The Southern District of Ohio Looks to Florida’s Example While Considering Whether to Implement Mortgage Modification Mediation
“In my mind, there was a stigma attached to bankruptcy. Bankruptcy meant weakness, failure … that you weren’t able to take care of yourself and your family on your own, as a man,” Jose Miranda told us.
In 1968, a teen-aged Jose volunteered to join the United States military and was soon fighting for his country in Vietnam. After the war, Jose returned home to New York City to start a family and serve in the NYPD. Twelve years into his law enforcement career, Jose’s legs were injured so badly in an accident that it took him a year to relearn how to walk. The last words anyone should use to describe Jose Miranda are “weak” or “failure.”
The story of financial hardship that befell Jose and his wife, Conchetta, is all too common. In 2005, the Mirandas sold their house in New York and purchased a home in Orlando, Florida, so that they could be near Jose’s ailing parents. The Mirandas lived on pensions from Jose’s service and Conchetta’s career as a schoolteacher.
After Joe’s father passed away, his mother continued to need support. Jose had medical expenses of his own — his heart requires frequent checkups due to damage from Agent Orange exposure. The medical bills piled up, and Jose took out a second mortgage to stay afloat. Finally, with the housing market crash in 2008, the Mirandas went from having an equity cushion when they bought their house to being underwater two years later.
New Publication by ABI Mediation Committee Available Through the Bookstore
The Mediation Committee is pleased to announce a new ABI publication: Bankruptcy Mediation. ABI last published a book about mediation in 2009. Since then, the application of mediation to all aspects of the bankruptcy process has grown exponentially. As of 2016, numerous Bankruptcy Courts have adopted local rules on mediation and many have pre-certified panels of mediators. As the result of the skillful application of mediation, numerous issues have been resolved economically. Many participants in the bankruptcy process are drawn to mediation by the prospect of controlling cost and fashioning relief in a more flexible manner than that which can be obtained by a court determination. Bankruptcy professionals understand deal-making — gathering consensus and sharing and redistributing funds is a fundamental part of any bankruptcy process. Utilizing these attributes in the mediation process can increase the ability to secure a successful reorganization or implement a liquidation process as part of maximizing the return to creditors by minimizing costs.
Just as mediation is a collaborative process among parties who are guided by the mediator towards a resolution, the book was a collaborative process among all of our authors, guided by John Loughnane and Leslie Berkoff as co-editors. The book has been designed to provide an in-depth perspective on the use of mediation in the bankruptcy process. The book can be utilized to assist both novices to the bankruptcy mediation process as well as skilled participants. In both instances, it is intended for party representatives, advocates and mediators alike. While the process has taken the better part of a year, we believe that the end result is worth the wait. The goal has been to provide a book that will prove useful to everyone involved in the developing the field of bankruptcy mediation in the years ahead.
The book is now available for purchase at the ABI Bookstore; be sure to log in with your ABI credentials to receive the member discount.