ADR Program




The Eight Judicial District program was named to honor the memory of Court Attorney Referee Marty Violante, whose dedication to alternative dispute resolution and exceptional case settlement skills are legendary and well-respected on a statewide basis. The Eighth Judicial District was an early adopter of Alternative Dispute Resolution and launched a comprehensive program in 2006 that has helped many parties and families engaged in court proceedings.

In May, 2019, Chief Judge Janet DiFiore announced a plan ‘ to transition the New York State court system to an early and presumptive ADR model and expand the scope of ADR to include the broadest possible range of civil case types’. In response, the Martin P. Violante ADR Program in the 8th Judicial District has been revisited and expanded. 

Components of the Martin P. Violante program include settlement conferencing with law clerks, judges, dedicated Court Attorney Referees including those in the Martin P. Violante ADR Center, referral to various qualified neutrals who are included on a court roster comprised of arbitrators in civil and commercial matters, neutral evaluators in civil, commercial and matrimonial matters, and mediators in civil, commercial, matrimonial and Family Court matters. These court connected options complement the work of the private mediators and arbitrators working in the community who may also be used.

Please contact the court with whom you are scheduled for further information or email the ADR Coordinator for the 5th, 6th, 7th 8th Judicial Districts Bridget O’Connell

back to top

Contact Information

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.

Policy Matters can be addressed through contact with the following:

City Court Buffalo 
Jonathan Gorman, Esq. 
(716) 845-2658

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

General Civil Matters 
Melissa Nickson, Esq.
Martin P. Violante ADR Center at 50 Delaware Avenue, Buffalo NY 14202
(716) 845-7271  

Family Court 
Tracey Kassman, Esq. 
(716) 845-7400

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

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

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

Matrimonial Matters
Patricia Maxwell, Esq. 
(716) 845-9343

Martin P. Violante ADR Center at 50 Delaware Avenue, Buffalo NY 14202
Maureen Waddell  
(716) 845-7271

Center for Resolution and Justice (CRJ) at Child & Family Services 
Community Dispute Resolution Center for the 8th Judicial District
(716) 362-2323

ADR Coordinator for the 8th Judicial District – TBD

ADR Coordinator for the 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th Judicial Districts and the Court of Claims
Bridget M. O’Connell, Esq., JD/MSW
(518) 451-8869

Information about Mediation Roster Membership can be obtained through
Mary Lou Hayden, Esq.

Written Correspondence concerning the processes, providers and polices related to the Early Presumptive Alternative Dispute Resolution Initiative in the Eighth Judicial District generally, and not pertaining to any specific pending matter, is welcomed. Attn: Bridget O’Connell, 5th Floor, 25 Delaware Ave., Buffalo NY 14202. 

back to top