ADR Program

ADR

 

ADR CONTACT INFORMATION

8th Judicial District Administrative Judge Paula L. Feroleto, J.S.C

Acting 8JD ADR Coordinator
Jennifer Widger
jwidger@nycourts.gov

Regional ADR Coordinator
Bridget M. O’Connell, JD/MSW
Court Attorney Referee
25 Delaware Ave
Buffalo NY 14202
Boconnel@nycourts.gov

Supreme Court

General Civil/Martin P. Violante ADR Center

Maureen Waddell (716) 845-2101 or mwaddell@nycourts.gov

Matrimonial: Patricia Maxwell, Esq. pamaxwelny@courts.gov

Children Come First Matrimonial Parenting Mediation

Sarah Lane Koessler, LMSW skoessle@nycourts.gov

Chrissy Sarzynski, LMSW csarzyns@nycourts.gov

Commercial

Contact the assigned judge’s chambers for further information

Family Court

Custody and Visitation Mediation

(716) 845-2714 or center@nycourts.gov

Child Permanency Mediation Program

Surrogate’s Court

Erie County: Rebecca Diina LaCivita, Esq. rlacivit@nycourts.gov

Joel Moore, Esq. jcmoore@nycourts.gov

Outside of Erie County please contact the assigned judge’s chambers

City Court

Buffalo City Court

Jonathan Gorman, Esq. jgorman@nycourts.gov

City Courts Outside Buffalo

Kelly Gotham, Esq. kgotham@nycourts.gov

Statewide Mediator Directory (LINK)

Community Dispute Resolution Center

Language Access

Policy & Introduction

It is the policy of the Unified Court System to encourage the resolution of civil legal disputes by methods including mediation, arbitration, neutral evaluation, in-court settlement practices, and summary jury trials. All civil actions or proceedings heard in the Supreme Court, Court of Claims, County Court, Family Court, Surrogate’s Court and City Court shall be presumptively eligible for early referral to an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) process unless otherwise excluded. Courts may refer parties to an ADR process at any time after an action has been commenced and are encouraged to do so at the earliest appropriate opportunity.

The 8th Judicial District is comprised of Allegany, Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, Erie, Genesee, Niagara, Orleans and Wyoming Counties.

ADR Neutrals in this Program include ADR Court staff Neutrals, individuals on the Court’s Rosters of ADR Neutrals, and non-profit agency ADR providers under contract with the Unified Court System. The Courts in the 8th District have a long history of promoting Alternative Dispute Resolution (Link to MPV History) and are committed to innovative, constructive and cost-effective ways of resolving matters. Our goal is to assure positions and interests are explored at the earliest appropriate opportunity. Alternative Dispute Resolution takes many forms (link to Key ADR Terms Document) and court staff, rosters of private mediators and other neutrals as well as partnerships with the local Community Dispute Resolution Center all assist participants in finding resolutions. Cases remain active with the court while engaged with the ADR neutral.

All forms of ADR are adaptable and can be done using tools that allow the process to happen in a virtual space. If you have a case pending with the court or are looking for more information about ADR please contact: Acting 8JD ADR Coordinator, Jennifer Widger jwidger@nycourts.gov.

 

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Panels/Rosters of Neutrals

To assist court users with locating a mediator that might be appropriate for their case the court’s Office of ADR has created the Statewide Mediator Directory, which lists mediators who are approved to mediate in courts throughout New York State. Please search by district to identify mediators on the panel of the 8th Judicial District.

Statewide Mediator Directory

Roster Mediators are approved based on their having extensive, relevant professional experience and must submit an application with proof of successful completion of a minimum of forty (40) hours of mediation training sponsored or recognized as complying with Part 146. The forty (40) hour training must include at least twenty-four (24) hours of training in mediation skills and techniques and at least sixteen (16) hours of additional training in the specific mediation techniques pertaining to the subject area of the types of cases to be referred to the applicant. The applicant must also document substantial recent experience mediating actual cases.

