Companies Partner to Deliver Innovation Inside and Out of the Courthouse

Scottsdale, Arizona—September 25, 2017

Our nation’s courts deserve a technology upgrade. Yet, optimizing court processes and taking them online is a huge undertaking that no single software can adequately accomplish. Today, two innovative suppliers of justice technologies have announced an alternative to outdated ‘big box’ court systems by partnering to deliver a portfolio of mission-specific court solutions.

equivant is a longstanding provider of court case management and justice integration platforms. Its CourtView and JWorks software are used by justice stakeholders nationwide to manage millions of transactions daily. Matterhorn by Court Innovations is an online dispute resolution (ODR) platform that leverages court case data to help citizens resolve ticket, warrant, family, and small claims matters without the hassles and cost of in-person hearings. The seamless integration of these products extends Matterhorn to communities across the U.S. and allows equivant to offer ODR as a pluggable component of its case management suite.

A customer of both companies, Franklin County Municipal Court, in Columbus, Ohio, uses both Court Innovations and equivant products. According to Alex Sanchez, Manager of the Small Claims Division and Dispute Resolution Department,

“Matterhorn provides the public with an online platform to resolve their disputes in a way that works for them while saving valuable court resources by encouraging case resolution prior to any trial date. Similarly, equivant’s CourtView CMS has increased our court’s efficiency with the implementation of e-filing, which allows court users to view and file documents online. These online systems have resulted in direct benefits to the public and our court.”

In August, Alex Sanchez 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’s Online Dispute Resolution Program.

According to Jeffrey Harmon, equivant General Manager,

“We’re excited to combine best-of-breed solutions that deliver greater efficiencies and value for our courts and the public, nationally and internationally.”

MJ Cartwright, CEO of Court Innovations, agrees,

“We hear from courts that they want simplicity and ease-of-use for their own staff and for the public. The integration of Matterhorn with equivant’s software delivers just that. It’s a win-win-win for courts, their agency partners, and the public because it extends their reach online and streamlines court process.”

Both companies regularly participate in national forums to champion collaboration between court technology suppliers. They are active members of the IJIS Institute Court Advisory Committee and recently framed a panel at the 2017 Court Technology Conference in Salt Lake City, UT. They will exhibit at the National Association for Presiding Judges and Court Officers/National Center for State Courts leadership conference in Scottsdale, Arizona September 24-27 where Court Innovation’s Cartwright will co-present “Online Dispute Resolution: Coming to a Trial Court Near You”.

About equivant

equivant is based in Canton, Ohio with regional offices across the country. For over three decades it has delivered mission-critical technology to courts, public attorneys, and supervision officials with interoperable software components that address the operational needs of state and local justice agencies. equivant pursues its mission to deliver better outcomes to all who touch the justice system by investing in its staff and in modern technologies that help to inform decisions at every step. In addition to core case management systems, equivant can provide a full suite of complementary solutions including judicial tools, e-filing, e-payment, notifications, workflow, ODR, compliance monitoring, and more. For more information, visit equivant.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, be sure to check out the research bulletin on “Online Dispute Resolution and the Courts” released by the Joint Technology Committee in collaboration with COSCA, NACM, and NCSC.

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.

NCSC 2017 Trends in State Courts features Matterhorn

The National Center for State Courts publication

2017 Trends in State Courts
Fines, Fees, and Bail Practices: Challenges and Opportunities

mentioned how Matterhorn and Court Innovations’ Co-Founder J.J. Prescott are increasing access to the courts through providing an online alternative to appearing in-person at court.

NCSC 2017 Trends in State Courts Fines, Fees, and Bail Practices: Challenges and Opportunities mentions Matterhorn.

We’re on page 38 – read the full publication on the NCSC website.

Online Dispute Resolution and the Courts at NACM17

Alex Sanchez of Franklin County Municipal Court, Small Claims and Dispute Resolution, presented at the National Association for Court Management – International Association for Court Administration Joint Educational Conference July 10, 2017 in Arlington Virginia.

He shared Franklin County court’s experience using Matterhorn to take small claims dispute resolution online (see their website). Benefits include on-demand service, access, familiar text-based environment, comfort, and ease of an online solution.

With online dispute resolution, litigants have achieved quicker case resolution (average of 91 days compared to 103 days pre-odr).

Here are his conference slides: Online Dispute Resolution Presentation

Franklin County Small Claims Resolution with Matterhorn featured in Norwegian Judicial Magazine

The magazine of the Norwegian Judiciary, Rett på Sak, wrote about Matterhorn’s successful small claims resolution in Franklin County, Ohio. Franklin County includes Ohio’s state capital Columbus and its surrounding area.

Benefits of Small Claims Resolution

According to Alex Sanchez, manager of the small claims and dispute resolution department at Franklin County Municipal Court,

“The direct results of the platform are more cases resolved prior to [main hearing]….
The biggest benefit to the parties is that they can resolve their case without setting aside time to come to court….
By providing one more avenue for case resolution, courts can dedicate time and resources to other projects and cases.”

How has Matterhorn been received? Alex Sanchez says,

“We received compliments from parties on the very first day the platform launched….Our court users have found our ODR negotiation platform easy to use and are appreciative of the time it saves.”

More about Franklin County’s Small Claims Resolution

The article’s authors, Colleen Anderson and Travis Peterson, are students in a joint program at the University of Toledo, Ohio, and the Folkeuniversitet i Trondheim (University of Trondheim).

The full issue of Rett på Sak can be found online on the Norges Domstoler (Judiciary of Norway) website. The magazine is available as a PDF and the article about us (in English!) is on pages 26-27.screenshot from Norges Domstoler magazine

We are thrilled by the continuing international and national interest in Matterhorn (including the recent presentation at the International ODR conference in Paris). We are particularly pleased that the users of the system find it valuable.

JTIC’s Justice Innovation Center for Small, Rural, Tribal, and Border Criminal Justice Agencies Highlights Resolving Tickets Online

JTIC’s Justice Innovation Center for Small, Rural, Tribal, and Border Criminal Justice Agencies highlights Resolving Tickets Online

While courts often reduce the charges to motorists who receive traffic tickets but have otherwise clean driving records, requiring motorists to appear in person can impose a hardship to those who would need to travel long distances or who work or attend school during the day. Read more at the Justice Technology Innovation Center website.