Small Claims Mediation Mediating a small claims case is an excellent choice for clients involved in Small Claims actions. In mediation, clients are able to consider remedies to satisfy their conflict that the court is not able to address.
Our services are free for all parties involved in Small Claims Dispute that have been filed in Whatcom County District Court.
In Small Claims Mediation, the clients can discuss and negotiate:
Barter or exchange
Return of property
How to move forward
Restoration or closure of past relationship
Other creative solutions determined by the parties
What is Small Claims Mediation?
An informal process where impartial mediators guide people to resolve their conflict through discussion and negotiation.
A safe setting which allows all parties a chance to speak and hear one another.
A private & confidential process.
An opportunity to explore options not considered in the past.
A chance to develop realistic, workable solutions.
An opportunity to create a settlement which becomes a contract between the two parties.
Clients that choose to use mediation still have the option of returning to court should the outcome of mediation not meet their needs.
How can I request mediation?
Two options are available to you if you have a Small Claims action filed:
You may call the Resolution Center and request mediation before your court date. Either party may contact the DRC to request mediation.
You may request mediation
at court on the day of your hearing. Prepare for court, but, if both parties
agree, mediation is available on site as an alternative to a trial with a
judge. If the mediation does not reach a resolution, then parties return to
the courtroom for their trial.
Why try mediation?
To the PLAINTIFF
If you are the plaintiff, if you go to court, the burden of proof is on you. It will be up to you to prove to the judge that the other party owes you, and the judge will make a monetary decision. You may win or lose.
If you try mediation and it is successful, you will walk away with an agreement of how you will become satisfied. If you agree to a payment plan or other plan that will span over several months, you can request a new court date, up to a year out, that stays in place until the agreement is satisfied. This is drawn up during the mediation session, so that you have security that you will not have to file or serve the claim again if the other party does not keep the agreement.
If a barter, exchange, monetary or other plan that resolves the small claim is reached, then the plaintiff will be responsible for cancelling the court date.
To the DEFENDANT
If you are the defendant and the other party takes you to court and wins, you will have a judgment against you, and payment will be due in 30 days.
Consider if you have another way to settle this. Discussions can clarify facts and events, and may influence how creative, flexible or understanding the plaintiff can be with negotiating payments, barter, return of goods, or other ideas. Mediation will allow you to present these options and make a realistic agreement.
Remember—a judgment against you may negatively affect your credit, sometimes for many years. It can also affect the reputation of a business in the community, as it is public information.
Either party can request mediation through the WDRC. We will assist by inviting the other party and scheduling the mediation session, providing professionally trained mediators, and giving all parties the opportunity to settle the dispute without going to court. Call (360) 676-0122 to talk to a Case Manager.