New York launches ODR for Small Claims in Manhattan

New York, NY – The New York Unified Court System (UCS) has launched online dispute resolution (ODR) for small claims in Manhattan. The platform is part of the UCS’s push to address access to justice during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Congratulations to the UCS and Court team on this launch!

A map of the northeastern US with the words: Congratulations to Manhattan's civil court on launching ODR for small claims cases.
Congratulations to the Civil Court of the City of New York for launching small claims ODR in Manhattan.

Courts across the country have turned to online platforms during the COVID-19 pandemic. In January, 2021, the Civil Court of the City of New York launched their small claims ODR platform.

In an article in the New York Law Journal, New York City Civil Court Administrative Judge Anthony Cannataro said

“Small claims parts in the New York City Civil Court traditionally operate in large courtrooms filled to capacity with litigants and court staff…Introduction of the ODR platform adapts another of the many innovative approaches to conducting court operations necessitated by the pandemic for long-term use in the everyday operation of our courts.”

New York City Civil Court Administrative Judge Anthony Cannataro quoted in the New York Law Journal

How Small Claims ODR in Manhattan works

The Small Claims ODR platform can be used to resolve monetary disputes up to $10,000. Parties with eligible cases will then gain access to resolve their matter on the platform. People may file a small claims case online via the system, or they may file in person at the court.

A screenshot of the Civil Court of the City of NY's ODR homepage.
The Civil Court of the City of New York’s ODR homepage.

People can use one of several mechanisms to resolve their case on the system:

  • To start, parties may bid on how they would be willing to settle the case. These settlement details include the amount and payment terms (e.g. dates, methods, and payment plans if applicable).
  • If needed, the parties may negotiate directly on the platform.
  • Ultimately, they may work with an ODR mediator to come to an agreement.

If they do not come to an agreement, the parties will then take part in a virtual court hearing. If parties do come to an agreement on the platform, they may electronically sign their settlement agreement. Then, signed agreements will then be delivered to the court via the platform.

“The ODR platform not only provides parties in small claims matters greater flexibility and convenience in resolving their disputes, but also protects public health and safety by minimizing courthouse traffic…Clearly, the launch of this innovative program could not be more opportune as we continue to navigate the logistical and other challenges brought on by the pandemic.”

Honorable Lawrence K. Marks, the Chief Administrative Judge of the New York Courts quoted in the New York Law Journal

The Court’s ODR platform is powered by Matterhorn.

Learn more about Small Claims ODR

Posted in In the news.