SMALL CLAIMS RESOLUTION CENTER
ONLINE DISPUTE RESOLUTION (ODR)
ODR is an online platform that is used by parties in a small claims lawsuit to negotiate a settlement by communicating directly with each other. To use ODR, parties, and attorneys use their smartphone, computer, or tablet at any time prior to the Pretrial Conference, including evenings and weekends. By using this platform, they may be able to settle the case on their own terms. If so, court appearances for this case may not be necessary.
Why Use Online Dispute Resolution?
Let our online process guide you through each step to help you reach an agreement outside the courtroom.
What this means for you:
|Save Time. Your time is valuable and by utilizing the Online Dispute Resolution system offered by the 18th Circuit you can make the most of it.|
|Skip the courthouse and utilize the convenience of modern vitrual technology via smart phone, tablets, or a computer.|
|Manage your case when you have time, not just when the court is open.|
What do I need to participate in ODR?
To be considered for ODR, parties need the following:
- A Small Claims case filed in either Brevard or Seminole County, FL
- Access to a smartphone, computer, or tablet
- Each party, or attorney if represented, must file a proper Email designation form.
If you qualify to participate, choose your county below to begin the process.
For litigants who do not have an attorney, the Non-Attorney Designation of Email Address form should be filed with the Clerk of Court within 10 days of service of the summons. The form is included with the summons package.
Frequently Asked Questions
It is an online platform that is used by parties in a small claims lawsuit to negotiate a settlement by communicating directly with each other. To use ODR, parties and attorneys use their smartphone, computer, or tablet at any time prior to the Pretrial Conference, including evenings and weekends. By using this platform, you may be able to settle your case and file the agreement with the Court. If that is done, you would not be required to attend the Pretrial Conference at the courthouse.
The Florida Supreme Court established goals to promote the use of innovation and alternative dispute resolution processes. It also is modernizing court processes through automation and expanded self-service options for court users. ODR is also consistent with the judicial branch’s vision that justice will be accessible, fair, effective, responsive, and accountable.
Effective with filings on or after May 15, 2020, parties of most Brevard County small claims cases are required to use ODR in an attempt to negotiate a settlement. These are cases in which the plaintiff is represented by counsel and the defendant is not represented by counsel. PIP actions or lawsuits involving an insurance carrier are excluded from this requirement. Each party may opt out of ODR by filing a motion with the Court for the Judge’s approval. (Reference Brevard County Administrative Order 20-26B below)
Using ODR allows parties the opportunity to settle their case at their convenience, using their smartphone, computer, or tablet. They can work online to negotiate from any location and at any time, including evenings and weekends. If an agreement is reached using ODR, and it is filed with the court as required, neither party will have to appear in court on the Pretrial Conference date.
If you reach an agreement via ODR, and the agreement is promptly E-filed by the plaintiff, you do not have to appear for the Pretrial Conference. If no agreement is reached, you must appear at your Pretrial Conference.
It is free! There is no charge to either party for ODR negotiation or for the assistance of a mediator.
The plaintiff (the person who filed the lawsuit) and the defendant (the person being sued) would sign onto the ODR platform and submit an offer to settle the case. They do not have to be on the platform at the same time. Negotiation is a process for parties to find common ground to reach a settlement that satisfies both of them. After each party signs in, they should follow the instructions on the screen which guides them through the process. There will also be a link to request a mediator by either party.
If a party is represented by an attorney, that attorney would negotiate on behalf of his/her client. Parties do not need an attorney to use ODR. However, parties have a right to retain independent counsel.
Yes, the negotiations between the parties are not disclosed to the Court.
A mediator is available to assist both parties as a facilitator of the negotiation. A mediator can aid in the communication between the parties but does not give legal advice or represent either party.
Mediation is an informal, non-adversarial process in which a neutral, third party (mediator) facilitates and encourages the resolution of a dispute. Parties have an opportunity to actively participate in the decision-making process. If they reach a settlement, they can avoid the expense and uncertainty of a trial in which a judge decides the result.
The mediator guides the communication process between the parties. Conflicts are discussed and various solutions are explored in an effort to reach a satisfactory agreement. The mediator may offer suggestions and help parties develop options to resolve the issues, but the final decisions are made by the parties.
It is free! There is no charge to either party for a mediator.
Our mediators are Florida Supreme Court Certified mediators. They have achieved this certification by attending a mediation course and mentoring with other certified mediators. They are required to have continuing mediation education every two years to maintain their certification. Many mediators have multiple certifications and a broad range of business experience, consistent with the types of cases they mediate.
The mediation process is voluntary, and typically encourages better communication between the parties. Mediation is confidential. Parties actively participate in the decisions that will affect them. Mediation can often save the time, money, and stress that is usually associated with a trial. Parties determine the outcome of the case, and they can avoid the uncertainty of a trial.
No, mediation is optional in the ODR platform. Parties may choose not to participate in mediation while in the ODR platform. However, at Pretrial Conference, the Judge may require mediation.
Still have questions? Look at our Frequently Asked Questions at top of this page if still have questions contact us.