News

County, court collaborate on Dispute Resolution

By January 29, 2013

PLACERVILLE — El Dorado County and the Superior Court are partnering to continue the highly successful Alternative Dispute Resolution program. The program is an alternative way to resolve civil disputes without the burden of litigation.

In Alternative Dispute Resolution trained, impartial persons decide disputes, or help parties decide disputes themselves. The sides typically meet with a dispute resolution officer at a case management conference within 120 after the case is filed. At the conference they discuss the various procedures for alternative dispute resolution, select the one best suited to their case and set time lines for completion, usually 60 days after the case management conference.

The most common forms of Alternative Dispute Resolution are mediation, arbitration and case evaluation. In excess of 90 percent of all civil cases filed in El Dorado County Superior Court resolve by agreement.

 “Alternative Dispute Resolution is generally a cheaper, faster way to resolve many civil cases, and allows court and county resources to focus on more critical cases,” said Don Ashton from the county Chief Administrative Office.

Under state law, county government collects an $8 fee on all civil actions filed in court. In turn, the county recently entered into a four-year contract with the court to fund the Alternative Dispute Resolution program.

Since the program’s inception in 1994 the court has reduced the civil case backlog by more than 50 percent. The number of cases pending more than two years has decreased by 75 percent.

Additional information about the Alternative Dispute Resolution program, including a brochure titled “You Don’t Have to Sue,” is available at: eldoradocourt.org/departments/adr.aspx or by calling (530) 621-7629.

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