Alternative Dispute Resolution for the 9th JD

ADR Programs by court type:

Supreme Court | Surrogates Court | Family Court | City Court

 

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. 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.

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ADR

ADR CONTACT INFORMATION

If you have a matter that is currently pending in your county of residence that you would like considered for reference to ADR, or if you simply have a question concerning ADR please contact

Sharon G. Matthie, Esq.
Court Attorney Referee
Alternative Dispute Resolution Coordinator, 9th JD
111 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Blvd
White Plains, NY 10601
Email: smatthie@nycourts.gov

 

Call for Mediators

The 9th Judicial District 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. The District’s multiple Mediation Programs recognize that neutrals with a wide variety of cultural and life experiences enrich the alternate dispute resolution process by bringing diverse perspectives to resolving disputes. To accomplish these goals, it is important that the 9th JD Mediation Program Rosters attract and retain neutrals who represent a range of personal and professional backgrounds who can, thereby, better serve and instill confidence in participants in the alternate dispute resolution process. To that end, qualified applicants of all diverse backgrounds and experiences are encouraged to apply for admission to the Mediation Rosters in the 9th Judicial District.

Universal Application Form

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Mediator Requirements

The Administrative Judge shall establish, and the ADR Program Contact shall maintain, a roster of trained mediators ("The Roster") for the Program which shall be available on the Court website. To be eligible to join the Roster as a Mediator, a person shall satisfy the training and experience requirements of Part 146 of the Rules of the Chief Administrative Judge as follows:

All Court Roster Mediators shall have received at least 24 hours of basic mediation training, 16 hours of additional training in the specific mediation techniques applicable to specific subject areas of the types of cases referred to them. In addition, all Court Roster Mediators shall have recent experience mediating actual cases in the subject area of the types of cases to be referred to them. Mediation experience can be achieved by mediating at least three (3) Court cases in a New York State, or b. Completing a Court Mediation Apprenticeship.

A Court Mediation Apprenticeship shall include observing at least one (1) mediation, regardless of case type; Co-mediating three (3) Court cases in the subject area of the types of cases to be referred to them and debriefing all observations and mediations with a court roster mediator or ADR Program Contact; and evaluation by a court roster mediator or ADR Program Contact

All Court Roster Mediators must attend six hours of approved Continuing Education relevant to mediating in their respective practice areas every two years.

Fulfillment of these requirements does not guarantee acceptance onto the Roster. Final placement on a Roster or continuation on a Roster is in the discretion of the District Administrative Judge under Part 146 of the Rules of the Chief Administrator.

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Links

9th Judicial District ADR Rules

Community Dispute Resolution Centers

Definitions

Forms

Frequently Asked Questions

Roster of Mediators

Rules

 

 

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ADR Programs By Type

The Court is committed to finding less costly and innovative ways of resolving matters, and therefore offers the following ADR programs: City Court, Family Court, Permanency Planning Mediation, Supreme Court, and Surrogate’s Court. In addition to these specialized ADR programs, any mediation eligible case may be referred to private mediators to assist in reaching an early resolution of cases.  Almost all contested matters are eligible for presumptive ADR at some point prior to trial.

If the matter is referred to mediation, the Court will issue an Order of Reference or Referral (“the Order”). Within 30 days of the issuance of the Order, the parties shall select one of the following services for mediation including: Roster Mediator, Community Dispute Resolution Center, Judicial Hearing Officer, Private Mediator, Court Attorney Referee. Mediation shall be completed within 45 days of the Order of Reference or referral to mediation. If the matter is not resolved in mediation, the parties shall proceed with discovery, but may be subject to further referral to mediation. During the mediation process, the Court may continue appearances of the matter before the Judge, Law Clerk, Court Attorney, Court Attorney Referee or Judicial Hearing Officer. Select the Court (hyperlink) where your matter is pending for additional information:

 

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SUPREME COURT

SUPREME COURT
COUNTY CASE TYPE EXCLUSIONS
Dutchess
rules
Cases identified by the Judge at the preliminary conference Cases that involve domestic violence, cases with an imbalance of power or other such cases, in the court’s discretion
Putnam
rules
Presumptive Cases involving allegations of domestic violence and/or were temporary or permanent
 
