Sep. 23, 2019

Online Dispute Resolution

Online Dispute Resolution, or ODR, is provided by the Yolo Superior Courts Online Dispute Resolution Center to resolve a Debt & Money Due case. This  is  an informal  process  that  provides those  actually  involved  in  a  court  case with  the  opportunity to determine the best resolution for all involved.  It is a chance to end a legal dispute in a way that minimizes time spent at court and saves money.

It offers a safe, private, online space to negotiate a satisfactory resolution with the other party. In some cases, this can reduce harm to a party’s credit rating and help avoid wage garnishments or other collections procedures. It gives everyone involved the opportunity to negotiate online, including the option of requesting assistance from a neutral, online mediator. 

Benefits include: 

  • ​Saveing time and money by using ODR to quickly settle lawsuits over unpaid debts
  • ODR offers a convenient alternative to appearing in court in person
  • ODR makes it easier for those with a legal problem to navigate the court system

HOW DOES ODR WORK?
Plaintiff will receive an email from the court that ODR is available. Plaintiff will start the process by making an offer to Defendant of the amount they are willing to accept to settle the case prior to trial. An email will be sent to Defendant showing the offer made by Plaintiff. Defendant may agree to that offer or provide a counter-offer.

After the first two weeks of online negotiations, if the parties are not able to reach an agreement on their own, either party can request the help of a trained mediator. A trained mediator is a professional that can help the parties understand the issues and find a resolution that works for both parties. If both parties agree to mediate, a mediator will be assigned to the case and will contact the parties to initiate the mediation. All this is done online.

If after 45 days you have not settled your case through ODR, the online negotiation will end, and your case will go forward to trial. Your case proceeds to trial.

DO I HAVE TO PARTICIPATE IN ODR?
No, neither party is required to use ODR. You may discuss the issue with each other on the Activity/Chat tab, or you may end ODR at any time.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF ODR?
You can talk with the other party about resolving the case at any time, all online, from your phone, tablet, or computer. ODR is a real time saver and can assist you in resolving your case quickly and easily without ever having to come to court.

Resolving your case in court can take months, and may require several appearances. This means time off work, and travel expenses to attend court hearings or trials. ODR eliminates all the travel to and appearances in court if you are able to settle your case. The online process begins with the filing of the complaint and the case can be resolved within 45 days.

IS ODR CONFIDENTIAL?
Yes. The parties and the mediator are not allowed to reveal to the court what occurred during the mediation. The parties will agree prior to entering into mediation that the mediation is confidential and that the mediator will not be called to testify should the case not settle during mediation. The parties cannot contact the mediator outside of the online mediation process.
WHAT IS THE COST TO PARTICIPATE?
There is a one-time fee of $25.00. This fee includes the use of an online mediator who can assist you in negotiating a settlement of your case. The parties can agree to split the cost or Defendant could agree to reimburse Plaintiff. The recovery of this cost can be awarded by the court if the case does not settle in ODR and the case goes to trial.

The $25.00 fee is only charged to Plaintiff if the Defendant agrees to use ODR.

HOW DO I PREPARE FOR ODR?
Prior to negotiating online, set an amount that you are willing to accept to settle your case. Gather any documents you would like to show the other party during the negotiations online. Determine if you would like the payment upfront or whether a payment plan would be acceptable.
WHAT IF I HAVE DOCUMENTS TO SHOW THE OTHER PARTY?
If you have documents that you think will help the other party and/or mediator understand what your claim is worth, you can upload them on the Files tab in ODR.
CAN I SET UP A PAYMENT PLAN?
Either party can suggest a payment plan. Be specific about the terms of the plan. Be prepared to answer the following questions: a. How often would payments be made? b. What would be the amount of each payment? c. C. When would the amount be paid in full? d. How will the payments be delivered (in person, by mail, online)? e. What is the form of payment (check, cash, money order, online payment)?
WHAT HAPPENS IF WE REACH AN AGREEMENT?
If an agreement is reached, a written agreement will be prepared automatically and will be emailed to both parties for signature. The agreement once signed, will be emailed to, and becomes enforceable by the court and the case will be dismissed. However, the case may be reopened by either party if that party feels that the other party is not following the terms of the agreement as written.
HOW DO I REOPEN THE CASE IF THE OTHER PARTY DOES NOT HONOR THE AGREEMENT?
File a Request for Order (Judicial Council form SC-105) and Order (form SC-105A) and make sure a copy is served on the other party. The Court may enter a judgment against the party who breached the agreement without holding a hearing.
WHAT HAPPENS IF WE DO NOT REACH AN AGREEMENT?
If after 45 days you are not able to reach an agreement using ODR, ODR will end and your case will go to trial. See the front page of the complaint for the date, time, and department where the trial will occur.

LOCATION AND HOURS

1000 Main Street,

Woodland, CA 95695

Hours: 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Monday - Friday

Phone: (530) 406-6704

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