The Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Michigan encourages parties to engage in a facilitative mediation process as an alternative means of resolving disputes. This process should not be confused with the mandatory mediation which occurs in Michigan state courts. This facilitative process is dramatically different. There are no sanctions or other forms of coercion in our process. Also, nothing said, discussed or written in connection with the facilitation is admissible in Court.
Our experience of over 5 years demonstrates that a facilitation convened by a trained mediator results in a successful settlement among the parties in an overwhelming majority of the cases.
Facilitation is a process whereby a trained mediator focuses the attention of the litigants on the resolution of disputes, always with the advice of their counsel. The parties participate in the negotiations in a meaningful way. These negotiations occur with the assistance of the mediator as a neutral third party who facilitates the process of reaching a mutually satisfactory agreement. It is not the mediator's job to assess who is right or wrong. Rather, the mediator guides the parties and their counsel towards resolution of the dispute. The mediator does not make a decision or recommendation as to the content of the agreement.
In most cases, the facilitation session will last only one day or less. Summaries or special pleadings are not always required but many participants have submitted a short synopsis of their positions. (Each mediator uses a separate introductory procedure, so summaries will depend on the mediator.) The fee for mediation is $200 per party, unless ordered otherwise by the Court.
The mediation panel selected by the Bankruptcy Court consists of a number of individuals who have each been trained to serve as facilitators by professionally qualified trainers in an intense seminar.
If this facilitation process is one which you would like to attempt, please choose your mediator from the link below and then contact the Court so that the process may be instituted. Most who have tried the process have been satisfied and find that it works.