Dispute Resolution and Payment Company Partner for Courts to Serve Citizens Completely Online

September 12, 2017 Salt Lake City, Utah

Think you need to “go to court” to go to court? Two innovative companies partner with each other and the courts to allow you to go to court from anywhere. Court Innovations, a maker of online dispute resolution software, and Point & Pay, a payment solution provider, have partnered to offer an end-to-end resolution and payment service for courts. These two companies will exhibit together at the Court Technology Conference 2017 in Salt Lake City, Utah, September 11-14.

Court Innovations created, sells, and supports Matterhorn, a platform for courts to offer online access to their citizens. Point & Pay is a payment solution provider that allows courts, governments, and utilities to accept credit card payments online.

Matterhorn-enabled courts expand access for citizens who cannot miss work, school, or family care to attend court, or who fear coming to court because of their race, ethnicity, or immigration status. Matterhorn-courts give citizens the option to use a mobile phone or computer instead of coming to court in person. Courts use Matterhorn to resolve minor criminal and civil infractions or misdemeanors, such as parking and traffic tickets, restore a suspended drivers license, address family court compliance, prevent and resolve warrants, and resolve small claims disputes online.

While Matterhorn is flexible and can integrate with other payment systems, its integration with Point & Pay gives its customers more options. According to MJ Cartwright, CEO of Court Innovations, “we meet court staff who want to offer online access to their citizens but who do not yet have the ability to accept payment online. Point & Pay’s proven and safe online payment system integrates with Matterhorn to provide an end-to-end solution.”

According to Kevin Connell, President of Point & Pay, “Matterhorn provides citizens the ability to resolve their issue from the comfort of their home or workplace rather than having to come into court. Point & Pay allows them to finish the transaction they start with Matterhorn by paying online. It’s a natural fit.”

Court Innovations and Point & Pay both work with the 54A District Court in Lansing, Michigan. Court Administrator Anethia Brewer lauds the partnership, “I am happy to have two partners of our court working together with us to bring additional access to the citizens in our community.”

The integration of online dispute resolution and online payment is an end-to-end solution for courts to offer citizens. Courts with Matterhorn and Point & Pay allow citizens to resolve their issue and then complete any payment entirely online.

About Point & Pay

Point & Pay designs, builds, and integrates unique payment solutions for governments, utilities, courts, and more. Our efficient, flexible systems enable clients to accept card payments or e-Checks in their offices, via toll-free telephone or Internet, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Point & Pay services over 2,500 government clients across the country. Point & Pay is a wholly owned subsidiary of North American Bancard, one of the electronic payment processing industry’s leading solutions providers. For more information, visit http://www.pointandpay.com/

About Court Innovations

Court Innovations is based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Its product Matterhorn allows courts to handle many high-volume infractions completely online, saving citizens and courts time and money. Matterhorn is in over 30 courts in Michigan, Ohio, and Arkansas and has helped courts and citizens resolve over 20,000 tickets and disputes online. For more information, see Matterhorn ODR Solutions.

Ohio State Bar recognizes Franklin County for Judicial Innovation

Alex Sanchez and Veronica Cravener accepted the Ohio State Bar Association’s 2017 Judicial Administration and Legal Reform Committee Innovative Court Practices Award on behalf of the Franklin County Municipal Court Online Dispute Resolution Program.

screenshot of the OSBA announcement recognizing the Franklin County Municipal Court for Judicial Innovation

OSBA recognizes the Franklin County Municipal Court for Judicial Innovation

COLUMBUS — (August 31, 2017) The Ohio State Bar Association (OSBA) today announced that the 2017 recipient of the Judicial Administration and Legal Reform Committee Innovative Court Practices Award is the Franklin County Municipal Court Online Dispute Resolution Program.

OSBA President Randall Comer presented this year’s award before a roomful of judges at the annual meeting of the Ohio Judicial Conference in Columbus. Alex Sanchez, who manages the program, and Veronica Cravener, the Small Claims and Dispute Resolution Supervisor accepted the award on behalf of the Court.

