Small Claims

Online Dispute Resolution for Small Claims Cases

Scales of JusticeMatterhorn’s Small Claims Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) is a way for people to resolve small claims disputes online, rather than through traditional in-person civil court procedures, alternative dispute resolution or mediation.

Video: Small Claims ODR at the Franklin County Municipal Court

Lawsuits can be scary.

The court can provide a safe space for two parties to work on a fair outcome agreeable to both.

And because parties can access their case and continue the conversation at their convenience, from the comfort of their separate homes or locations, Matterhorn makes resolution that much easier.

Civil ODR is highly configurable and can be applied to any civil case type, such as small claims, landlord- tenant, or family court issues. The software is designed to interface with court case management systems as needed, and can also be used before a case is filed in court.

Communicate from Anywhere, on Any Device, at Any Time

Parties are able to resolve their differences through real-time or asynchronous communications privately and online. The public appreciates this flexibility. Our courts see communications initiated 24/7 rather than just during business hours.

A third party, such as a moderator, mediator, or arbitrator, may be involved in the online interaction to assist in resolution.

Online Conversations that are Productive

The online environment helps create a sense of safety and neutrality, and oversight by the court to focus on a productive and civil resolution.

Reduce Administrative Effort

Matterhorn’s configurable system reduces the administrative work involved in handling Small Claims cases.

Benefits of Small Claims Online Dispute Resolution

Benefits to Your Court

  • Reduce backlog by resolving more civil cases before their hearings
  • Shorten case lifetimes to an average of 5 days
  • Save staff time and reduce case touchpoints
  • Increase party satisfaction
  • Configured to your court’s unique approaches

Benefits to Participants

  • Connect with your court in a safe and
    trusted way
  • Mobile-friendly, on-demand 24/7 access
  • Convenient when they cannot travel to the courthouse
  • Digitally documented case history

What Have our Courts Achieved?

Learn more about what Franklin County, Ohio has achieved with online dispute resolution for small claims via:

What is Matterhorn?

Matterhorn is a web-based platform designed to allow courts to handle large volumes of infractions, disputes, warrants, and other cases—all online.

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).

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.