Recently the New York Court system's Office of Alternative Dispute Resolution announced the roll-out of three online tools designed to encourage civil litigants to attempt to resolve their cases through mediation. According to the announcement from the Office of Alternative Dispute Resolution, the three online tools are:
- A statewide mediator directory to assist litigants, court staff and others in locating a court-approved mediator;
- A statewide mediator application, that qualified mediators can use to join mediator rosters in trial courts across the state; and
- An online post-mediation survey, giving participants in a mediation the opportunity to evaluate the quality of the mediation services offered.
It should come as no surprise that a number of trial courts in New York are severely backlogged (especially in the more populated areas) and during the pandemic it has only gotten worse. As we have covered extensively, statutes of limitations remain tolled, courts are still largely operating through remote appearances, and trials are very slowly starting to resume through pilot programs in the courts. As a result, we can expect the courts to strongly encourage (even more than before) that parties to a civil dispute attempt to resolve their differences with the assistance of a mediator.