Pittsburgh, PA In December, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Thomas P. Agresti appointed Robert S. Bernstein, Esq. of Pittsburgh’s Bernstein Law Firm, P.C. as Mediator in the dispute between Countrywide Home Loans and Ronda J. Winnecour, the Chapter 13 Trustee in Pittsburgh. After months of conferences and discussions facilitated by Bernstein, on July 15, the parties filed a Motion with the Court asking approval of a settlement.
Countrywide was disputing the claims that the company had lost or destroyed more than $500,000 in checks paid by homeowners in foreclosure from December 2005 to April 2007, Ms. Winnecour asked the bankruptcy court to impose sanctions against Countrywide, the nations largest loan servicer in almost three hundred separate bankruptcy cases. Judge Agresti appointed Bernstein as Mediator to assist the parties in coming to a resolution.
“Everywhere you look these days, Courts are talking about the value of mediation, lawyers are talking about the value of mediation and parties are talking about the value of mediation,” Bernstein said. “As an experienced bankruptcy lawyer, I’ve seen the value of having a neutral third party say things to your client (or the opposing party) about why and how the case might be settled.”
Mediation is a form of dispute resolution that does not allow the Mediator to make decisions for the parties. Rather, mediators help parties come to settlement agreements. “This was a particularly complex mediation,” said Bernstein. “With almost 300 cases and a particularly charged economic atmosphere, there were challenges. The parties were professional and co-operative, which made my job easier.”
Bernstein has more than thirty years experience in bankruptcy and business disputes. Mediation is one part of his law practice. He is a member of the Association for Conflict Resolution, an organization dedicated to the practice and public understanding of conflict resolution. Bernstein is the Managing partner of Bernstein Law Firm, a highly regarded and respected law firm located in Pennsylvania with a national reach in Bankruptcy & Restructuring and in Creditors’ Rights. For more information about the firm please visit: www.bernsteinlaw.com