The Franklin County Municipal Court Online Dispute Resolution Program is powered by Matterhorn.

Read more on the OSBA website.

Franklin County Small Claims Online Resolution at NAJIS

At the National Association of Justice Information Systems 2017 Conference? Today, Alex Sanchez will speak on Franklin County, Ohio’s success with Matterhorn.

Improving Community Safety & Satisfaction
Captain Carl Trowbridge, Franklin County, Ohio, Sheriff’s Office; Alex Sanchez Esq., Manager, Franklin County, Ohio, Municipal Court, Small Claims Division and Dispute Resolution Department

Justice agencies in Franklin County (Columbus), Ohio are transforming their community from the inside out. In this session, practitioners from the Sheriff’s Office and the Municipal Court will share how technology is helping to better-inform citizens of their decisions and be more responsive to citizen’s needs. You will learn how the Sheriff is using objective classification to guide housing and programming decisions, help inmates transition back into the community, and to reduce the cycling of people through their doors. At the Municipal Court, a new online dispute resolution system is providing citizens with a way to negotiate and resolve disputes – at no cost – while saving time and eliminating the need to appear in court. Join us to hear how each of these agencies is improving justice by putting technology to work for the citizens of Franklin County.

See the NAJIS Agenda (PDF).

Highland Park Court resolves over 1,500 cases online


Highland Park is at the forefront of resolving traffic violations and warrants through online dispute resolution.

The 30th District Court in Highland Park, Michigan has resolved over 1,500 cases online. Congratulations to Chief Judge Brigette Officer-Hill and Court Administrator Robynn Diamond for increasing access to justice in Highland Park. Visit the court’s online ticket and warrant resolution website.

Stay tuned for an upcoming paper “Assessing Access to Justice Outreach Strategies” by Matterhorn founder and University of Michigan Law School professor J.J. Prescott. We will share it when it is published. [Edited: the outreach strategies paper is now available!]

Invite a Citizen to your Matterhorn site via the “Create Request” tool

The most common way that citizens open up requests in Matterhorn is to search and submit a request on your court’s Matterhorn site.

A screenshot from Matterhorn

The Create Request tool in Matterhorn

Matterhorn offers a second method that may be quicker when you have a citizen on the phone. The court can pull up the case and invite the citizen to the site (via email/text). This tool can save court staff time explaining how to navigate and where to click.

To invite a citizen into Matterhorn, log in to Matterhorn and select the “Create Request” button under the Tools menu:

On the next screen, select the type of case (e.g. TRAFFIC, WARRANT, PARKING, etc.) and then fill in the citizen’s Driver’s License Number (DLN), Driver’s License State, and Date of Birth:

A screenshot from Matterhorn

Search for a case within Matterhorn by DLN, Driver’s License State, and Date of Birth

If the citizen has an open case in your court that meets your court’s eligibility requirements, Matterhorn will show you their case.

Click “Create Request” to continue the process:

A screenshot from Matterhorn

Matterhorn search results show any eligible cases

Next, you will see a form where you can then set the Due Date (to indicate how long the citizen will have to react to your invitation) and fill out the citizen’s email and/or phone number:

A screenshot from Matterhorn

Enter a new due date and the citizen’s contact information into Matterhorn

Once you hit “Submit”, the invitation will be sent out via email and/or text. Then, the citizen will receive an invitation containing a link back to the site where they can go in and complete the request:

A screenshot of the email the citizen receives. Courts can customize this language to fit their process and communication style.

Then, Matterhorn will email (shown) and text the citizen.

Please note that you will not see the case in your queue until after the citizen has completed the request.

Matterhorn at the CCA Annual Conference

Matterhorn participated in the 65th Annual Convention of the California Court Association (CCA). The convention was held Friday, August 11-Sunday, August 13 in Garden Grove, California. The CCA’s mission is “to provide a forum for education and best practices in the development of court professionals.”

