong with the case of Ripa v. Perfetti [Fn. 1]. The ills start with this fact: all parties are pro se.  The case illustrates, once again, that limitations exist on the problems mediation can solve. In this case, a frustrated Bankruptcy Judge encourages the parties to mediate: one side... Continue Reading →

When To Start Drafting the Mediation Settlement Agreement?

Getting started (Photo by Marilyn Swanson) By: Donald L Swanson The American Bar Association published an article titled, “Draft the Settlement Agreement First,” by John Bickerman. [Fn. 1]  The article begins with the following: “One of the most effective techniques I know and use as a mediator is to begin negotiating the terms of the settlement agreement before... Continue Reading →

A Study of Anger and Its Effects — Implications for Mediation?

What is his perspective? (photo by Marilyn Swanson) By: Donald L Swanson Have you ever been in a mediation—or other negotiation context—where one party blows-up in a fit of anger?  And wondered about the effect of that moment on the negotiation effort? A 2019 study on "Losing your temper" shows that “anger reduces perspective-taking.” [Fn. 1]... Continue Reading →

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 →

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