Small Claims Mediation

Mediation is a program offered by Cleveland Municipal Court for the parties appearing in small claims cases where $3,000 or less is being sought.

Mediation gives the parties to a case the chance to sit down with a trained mediator and work out a resolution to the case amicably.  If mediation doesn’t work out, you will still have your trial the same day you come to court.  Mediation is voluntary, but you lose nothing by submitting your case to mediation.

Mediation has many advantages-

  • You get a resolution of the dispute in court that day, as opposed to waiting up to 20 days or more for a decision if your case goes to trial.
  • Mediators have broad latitude to work with the parties to reach a mutually-satisfactory outcome, such as negotiating a compromise, working out payment schedules and reducing the need for possible collection action in a case.
  • Mediated settlements are not reported to credit agencies and remain confidential, unlike a court decision after trial, which is a matter of public record.
  • Mediated settlements often leave both parties more satisfied than with the outcome of a trial, in which one side may win, one side may lose. 

If both parties are willing to try mediation, you’ll meet with a trained mediator and ideally work things out.  If mediation is unsuccessful in helping you resolve your dispute, however, you will return to the magistrate in the courtroom and have your trial that day.

If one or both parties aren’t willing to try mediation, you may have to wait a period of time for the next available magistrate to hear the trial on your case. After a decision is issued, objections and appeals can drag out the finality of the case for a long time. In contrast, the mediated dispute brings some resolution that day so the matter can be resolved quickly.

The court has found that about half of all small claims cases go to mediation, and the great majority of them are resolved to the parties’ mutual satisfaction.

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