  • Matrimonial- with or without children
  • Matrimonial- W-2 employees/custody
  • Tort with claims under $75,000
  • Contract/Commercial claims under $75,000
 
  Optional  
 

Personal Injury actions

Commercial actions

Matrimonial actions

Any case where all parties request mediation, or where the Court directs the case to go to mediation in the exercise of the Court’s discretion

 

Orange
rules

Subrogation  
  All cases  
  Contract  
  Cases seeking less than $50,000  
  Matrimonial  
 
  • Cases involving W-2 employees with issue of maintenance; child support; and equitable distribution
  • Cases where custody is resolved may be included
 
  Post Judgment  
  All cases except contempt applications  
  Personal Injury  
  Cases with no insurance or minimal policies ($25,000/$50,000)  
Rockland
rules
  • Collection cases
  • Personal injury cases (post initial exchange of medical information)
  • Property damage/subrogation matters
  • Simple matrimonial actions (W-2 employees; limited assets; uncontested custody/visitation where there is no order of protection)
  • Contracts and commercial disputes with $50,000 or less in dispute
  • Any case which does not fall into the above list of cases, but where all parties request mediation, or where the Court directs the case to go to mediation in the exercise of the Court’s discretion
 

 

WESTCHESTER COUNTY SUPREME COURT
PROGRAM CASE TYPE EXCLUSIONS
Neutral Evaluation Program
rules
Matrimonial  
Commercial Division
rules
  • Corporate dissolutions, internal governance disputes and shareholder derivative actions where the entity is closely held and non-public and there is an ongoing business or personal relationship among the parties
  • Employment agreements/restrictive covenants/unfair competition (regardless if employment related)
  • Commercial real estate not involving Yellowstone injunctions
  • Business transactions involving commercial banks or other financial institutions or lenders not involving an instrument for the payment of money only
  • Commercial insurance coverage or environmental insurance coverage
  • Construction litigation
  • Cases where the amount at issue is less than double the jurisdictional threshold for Commercial Division cases pending in Westchester County Supreme Court
  • Any case which does not fall into the list of cases above, but where all parties request mediation, or where the Court directs the case to go to mediation in the exercise of the Court’s discretion
 
Differentiated Case Management Parts
rules
  • Personal injury actions including motor vehicle accidents, involving claims or insurance coverage of $50,000 or less
  • Collection cases involving claims of $50,000 or less
  • Breach of contract actions related to home improvement or real estate matters involving claims of $50,000 or less
  • Subrogation matters seeking recovery of $25,000 or less
  • Partition actions
  • Any case which does not fall into the list of cases above, but where all parties request mediation, or where the Court directs the case to go to mediation in the exercise of the Court’s discretion
 
Matrimonial
rules
  • Matrimonial actions without children
  • Matrimonial actions with children and parents are W-2 employees
  • Any case where the parties request mediation
Matrimonial actions, involving allegations of domestic violence, cases involving child abuse or neglect (as defined in Family Court Act s1012(e) and (f) and Social Services Law s412), domestic violence, or a severe power imbalance between the parties and/or where temporary or permanent orders of protection have been issued

 

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SURROGATES COURT

SURROGATE COURT
COUNTY CASE TYPE EXCLUSIONS
Rockland Rules Simple estate disputes with $50,000 or less in dispute  
Westchester Rules
  • All proceedings are eligible for mediation and may, at the Surrogate’s discretion, be referred to mediation
  • The Surrogate may refer parties to other forms of mediation including settlement conferencing
Cases with public administrator

 

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FAMILY COURT

FAMILY COURT
COUNTY CASE TYPE EXCLUSIONS
District-Wide
rules

Permanency

Selected child welfare matters which include local Department of Social Services and Respondent parents or caregivers, their advocates and families, the Attorney for the Child(ren), foster parents or service providers

 
Dutchess
rules
  • Custody/visitation/guardianship cases, including modification and/or enforcement of custody/visitation/guardianship
  • Termination of parental rights cases for permanency planning
  • Any cases which do not fall into the list of cases above, but where all parties request mediation, or where the Court directs the case to go to mediation in the exercise of the Court’s discretion
  • Any case in which there is an active temporary or permanent stay away order of protection involving the parties or an active child protective services investigation
  • Cases in which there is a history of or ongoing domestic violence, but where there is currently not an active stay away order of protection may be deemed inappropriate for mediation
Putnam
rules
  • Custody and visitation cases
  • Person in Need of Supervision (PINS) cases
  • Any appropriate case where parenting issues are present
  • Cases where there is a history of domestic violence, or where the intake or screening process flags potential ongoing domestic violence that has not been reported
  • Cases where there are complete “stay-away” orders of protection in place
  • Abuse and Neglect cases or similar matters where CPS is investigating
  • Cases where one party has a lengthy or violent criminal history

