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Small Claims - Online Dispute Resolution faqs

Frequently Asked Questions:

This page is designed to help you find answers to any Online Dispute Resolution Court question not addressed somewhere else on this site.

  1. FAQs:

  2. Emailing Small Claims Court - Online Dispute Resolution
  3. Legal Assistance
  1. FAQs

    • General Questions:

        What do Plaintiffs need to know?

      1. Is this process Secure and Confidential?
        The information you provide during your negotiation or mediation is secure and confidential. Your final agreement; however, will be submitted to the Court so it can schedule a new hearing date based on the terms of your agreement.

      2. What happens when we come to an agreement?
        A signed agreement document will be available to both you and Defendant. You and Defendant must do what you agreed to do or you can come back to Court to ask for help.  

      3. How much does online dispute settlement cost?
        Using the Small Claims Online Resolution Center does not cost you or Defendant anything.  

      4. What is a mediator?
        A mediator is a trained professional that can help you and Defendant understand the issue and find a solution that works for both you and Defendant.

      5. How much does a mediator cost?
        A mediator does not cost you or Defendant anything. The mediators volunteer their time to help you and Defendant find a solution that works for both of you.

      6. What if I have documents I think help my case?
        If you have documents that you think can help Defendant or the mediator better understand your concerns or your offer, you can upload them on the Files tab in the Online Dispute Resolution Center.

      7. How do I contact the Court?
        Click here to contact the Court’s Small Claims Advisor.

      8. How do we make our agreement a judgement?
        If you reach an agreement and you both want the Court to enter judgement, there are additional steps involved. Contact the Small Claims Advisor for more information.

      9. Can I still have my hearing?
        If you and Defendant do not reach an agreement you will still have your hearing on the original hearing date. If you and Defendant reach an agreement, the Court will schedule a new hearing date for a date after all the terms of the settlement should be completed. That way, if the Defendant has not done everything they promised you they would do there is already a hearing scheduled.

      10. What happens if Defendant doesn’t join?
        Defendant is not required to participate in online dispute resolution and may choose not to join. If Defendant does not respond to your offer to use ODR, you and Defendant are required to appear at the Court at the scheduled date and time.

      11. What happens if I don’t make an offer?
        You are not required to use the online dispute resolution center. If you do opt to use ODR, you may discuss the issue with Defendant on the Activity tab or you may end the online dispute resolution process at any time. If you and Defendant do not reach an agreement before your Court date, you must appear at the Court on your scheduled date and time.

      12. What happens if I dismiss the case and then don’t get paid?
        If you settle with the Defendant, the Court will schedule a new hearing date based on the terms of your agreement. That way, you can wait to make sure you get paid before you dismiss your case.

      13. What is the difference between dismissing a case WITH prejudice and WITHOUT prejudice?
        Dismissing a case with prejudice means you can’t re-file or re-open the case if something goes wrong. Dismissing a case without prejudice means that you can re-open or re-file your claim until the statute of limitations runs out. You can contact the Small Claims Advisor to find out more about the statute of limitations.

      14. How do I enforce our agreement if the defendant doesn’t keep the agreement?
        If you settle the case but the Defendant doesn’t do what they agreed to do, you may come to the Court on your new hearing date and present your case like you would have if you had not participated in the online dispute resolution process. Or you may file a new case to enforce the settlement agreement. You can contact the Small Claims Advisor to find out more information on how to enforce your agreement.

      15. How do I enforce our agreement if the defendant doesn’t keep the agreement?
        If you settle the case but the Defendant doesn’t do what they agreed to do, you may come to the Court on your new hearing date and present your case like you would have if you had not participated in the online dispute resolution process. Or you may file a new case to enforce the settlement agreement. You can contact the Small Claims Advisor to find out more information on how to enforce your agreement.
        What do Defendants need to know?

      1. Is this process Secure and Confidential?
        The information you provide during your negotiation or mediation is secure and confidential. Your final agreement; however, will be submitted to the Court so it can schedule a new hearing date based on the terms of your agreement.

      2. What happens when we come to an agreement?
        A signed agreement document will be available to both you and Plaintiff. You and Plaintiff must do what you agreed to do or you can come back to the Court to ask for help.

      3. How much does online dispute settlement cost?
        Using the Small Claims Online Resolution Center does not cost you or Plaintiff anything.

      4. What is a mediator?
        A mediator is a trained professional that can help you and Plaintiff understand the issue and find a solution that works for both you and Plaintiff.

      5. How much does a mediator cost?
        A mediator does not cost you or Plaintiff anything. The mediators volunteer their time to help you and Plaintiff find a solution that works for both of you.

      6. What if I have documents I think help my case?
        If you have documents that you think can help Plaintiff or the mediator better understand your concerns or your offer, you can upload them on the Files tab in the Online Dispute Resolution Center.

      7. How do I contact the Court?
        Click here to contact the Court’s Small Claims Advisor.

      8. How do we make our agreement a judgement?
        If you reach an agreement and you both want the Court to enter judgement, there are additional steps involved. Contact the Small Claims Advisor for more information.

      9. What happens if I don’t respond to Plaintiff?
        You are not required to respond to Plaintiff. If you opt to try ODR, you may discuss the issue with Plaintiff via the Court’s online dispute resolution platform, or you may end the online dispute resolution process at any time. If you and Plaintiff do not reach an agreement before the deadline, you must appear at the Court on your scheduled date and time.

      10. What happens if I don’t pay Plaintiff?
        If you don’t pay Plaintiff as you agreed to in your settlement agreement, you may have to come back to the Court at a future date, or another case could be filed against you.

      11. Do I still need to go to Court?
        Even if you and Plaintiff have an agreement, you still need to come to the Court for your hearing, unless you receive a notice that the Court canceled your hearing. The Court will only cancel the hearing if Plaintiff requests the case be dismissed because the terms of the agreement have been fulfilled.
  2. Emailing Small Claims Court - Online Dispute Resolution

    If you are unable to find the answer to your Small Claims Court Online Dispute Resolution question after reviewing the Small Claims Self-Help pages, the Small Claims Division pages, and the Frequently Asked Questions above, you can contact our Small Claims Division by email at ODR@scscourt.org. If your question is not covered on the Court's websites, we will do our best to respond to your question within 48 hours.
     
  3. Legal Assistance

    We cannot give legal advice, only legal information. Please refer to our Free & Low-Cost Legal Help page, and consider visiting our Self-Help Center/Family Law Facilitator's Office.

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