Final placement on any trial court roster is at the discretion of the local Administrative Judge. A court’s willingness to accept new mediators and neutrals at any given time may be a result of different factors, including but not limited to a court’s need for neutrals based on case volume, special skills, other ADR programming and resources and available mediators.

In the 8th Judicial District:

  • Court Roster Neutrals shall not be compensated for the first two hours providing ADR services, at least 60 minutes of which shall be spent conducting the ADR session. Thereafter, all time spent following the first two hours (120 minutes) by the Neutral shall be compensable. After the initial 120 minutes, the Court Roster Neutral shall be permitted to charge the fee schedule published in the list of Court Roster Neutrals for all ADR sessions along with future preparation time expended in the case. Parties and the neutral may privately contract for advance preparation time outside of the free time outlined above. Neutrals are encouraged to use a sliding scale when appropriate or to waive fees to ensure that no one is denied access to the ADR program based on inability to pay.
  • All parties shall be advised up front and by the neutral whether there is any cost associated with the ADR services and told how that cost will be determined and how it will be allocated. These arrangements, if there is a cost, shall be confirmed in a writing signed by all parties and the Neutral.
  • The presumption is that all costs will be equally shared unless otherwise agreed or directed by the court.

 

SELECTION OF NEUTRALS

Prior to the first appearance, the attorneys and parties shall confer to discuss the various ADR processes available as well as potential neutrals to assist them with their preferred ADR process.

In the event that the attorneys/parties cannot agree upon, and therefore do not select their own ADR process, the Supreme Court Justice assigned to the case shall select the appropriate process in consultation with the attorneys and parties. In the event that the attorneys/parties cannot agree upon an ADR neutral, Judge or Justice assigned to the case or the Program Administrator shall select the neutral. Nothing in these protocols is intended to limit the parties’ ability to select an ADR process and/or neutral of their choice at any time throughout the litigation or from returning to ADR at any point later in the case.

REPORT OF DISPOSITION

At minimum each provider of ADR Services shall return to the Judge or Justice assigned to the case or her designee, the following information:, Court Name, Case Number, Case Type, , ADR Process, Outcome of ADR Process (including whether settlement was reached), Neutral/Provider Type, Name of Provider, Number of Sessions and Date of Final Session

Membership on the Panels/Rosters of Neutrals

An application for membership on the roster of neutrals can be found here: http://ww2.nycourts.gov/ip/adr/Application.shtml

 

Community Dispute Resolution Centers

The New York State Unified Court System partners with local non-profit organizations, known as CDRCs, to provide mediation, arbitration and other dispute resolution options as an alternative to court. In addition to this work the CDRCs partner with the courts to provide ADR services Every year, CDRCs help thousands of New Yorkers resolve a wide range of disputes involving: Landlords and Tenants, Neighbors, Consumers and Merchants, Parents and Children, Child Custody and Visitation (Parenting Issues), Families and Schools, Elder Adult Decisions, Victim-Offender Dialogue.

The 8th Judicial District is fortunate to work with Child and Family Services Center for Resolution and Justice (CRJ) in all local counties - Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Niagara, Orleans and Wyoming. Center for Resolution and Justice

Community Mediations (716) 362-2323 mediate@cfsbny.org

Center for Resolution and Justice
(Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Niagara, Orleans, Wyoming)

CDRC / CRJ Community Mediations (716) 362-2323 mediate@cfsbny.org Mediation and conflict coaching (one on one process to support party in a dispute where other party declines mediation) Housing, landlord/tenant, custody/visitation where petition is not already filed, small claims, family conflict, other interpersonal disputes

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Supreme Court

 

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General Civil Matters

 

ADR Dedicated Court Staff Providing Enhanced Settlement Conferences at the Martin P. Violante ADR Center

General Civil and Commercial cases may be referred to Violante Center for enhanced settlement conferencing through the chambers of the assigned Judge using a Referral Form. Counsel may request the court refer the matter or the court may direct parties to attend.
RJI request for ADR Referral

Schedule through Maureen Waddell (716) 845-7271 mwaddell@nycourts.gov

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ADR Dedicated Court Staff Process/Types of Cases