Orange
rules

  • Custody and visitation cases
  • Child support cases
  • Certain Person in Need of Supervision (PINS) Cases (parent/child mediation)

The following actions shall not be referred to mediation except upon consent of all parties or upon motion of the Court

  • Objections from rulings of the Support Magistrate
  • Abuse and/or Neglect petitions
  • Paternity proceedings
  • Habeas Corpus and Writs
  • Family Offense petitions
  • Juvenile Delinquency petitions
Rockland
rules
  • Initial custody/visitation cases, with no prior court action/history
  • Initial custody/visitation/guardianship cases with prior case history in either Supreme or Family Court
  • Modification/violation of custody/visitation order cases with prior history in either Supreme or Family Court
  • Effective 9/1/20: child support modification/enforcement (non-willful) proceedings
  • Effective 9/1/20: Relocation cases
 
Westchester
rules
  • Custody/visitation/guardianship cases, including modification and/or enforcement
  • Termination of Parental Rights (Permanency Mediation)
  • Any cases that do not fall into the list of cases above, but where all parties request and consent to participate in mediation, or where the Court directs the case to go to mediation in the exercise of the Court’s discretion
Any cases in which there is an active temporary or permanent “stay-away” order of protection involving the parties or an active child protective services (“CPS”) investigation

 

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CITY COURT

CITY COURT
Rules
COUNTY CASE TYPE EXCLUSIONS

Dutchess

Orange

Westchester

  • Regular Civil Claims seeking money damages in excess of $6,000
  • Any case where both parties request mediation
Actions involving allegations of domestic violence or a severe power imbalance between the parties and/or where temporary or permanent Orders of Protection have been issued are not appropriate for referral to the Program. Cases will be screened to avoid inappropriate referrals

 

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Community Dispute Resolution Centers

You may 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 and a link to your local CDRC can be found here: http://ww2.nycourts.gov/ip/adr/ProgramList.shtml.

 

 

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Definitions

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR): ADR stands for alternative dispute resolution – a variety of processes that help parties resolve their dispute without a trial. ADR may also refer to appropriate dispute resolution, referring to a number of processes that can be used to resolve a conflict, dispute, or claim.

Arbitration: Arbitration is a process where disputing parties agree that one or several individuals --- the arbitrators --- can make a decision about the dispute after receiving evidence and hearing arguments.

Community Dispute Resolution Center (CDRC): The New York State Unified Court System partners with local non-profit organizations known as CDRC’s to provide mediation, arbitration, and other dispute resolution options as an alternative to court. CDRC’s help litigants resolve a wide range of family and matrimonial courts disputes involving parents and children as well as child custody and visitation issues.

Mediation: Mediation refers to a confidential dispute resolution process in which a neutral third party --- the mediator -- helps parties identify issues, clarify perceptions, and explore options for a mutually acceptable outcome. o Mediator: A trained third party neutral. The Mediator is not a decision maker. The Mediator serves as a neutral facilitator of communication and helps the litigants reach resolution of the issue(s) being mediated.

Part: A part shall mean any branch of court so designated by Administrative Rule or any Supreme Court IAS Justice, Acting Justice, Family Court Judge, Surrogate Judge or Judicial Hearing Officer presiding over the matter assigned.

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 masters.

Neutral Evaluation: Neutral evaluation is an ADR process where the case is referred to an expert, usually an attorney, who is asked to provide a balanced and unbiased evaluation of the dispute.

Settlement Conferencing: Settlement conferences are similar to mediation in that a third-party neutral assists the parties in exploring settlement; however, these conferences are usually conducted by a judge or court staff and generally focus on the attorneys and their legal arguments.

Special Masters: Special master are experienced neutrals who can assist judges with effective case management, play a role in technologically complex disputes, assist with discovery oversight and management, facilitate resolution among parties or co-parties, and conduct mini-trials upon consent of the parties.

