Small Claims Mediation

Community Mediation Center (CMC) operates Small Claims Court Mediation Projects in Harvey and McPherson counties. These projects offer parties who have filed a case in Small Claims Court an opportunity to try to resolve their conflict through mediation instead of litigation.

Mediation FAQs

Q: What is mediation?

A: Mediation is a voluntary process by which two or more parties agree to meet with a court-approved, unbiased third party (mediator) to resolve disputes through discussion, negotiation and problem solving. The parties involved in the dispute determine the solution to their conflicts with the assistance of the mediator: The mediator never imposes a solution.

Q: How does mediation work?

A: The mediator asks each party to describe his/her concerns while the other listen. The mediator asks questions to help identify needs and interests, and to clarify issues. Possible solutions are explored with the help of the mediator, and any agreement the parties may reach is put in writing and signed.

As in other Small Claims Court cases, attorneys may not be present during mediation.

Q: When/where does mediation take place?

A: During court proceedings, parties can volunteer to have their cases mediated or the judge can refer selected cases to mediation. If the parties agree to use mediation, their case is mediated in a small private room adjoining the courtroom while the Small Claims Court is in session.

Q: What happens after the mediation session?

A: If the parties came to an agreement, their written agreement is given to the judge for review and likely adoption as an order of the Court. If the parties are unable to arrive at an agreement, their case is returned to the judge for further judicial action.

Q: What disputes can be mediated in the Small Claims Court?

A: To qualify for Small Claims Court, the loss or damage of your case cannot exceed $4,000. Many small claims cases can be mediated, including but not limited to the following:

  • Neighborhood and/or Friends: noise, pets, trespassing, harassment, nuisance, trash;
  • Family: issues concerning older family members, personal property, debts, harassment, other disagreements;
  • Landlord-Tenant: security deposits, repairs, property damage;
  • Consumer-Merchant: faulty repair, poor quality service or product, refunds; and nonpayment of bills.

Q: What are the benefits of using mediation?

A: The following are all benefits of using Small Claims Court mediation

  • Cases filed in Small Claims Court incur no additional fee for mediation;
  • Mediation is voluntary and informal;
  • Mediation gives more control to the people involved;
  • Mediation seeks fairness for all parties; and
  • The discussion is confidential to the mediation process, and only the written agreement is given to the judge.

Q: How much will mediation cost?

A: There is no additional fee for mediation cases filed in Small Claims Court. Mediation services are also available for other cases, either prior to their filing or after they have been filed. Fees are based on a sliding income scale. No one will be denied services on his or her demonstrated inability to pay.

Q: Who are the mediators?

A: Mediators include state-approved community volunteers and professional mediators who are members of CMC's small claims mediator panel. The McPherson County project is coordinated by Leslie Frye, and the Harvey County project is coordinated by Dan Miller.

 

 

  • "It is just the best part of the day when parties who had ceased communicating exit a mediation with handshakes and hugs, saying how good it was to finally be able to sit down and discuss their differences."
    - Glenna Premer, former coordinator of the CMC McPherson County Small Claims Mediation Project
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