For cases that are voluntary, which means they have been petitioned to the court, are free to try mediation or reject it before going to small claims court. Although, mediation is not mandatory for the parties to resolve their dispute claims, the court system can often refer parties to mediation before a scheduled court date. The objectives of mediation are to attend a small claims mediation meeting for 30 minutes to an hour and discuss their party’s proposal for a consensus. The mediator is an impartial, nonbiased individual trained to facilitate the conversations and proposal by each party for a resolution. Mediators are often skilled with high emotional intelligence that can help plaintiffs and defendants deal with psychological trauma or underlying issues that keeps the case from gaining a compromise. However, if the dispute can not be resolved through mediation and the two parties decide that can not agree on any terms then the dispute will be decided by a small claims judge. The judgement of the two party’s case can be decided on the same day as mediation or a future date.
Studies have shown that opposing parties who voluntarily agree to mediate up to 70% of small claims disputes are resolved. Court systems where everyone is forced to mediate as a mandatory precondition to going to court, over 50% of case are resolved. Mediation is a great way for individuals within the same community to resolve their issues which is vital for small business owners, teachers, local government employees, and neighborhood residents. The dispute must be resolved quickly and effectively because the parties have a higher likelihood of running into each other through community interactions. It is better to have the parties resolve their emotional disapproval and regrets during mediation which can be the first step in the long process of gaining a consensus. Trail court judges will look at the facts of mediation and weight the different outcomes of a person before they make a judgement on a case. The trail court takes the personal decision making out of the party’s hands and into the judges.
Dispute Resolution Center County Mediation Simulation: Rent and Damages Due
The Florida Courts system has provided multiple pre-recorded training videos for mediators, petitioners, and respondents to prepare for a Florida mediation. In this example, the petitioner is the landlord, and the respondent is the tenant who claim pro se parties in a dispute involving two months rent due and damages occurred to the rental property. The landlord claims that the tenant hasn’t paid rent for the months of May and June which is totaled 200 dollars each month and has broken a side entry window total damages and repairs cost 175 dollars. However, the tenant decided that she would not pay rent for May and June because the landlord broke their rental agreement due to the broken air condition in the unit and the broken refrigerator. The tenant claims that she was not the person who broke the entry way window and is not liable for the damages and repairs. Both parties initially refuse to a consensus of their dispute therefore the mediator decides to caucus.
The mediator decided to caucus with the landlord first and get his perspective on the rent due and damages. The landlord says that he didn’t see her break the window and there are not witnesses to testify that the tenant has broken the window. The landlord still insists that the window must be paid by the tenant because he believes that she broke it to get into the apartment building. He recently changed the locks for the doors and gave everyone a key except her because of the rent due. The mediator states that even though the window was broken if the two parties were to go to trail court without a resolution it would be difficult for the landlord to make that claim and win. Eventually the landlord decides to not charge the tenant for the broken window since he didn’t know who broke it and the repairs have already been claimed on insurance. The landlord says that the tenant must pay the rent for May and June. The mediator states that because the air condition and refrigerator were broken the tenant took on more financial obligations which were not apart of the rental agreement. The landlord decides to cut the total cost of rent for May and June in half, totaling 200 dollars for both months. However, to get the air conditioning and refrigerator fixed the tenant must pay 100 dollars now and another 100 dollars at the time of the repair call.
The mediator decides to caucus with the tenant next and rely on the message given by the landlord. After meeting with the tenant, the mediator finds that the major problems with the unit was the lack in air conditioning and refrigerator. The tenant stated that she did have money to give the landlord and finally compromised on certain aspects of the settlement. The mediator calls the landlord back into the office with the tenant. Both parties share their new insights of the dispute and come to a compromise of the settlement and the next months of rent payment.
The mediator successfully resolves the dispute without any angry parties or resentment. The ability for the parties to compromise on certain aspects of the rental dispute was a major key to unlocking their resolution. I highly recommend watching the YouTube video for more information on resolving your own personal dispute as a self-represented litigant.