Summary Jury trials: A summary jury trial is a one-day trial in which attorneys for each party present a shortened version of the case in a real courtroom before a jury.

 

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Forms

Mediation Application for Permanency Mediation Program

Mediation Fee Agreement

Mediation Order of Reference

Mediation Opt-Out Form/Court Order

Mediation Participant Statement of Understanding

Mediation Selection form

Referral to Permanency Mediation Form

Report of Mediator Form

Westchester County Preliminary Conference Stipulation

Westchester County Confidential Mediation Report

Westchester County Presumptive ADR Stipulation and Order of Reference

 

Post Mediation Survey

 

Dutchess County Family Court and Supreme Court – Matrimonial

Dutchess County Supreme – Commercial Contract

Dutchess County Supreme – Tort

Dutchess County Surrogate’s Court

 

Orange County Family Court and Supreme Court – Matrimonial

Orange County Supreme – Commercial Contract

Orange County Supreme – Tort

Orange County Surrogate’s Court

 

Putnam County Family Court and Supreme Court – Matrimonial

Putnam County Supreme – Commercial Contract

Putnam County Supreme – Tort

Putnam County Surrogate’s Court

 

Rockland County Family Court and Supreme Court – Matrimonial

Rockland County Supreme – Commercial Contract

Rockland County Supreme – Tort

Rockland County Surrogate’s Court

 

Westchester County Family Court and Supreme Court – Matrimonial

Westchester County Supreme – Commercial Division

Westchester County Supreme – General Civil

Westchester County Surrogate's Court

 

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Frequently Asked Questions

Right to Counsel/Right to Assigned Counsel (where app): Parties have a right to have an attorney present with them during mediation. Attorneys are strongly encouraged to prepare clients for mediation sessions and assist with drafting agreements. Parties do not need to agree to anything in mediation without first speaking with an attorney.

Who Can attend? When parties have lawyers, some forms of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) might involve only the lawyers. If the people involved in the case wish to participate in ADR or the court asks them to take part, they will always be allowed to bring their lawyer.

People can always ask to stop the ADR session so they have time to talk to a lawyer or have a lawyer assigned.

ADR can be very flexible and customized. So as long as everyone agrees, there are many ways that other people, who are not parties in the case or the lawyers could also be invited to join in an ADR session.

When will I get referred to a Presumptive ADR session? Parties may be referred at any time to ADR but one of the goals of the Presumptive ADR Program is to refer cases earlier rather than later in order to limit financial and emotional costs and reduce backlog. This might mean that your case could be referred to some type of ADR at the preliminary conference or before extensive discovery takes place. Each court makes this determination based on the case type and the resources available.

What notice will I receive? Some courts have begun to notify parties that they are to attend an ADR session by a written order; other courts are orally directing parties to mediation or some other form of ADR and sometimes your local Community Dispute Resolution Center may reach out to you by email or phone at the request of the court. Again, this determination is made by each court based on case type and the resources available.

Whom do I contact to confirm when and where to appear or with questions? Parties should refer to the Referral Order, if any; or contact the assigned/appointed mediator; their attorney, if any; or the Part of the Presiding Judge that referred the matter to mediation.

How Is Language Access for those who do not feel comfortable working in English handled? Parties or their attorney, should notify their Attorney, if any, or the Court referring the matter to mediation, or notify the mediator. Parties may retain a private interpreter or use a service e.g. Language Line (www.languageline.com; (800) 752-6096).

Are there exceptions to participation in Mediation? ADR Generally? See Chart above

COST? That depends on the issues and on you and the other party. Mediators on the Court Roster have agreed to provide the first 90 minutes of mediation free of charge. Some mediation providers may offer additional, free mediation services to qualifying couples, others may offer a sliding fee scale. Community Dispute Resolution Centers charge a nominal (small) administrative fee.

Who is delivering the service: Judges, Court Attorney Referees, Judicial Hearing Officers, Law Clerks, Court Attorneys, private attorneys, roster members, CDRC

 

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Roster of Mediators

ADR Roster of Mediators—either a link to the local roster or if a link to a statewide maintained database, if we go that route; Parties and/or Attorney may select a mediator from the 9th JD Roster.

Statewide Mediator Directory

 

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Rules

Supreme Court

Surrogate Court

Family Court

City Court

 

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