Programs: Bankruptcy Court Mediation Program - U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
Year started: 1997
Neutrals: Professionals with experience with bankruptcy
Eligibility: All bankruptcy cases
Pro bono services available?: yes
The U.S. Bankruptcy Court of the Northern District of Illinois in 1997 adopted Local Rules 9060-1 - 9060-10, which authorize a program for mediation of any dispute pending before a bankruptcy judge and set out the procedures for that program. Referral to the mediation program is made by the judge upon the joint filing by the parties of a Bankruptcy Mediation Motion and a Bankruptcy Mediation Agreement. In the Bankruptcy Mediation Motion, the parties can request a mediator from a court-approved roster of mediators or of their own choosing. If the parties are unable to agree on a mediator, the motion identifies mediators who either party wishes to exclude from service and requests the court to assign a mediator from those remaining on the court-approved roster. Scheduling of a mediation does not stay or delay discovery, pre-trial hearing dates, or trial schedules, nor does it relieve the parties from compliance with any other court orders or applicable laws and rules.
Once a case has been assigned to a mediator and a fee has been agreed upon, the mediator schedules the case and requests any written statements or documents. Parties with full settlement authority and their primary counsel are required to attend the mediation, along with any other individuals needed, as determined by the mediator. Decisions about conduct of the mediation conference are left to the mediator. At any time during the process, the mediator may resign or the parties may withdraw from the mediation process by filing a notice with the court. At the conclusion of the mediation, the parties and/or mediator prepare any documents required and the mediator submits a report on the case outcome to the court.
Other than required reports, no documents prepared for the mediation or submitted to the mediator are filed with the court. The mediation process is confidential and all participants are prohibited from disclosing or compelling any other participant to disclose any oral or written information revealed in the course of the mediation process unless compelled by legal proceedings to do so. Parties also agree not to hold the mediator liable for his or her duties as mediator, except for intentional violation of the Mediation Rules.
A list of eligible mediators is maintained by the court and is available to the public upon request. Inclusion on the list requires submission of an application called a Mediator’s Certificate, regular updating of any information on the certificate, and willingness to conduct at least one pro bono mediation per year.
U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Illinois Rule 9060-1 - 9060-11: Bankruptcy Mediation
Text of rule: http://www.ilnb.uscourts.gov/Rules_Orders_Procedures/Local_Rules_2008.pdf
Summary: This rule outlines the procedures regarding referrals of cases to mediation, selection of a mediator, scheduling a mediation conference, submission of materials and conduct during the mediation conference. Post-mediation procedures, such as the mediator's compensation and confidentiality rules, are also discussed. Included in the rule are the forms related to the mediation program.
For more information about this program, contact:
Hon. Eugene R. Wedoff
U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern DIstrict of Illinois
219 S. Dearborn St., Room 748
Chicago, IL 60604
phone: (312) 435-5644
fax: (312) 408-5114