Martin P. Violante ADR Program

Enhanced Settlement Conferencing
Enhanced Settlement Conferencing

Melissa H. Nickson, Esq.
Court Attorney Referee
50 Delaware Avenue
10th Floor
Buffalo NY 14202

Civil Supreme (Not Matrimonial)

William Gersten, Esq.
Court Attorney Referee
50 Delaware Avenue
10th Floor
Buffalo NY 14202

Civil Supreme (Not Matrimonial)

Thomas Notaro, Esq.
Court Attorney Referee
50 Delaware Avenue
10th Floor
Buffalo NY 14202

Civil Supreme (Not Matrimonial)

Jonathan Gorman, Esq.
Court Attorney Referee
50 Delaware Avenue
10th Floor
Buffalo NY 14202

Civil Supreme (Not Matrimonial)

Mediation is available by referral (Order of Referral to ADR) from the court to a panel/roster mediator. Parties or counsel can request a referral at any time from the chambers of the assigned judge. RJI FOR ADR

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Commercial Matters

 

 

Matrimonial Matters

The courts of the 8th Judicial District are sensitive to the many complexities of family life and have established Expedited Matrimonial parts (Link? http://ww2.nycourts.gov/COURTS/8jd/Erie/spec_matrimonials.shtml) in both Erie and Niagara counties. In these parts and elsewhere, judges and court staff provide settlement conferencing early in each matter.

Counsel and parties should discuss either prior to or at the first appearance the appropriate ADR processes available as well as potential neutrals to assist them with their preferred process. In the event that the attorneys/parties cannot agree upon an ADR neutral or process the Judge assigned to the case or the Program Administrator shall select the neutral.

In addition to ongoing settlement conferencing with court staff, mediation and neutral evaluation are available through the 8JD Roster/Panels (Statewide Mediator Directory )

Matrimonial matters mainly use settlement conferencing with court staff. Mediation is available to address parenting matters through the court’s Children Come First program Parties or Counsel may request the court refer the matter to Children Come First (CCF Referral Form).

The Children Come First program also provides parenting assessments at the request of the court. Counsel or parties may discuss options for parenting assessments with the court when custody or visitation is at issue. The court can refer the matter (Link: Parties, counsel or the court may also elect to have the matter referred to a mediator or other neutral from the court’s roster to address any matter in the case. Case Assessments: Cases may also be referred to the Children Come First Program for parenting assessment using a Referral Form that includes attorney and party contact information and a consent form. The Court or Attorneys can request the referral for assessment

Case Assessments:
Cases are also referred to the Children Come First Program for parenting assessment using a Referral Form that includes attorney and party contact information and a consent form. The Court or Attorneys can request the referral for assessment

Children Come First Program

Matrimonial Parenting Plan Mediation/

Civil Supreme

Sarah Lane Koessler, LMSW
One Niagara Plaza
Buffalo NY 14202
skoessle@nycourts.gov

Matrimonial Parenting Plan Mediation/

Civil Supreme

Chrissy Sarzynski, LCSW
25 Delaware Avenue
Buffalo NY 14202
csarzyns@nycourts.gov

Matrimonial Parenting Plan Mediation/

Civil Supreme

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Surrogate’s Court

Erie County Surrogate’s Court Surrogate’s Court uses both settlement conferencing and mediation. The Erie County Surrogate’s Court program provides for early assessment of cases for appropriate ADR referrals. Mediation is the presumptive process and in most matters prior to the first appearance, the attorneys and parties shall confer to discuss the various ADR processes available as well as potential Neutrals to assist them with their preferred ADR process

Some matters, including all SCPA article 17-a contested guardianship proceedings where there are cross-petitioners seeking appointment as guardian, not otherwise excluded under this Plan, will be referred to mediation with either the local Community Dispute Resolution Center (CDRC), Child and Family Services Center for Resolution and Justice or to a qualified Roster Mediator

In most other matters prior to the first appearance, the attorneys and parties shall confer to discuss the various ADR processes available as well as potential Neutrals to assist them with their preferred ADR process. Such party discussions and preferences shall be discussed with the Surrogate. In the event that the attorneys/parties cannot agree upon, and therefore do not select their own ADR process, the Surrogate shall select the appropriate process in consultation with the attorneys and parties. Mediation shall be the presumptive process.

