STATEMENT OF POLICY
“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, District Court, City Court, and New York City Civil Court shall be presumptively eligible for early referral to an alternative dispute resolution process unless otherwise excluded pursuant to this Plan. 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.”
Statement of Policy of the Chief Judge.
ADR CONTACT INFORMATION
100 Supreme Court Drive, Room 113
Mineola, New York 11501
WHAT IS PRESUMPTIVE ADR?
In a presumptive Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) referral model, parties are referred early on to utilize some form of ADR such as arbitration, mediation, neutral evaluation, settlement conferencing or a special master. A referral can occur at any stage in a case, preferably early in the court process, before costs rise and positions harden. Some ADR plans include a provision for parties to opt-out, often for good cause, or exclude certain case types. Cases are continuously screened to support party safety and to assess case appropriateness for presumptive ADR.
WHAT IS ADR?
Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) refers to a variety of processes that help parties resolve disputes without a trial. Typical ADR processes include mediation, arbitration, neutral evaluation, and collaborative law. These processes are generally confidential, less formal, and less stressful than traditional court proceedings. Parties can use ADR before filing a case or at any stage of the court proceeding. For more information on the different types of ADR processes, to determine which process is most appropriate for your dispute, please visit The Unified Court System’s The Office of Alternative Dispute Resolution.
ADVANTAGES OF ADR
- Saves Time: ADR is faster than going to trial.
- Saves Money: Parties can save on court costs, attorney’s fees, and witness fees.
- Control: Parties retain control by choosing the ADR process and provider for voluntary ADR.
- Reduces Stress and Protects Privacy: ADR is done outside the courtroom, in private offices, by phone or remotely. The proceedings remain confidential.
- Durability of agreement: It can produce more lasting agreements.
- It may preserve or improve relationships: This is especially important in conflicts involving families in which it is critical to preserve the relationship and foster ongoing communication.
DISADVANTAGES OF ADR
- If the parties do not resolve their dispute, they may have to pay for ADR, litigation and trial.
- ADR does not provide a public trial or a decision by a judge or jury.
DISTRICT ADR PROGRAMS
SUPREME COURT – EXPEDITED JURY TRIALS
The Nassau County Expedited Jury Trial (EJT) is an alternative way to provide parties with a jury trial in an accelerated time frame and without the expense of expert witnesses . . . Motor vehicle serious injury cases make up the primary source for these trials, although other tort cases have gone to trial.” (Hon. R. Bruce Cozzens and Hon. Sharon M.J. Gianelli. “Nassau County Expedited Jury Trial.” Nassau Lawyer, February 2019, p. 6). An expedited jury trial proceeds with strict time limits on jury selection and case presentation, including a limitation on the number of live witnesses. The goal is to have the trial completed in one day, although jury deliberation may be adjourned if necessary. The trial may be either non-binding or binding, depending on the agreement of the parties and order of the Court. Damages can be floored and capped on a high/low basis by agreement of counsel and defendant may also agree to a concession of liability in the appropriate case. For more instructions on Nassau County Expedited Jury Trials please see Nassau County Expedited Jury Trial, Nassau Lawyer article. To schedule an Expedited Jury Trial, please contact Justice Cozzens in the Calendar Control Part (CCP) at (516) 493-3113.
SUPREME COURT – COMMERCIAL DIVISION
Pursuant to Commercial Division Rule 8(a), counsel in Commercial Division matters are to confer prior to the Preliminary Conference in an attempt to identify a mutually agreeable ADR plan.
The parties/counsel are to consider either: (1) the appointment of a Roster Mediator through the Commercial Division ADR Program; (2) the appointment of a Judge not assigned to the case to preside over a settlement conference or mediation within 30 days pursuant to Commercial Division Rule 3(b); (3) settlement conference or mediation within 30 days before the assigned Judge; or (4) engagement of a private ADR service at the parties’ expense.
Roster of Commercial Division Mediators (Spreadsheet must be downloaded to filter/sort)
Roster of Commercial Division Mediators (Contact Info only; printable)
SUPREME COURT – MATRIMONIAL CENTER
400 County Seat Drive
Mineola, New York 11501
516-493-3444 (Clerk’s Office)
At the Preliminary Conference the Court will conduct settlement negotiations between the parties. If, at the conclusion of the initial session, settlement cannot be reached, the Court will determine an appropriate ADR track for the case. The matter may be referred to either: (1) the Special Master/ Neutral Evaluator Program; (2) court personnel for mediation; or (3) the assigned Judge or Judge’s staff for settlement conference.