Court Innovations’ Tracey Palmer attended and is shown below with Lizette Sweezer from Sacramento Superior Court, a CCA Director.

California Court Association Director Lizette Sweezer with Court Innovations’ Tracey Palmer at the 65th Annual CCA Convention.

Matterhorn featured in ABA Spotlight on Innovation Event

University of Michigan Law Professor and Co-Founder of Court Innovations, J.J. Prescott, will present at American Bar Association Center for Innovation at the ABA Annual Meeting in New York City August 12, 2017. His presentation is one of ten “micro-presentations” (8 minutes) selected for this TED-style spotlight event. His talk, “Using Online Platform Technology to Improve Access to Justice – Real access to justice: Bringing the walls of the courthouse down” highlights real issues facing citizens and the courts and the positive outcomes achieved through online dispute resolution.

Problem

Access to justice, in practice, means access to money and resources. And the people who need access to justice the most are generally the least equipped to get it. For millions of Americans, using state courts to resolve their disputes – often with the government – is difficult at best. Using state courts today for all but the simplest of transactions (i.e., sending in a check for a parking ticket) requires – at a minimum – travelling to a court and meeting with a decision maker in person and in a one-on-one setting. Reforms often miss that a significant part of the problem is structural. Even minimally effective access, therefore, requires time, transportation, and often the financial wherewithal to miss work or to pay for child care. The result is tens of millions of outstanding minor warrants, poorly provided resolution services, and the cascade of problems that we have all observed nationwide when citizens, courts, and law enforcement are at odds.

Solution

Access to justice for everyday citizens can be dramatically improved by introducing platform technology that effectively opens courts to everyone. In courts that adopt such technology (e.g., Matterhorn), citizens are able to communicate with law enforcement, prosecutors, judges, and other parties to seek relief or negotiate a resolution through an online portal at any time of day.

Impact

Introducing this technology dramatically reduces the time it takes for citizens to understand their situation, ask questions, negotiate, resolve their disputes, and pay any fines or fees they owe. Default rates plummet, and citizens engage more often with court personnel once the platform is in place. Cases close more quickly, the percentage of payments received increases, and it takes less time for courts to receive those payments.

Initial outcomes analysis shows

  • Reduction in warrants by 36% in family court cases
  • Reduction in family court show cause hearings by 27% because more cases were resolved before the hearing.
  • A 15% to 50% decrease in case payment default rates in civil infraction and criminal cases.
  • An 80% reduction in court staff time spent on routine hearings and procedures.
  • A reduction in case closure rates from an average of 50 days to 14 days
  • An average of 4.9 days to resolution for small claims online dispute resolution cases versus weeks and months offline.

Obstacles Overcome

  • Overcoming fear of technology in courts and law enforcement agencies
  • Overcoming perceived political risk from innovation
  • Ensuring willingness to interact with courts over mobile devices
  • Now in 25 courts across 3 states

About Court Innovations

Based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Court Innovations is the first startup out of the University of Michigan Law School. Matterhorn allows courts to handle many high-volume infractions completely online, saving citizens and courts time and money. Matterhorn-enabled courts resolve cases more efficiently and equitably while retaining judicial and law enforcement discretion. Matterhorn-enabled courts offer 24/7 access and education which empower defendants to work with the court to resolve minor violations informally.

Matterhorn at NACM-IACA Joint Educational Conference

If you are in Arlington, VA attending the NACM-IACA Joint Educational Conference – Building Excellence on a Global Scale, please visit us at Booth #901 in the Independence Center.

Along with education sessions on topics such as

  • equal access to justice,
  • court governance and leadership,
  • court technology and its deployment

we are enjoying great conversations with court administrators, judges, court staff from states around the country and countries around the world.

One of the education sessions earlier this week included online dispute resolution in Franklin County, OH with our software Matterhorn.

Product Specialist Teri Benedetti shows NACM-IACA conference attendees Matterhorn online dispute resolution