Empirical Studies and the Mediator’s Proposal — A Portal to Decision

By: Donald L. Swanson Let’s try combining a couple empirical studies on unrelated matters to support the following proposition: --The “mediator’s proposal,” as a form of choice delegation, can help parties reach settlement.  The proposal becomes a portal or entryway to decision. First Study: Delegating Difficult Choices The first study is titled, “Delegating Decisions: Recruiting Others... Continue Reading →

The Problem of Caucus in Mediating Business Disputes

By: Donald L Swanson “The Mediator is a nice guy, but he needed to pound harder on the other side.” —A disappointed litigator on why a mediation did not achieve settlement. This quote is a common post-mediation refrain. A Fundamental Error The quote contains a fundamental error. The error is this assumption: it is the mediator’s... Continue Reading →

Nothing is Permanent: Mediation of International Commercial Disputes

By: Donald L Swanson HISTORY: “Prior to World War II, most international commercial disputes were resolved through consensual procedures such as mediation”—mediation was viewed by many as “an inclusive and effective cross-cultural approach to problem solving.” RECENT TIMES: Mediation is infrequently used in international commercial disputes—mediation is viewed by many as “a futile and potentially expensive... Continue Reading →

Striking the Answer and Entering Default: A Sanction for Blowing Off Mediation

By: Donald L. Swanson The case is Trujillo v. Tak (In re Tak), Case No. 18-ap-01217 (Bankry. C.D. Cal.). The Case Celia Trujillo sues Debtor in Superior Court of the State of California, County of Los Angeles, at Case No. BC672613, for sexual harassment and discrimination. In response, Debtor files Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Then, Celia Trujillo... Continue Reading →

What’s a Mediator To Do When Parties Seem Unaware of an Important Rule of Law?

By: Donald L. Swanson The title of this article is the subject of an advisory opinion from New York’s Mediator Ethics Advisory Committee.  What happened An attorney and client are mediating a fee dispute.  The mediator realizes the parties’ fee dispute is covered by a New York law requiring the attorney to notify the client of... Continue Reading →

Mediating a Feud: The Problem of Envisioning Future Effects

By Donald L. Swanson Feuding parties are blinded by their feud. And they cannot envision the future of their feud with accuracy. An Ancient Illustration from London A recent essay [Fn. 1] provides details of a multi-year feud between London-area grocers, back in the early 1600s. That feud involved two lawsuits, a criminal complaint, and extensive... Continue Reading →

Relativity: Defining “Success” for Multi-Party Mediation in Chapter 11

By: Donald L. Swanson “I stand at the window of a railway carriage which is traveling uniformly, and drop a stone on the embankment . . . I see the stone descend a straight line. A pedestrian who observes the misdeed from the footpath notices that the stone falls to the earth in a parabolic curve.... Continue Reading →

“Voluntary” Ideal Leads to Under-Utilization of Court-Connected Mediation Programs: An Experiment Solution

By: Donald L Swanson In many courts, these days, mediation reigns supreme. This is so-much-so that, court reporters complain about mediation cutting into their business; judges complain about cases settling in mediation and no one trying cases any more; and attorneys in casual conversations commonly talk about preparations for and successes in mediation, not trial. Such... Continue Reading →

Getting Mediators Approved and Paid in Bankruptcy

By Donald L. Swanson Every now and then a mediator gets stiffed on fees.  It doesn’t happen often.  But it happens.  And it’s always a shame. Mediators of bankruptcy disputes have an additional payment-related hurdle they must navigate.  The hurdle is this: --Advance court approval is required for getting paid from bankruptcy funds. Statutory Requirements... Continue Reading →

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