Erie County Surrogate’s Court Pilot Roster of Neutrals

Erie County Surrogate’s Court Pilot Plan

Surrogate’s Courts in Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Niagara, Orleans, Genesee and Wyoming counties will continue to use settlement conferencing and may refer for mediation to the Erie County Surrogate’s Court Pilot Roster of Neutrals or other available mediators or neutrals on the statewide mediator directory or through the local Community Dispute Resolution Center.

 

Family Court

Erie County Family Court: Cases are referred to Erie County Family Court Custody and Visitation Program by the Judge in the case using an Order of Reference. The court may refer on its own or the parties or attorneys or attorney for the child may request the court refer the matter for mediation.

This program is a collaboration between the 8th Judicial District and the local Community Dispute Resolution Center and mediation is provided by a dedicated staff and a panel of professional family mediators who volunteer

Contact: Karen Carroll, Esq. One Niagara Plaza Part 14, Buffalo NY 14202 center@nycourts.gov

The CDRC also provides mediation of Custody and Visitation matters upon the request of the court, parties or the attorneys in Family Courts in Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Niagara, Orleans, Genesee and Wyoming counties. Contact mediate@cfsbny.org

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City Court

Landlord Tenant

Small Claims

The Eighth Judicial District has designated point persons by case type to address procedural issues concerning the Presumptive Alternative Dispute Resolution Initiative and the plan, programs and policies implemented in the eight counties of Western New York (Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Niagara, Orleans and Wyoming). Alternative Dispute Resolution can include a variety of processes, such as settlement conferencing with the court and court staff, mediation with court connected or private mediators, mediation through the local Community Dispute Resolution Center, Arbitration, Neutral Evaluation and other customized processes. 
Information on specific pending cases can be obtained through the court part or general information numbers. http://ww2.nycourts.gov/courts/8jd/index.shtml

City Court Buffalo

City Court Buffalo
Jonathan Gorman, Esq.
jgorman@nycourts.gov
(716) 845-2658

City Courts Outside of Buffalo

City Courts Outside of Buffalo 
Kelly Gotham, Esq.
kgotham@nycourts.gov 
(716) 845-2686

General Civil Matters General Civil Matters 
Melissa Nickson, Esq.
Martin P. Violante ADR Center at 50 Delaware Avenue, Buffalo NY 14202
mnickson@nycourts.gov
Family Court

Family Court 
Tracey Kassman, Esq. 
tkassman@nycourts.gov

Custody & Visitation Mediation 
Karen Carroll, Esq. 
Center for Resolution & Justice (CRJ) @ Child & Family Services  
center@nycourts.gov
(716) 845-2734

Surrogate’s Court

Rebecca Diina LaCivita, Esq.
Attorney Erie County Surrogate’s Court
rlacivit@nycourts.gov
(716) 845-2564

Joel Moore, Esq. 
Attorney Erie County Surrogate’s Court
jcmoore@nycourts.gov
(716) 845-2571

Supreme Court Matrimonial Matters

Matrimonial Matters
Patricia Maxwell, Esq.
pamaxwelny@courts.gov 
(716) 845-9343

 


 

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Contact Information

8th Judicial District Martin P. Violante ADR Program

Court ADR – Hon. Eugene F. Pigott
(716) 845-2101 or  mwaddell@nycourts.gov

ADR Program Administrator - Mary Louise Hayden, Esq.
(716) 845-9336 or mlhayden@nycourts.gov

Matrimonial ADR Program Administrator - Sheila Schwanekamp, Esq.
(716) 845-9330 or sschwane@nycourts.gov  

Family Court Mediation Program
(716) 845-2714 or center@nycourts.gov

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Protocols

ADR Program Protocols
(Revised February 2, 2009)

New: 8th District Commercial Divsion ADR Protocols
(June 2015)

 

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Forms

Request for ADR - to be filed with RJI

New: Commercial Divsion ADR Initiation Form
(June 2015)

 

 

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