SUPREME COURT – GENERAL CIVIL
The initial settlement conference is scheduled before the assigned Judge within approximately 45 days of the preliminary conference. Attorneys with settlement authority are directed to appear at the initial Judicial Settlement Conference. The parties must either appear at the initial conference or be reachable by phone. If, at the conclusion of the initial settlement conference, settlement cannot be reached, the Judge and/or Principal Law Clerk will determine an ADR track for the case within sixty (60) days.
The assigned Judge will be kept informed of the progress of the ADR (appearances dates and prospect of settlement) every 45 days. Final resolution, if any, to be noted by the Compliance Conference date. Discovery will not be stayed but will proceed simultaneously alongside the ADR track.
At the Certification Conference, an additional settlement conference session will be scheduled to occur within 60 days after the filing of the Note of Issue. Finally, when the case is scheduled in the Trial Assignment Part, settlement discussions will again be conducted.
Judicial Settlement Conferences are held on all eligible cases at the earliest appropriate stage. Parties may request referral to a neutral evaluator for a free initial session of ninety (90) minutes. If the parties choose to continue beyond the initial session, the Neutral Evaluator may be compensated as agreed upon in writing between the parties and the Neutral Evaluator. Surrogate’s Court matters exempt from ADR shall consist of guardianship (17A); adoption; appointment of a Guardian Ad Litem; and kinship hearings.
The Family Court will use ADR at all stages of a proceeding and at each appearance. Settlement Conferences will be held by either the Judge, the Judge’s Court Attorney, the Support Magistrate, or the Court Referee assigned to preside over the matter. In addition to these settlement conferences, the Family Court may schedule the case for further ADR within 45 days with either: (1) a private mediation or through a CDRC; (2) a dedicated court employee mediator for custody/visitation and child support proceedings; or (3) the assigned Judge, a Court Attorney or Court Referee for a settlement conference. Family Court matters which may be exempt from ADR shall consist of: Persons in Need of Supervision and Juvenile Delinquency proceedings; Abuse cases; Family Offense cases with Violence; and Jailed Pro Se Litigants
All first-time Small Claims cases will be initially calendared for mediation. The parties will be sent to volunteer mediators from the EAC Network, a non-profit community-based dispute resolution organization, present in the Courthouse. Cases that are on for the first time in all Civil Parts will be calendared for settlement conference on the initial Court date by the assigned Judge. Civil Part cases of $6000 or less are referred to Mandatory Arbitration before a Nassau County Bar Association ADR Panel Arbitrator. For Landlord and Tenant cases, cases are placed on an ADR calendar for settlement conference and adjourned every forty-five (45) days, until the Judge determines that the case cannot be resolved through ADR.
LOCATE AN OUTSIDE ADR PROVIDER
To assist court users with locating a mediator that might be appropriate for their case, The Statewide Office of ADR has created the Statewide Mediator Directory which lists mediators who are approved to mediate in courts throughout New York State.
You may also seek the services of a Community Dispute Resolution Center (CDRC), which offers free and low-cost mediation. There is a CDRC for every county in New York State. They can mediate court cases, as well as disputes that are not in court. Many CDRCs offer virtual mediation. If a court refers your case to mediation, consult first with the referring court about your options: in some courts and in some case types, mediation services may be free of charge.
More information about and locations of your:
Local Community Dispute Resolution Centers
INFORMATION FOR COURT NEUTRALS
The District Administrative Judge has complied rosters of mediators or neutral evaluators who are qualified to receive referrals from the court. These rosters are case type specific. In order to be eligible for appointment to the roster, neutrals must meet the minimum qualifications and training criteria set forth in Part 146 of the Rules of the Chief Administrative Judge and meet any additional qualifications set forth for each program’s rules. Court approved neutrals receiving referrals from the roster are required to comply with the District’s ADR program rules and fee structures specific to the panel on which they are appointed.
Parties may choose an ADR provider from a court roster or from an outside resource. Parties should always inquire about the qualifications and experience of the neutral.
Call for Mediators and Neutral Evaluators
The 10th Judicial District—Nassau County serves a wide variety of litigants, including persons of varying age, race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, physical or mental ability, religion, socioeconomic and family status. Neutrals with a wide variety of cultural and life experiences enrich the alternate dispute resolution process by bringing diverse perspectives to resolving disputes. To better serve our District’s population and instill confidence in participants in the alternate dispute resolution process, the 10th JD is committed to attracting and retaining court-approved neutrals who represent a range of personal and professional backgrounds. Qualified applicants of diverse backgrounds and experiences are encouraged to apply for admission to the ADR Rosters in the 10th Judicial District.
Court Roster Applications
To apply please complete the Statewide Application for Court Rosters or the applicable 10th JD application.