When you file a claim in Clark County, the parties are required to attend a mediation in an attempt to find a resolution before proceeding to trial. As a party in a Small Claims case, you are not required to come to an agreement but you are required to attend mediation. Mediators can help can help you reach an agreement by facilitating communication between parties and providing a venue that is safe and conducive to open and honest communication. Mediations generally last anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours. All mediations are confidential. Substance and content from mediations cannot be used in court as evidence if the parties choose to go to trial.
What To Expect
Currently all mediations are being held virtually via Zoom. After a case is filed, you will receive notice from the court to appear for a pre-trial. During the pre-trial hearing you will get scheduled for a mediation. The mediation will not take place on the date of the pre-trial. The pre-trial typically doesn't last more than two hours. After your case is scheduled for mediation you will be dismissed. Following the pre-trial you will receive two emails: One with documentation pertaining to the mediation and a Zoom link for your mediation. On the date and time of the scheduled mediation, you and the other parties involved with the case will meet with a mediator. The mediator will facilitate a discussion between you and the other person in an attempt to resolve your dispute. Usually, mediation of a small claims dispute lasts anywhere between 30 minutes and 2 hours. If you have any questions regarding your Small Claims mediation please contact form using the link using the link below:Small Claims Mediation FAQ
Do I have to attend Small Claims mediation in Clark County?
Answer: Yes. Although they are not required to reach an agreement, all Small Claims cases in Clark County WA must attend a mediation prior to attending a hearing.
Is my lawyer allowed to participate in a Small Claims mediation?
Answer: No. Although you can seek legal counsel prior outside of the mediation, legal counsel is not permitted to participate or attend a mediation unless special permission has been granted by the courts.
What is the mediator’s role during mediation?
Answer: The mediator assists and guides the parties toward their own resolution. The mediator does not decide the outcome, but helps the parties understand and focus on the important issues needed to reach a resolution. The mediator does not give any legal advice or opinions. The mediator is impartial and strives to remain unbiased entering into and throughout the process.
Can I record the mediation?
Answer: No. All mediations are confidential and may not be recorded or discussed outside of the mediation. Recordings of the mediation, the mediators or anything discussed in mediation is prohibited from being entered as evidence in a Small Claims hearing.
How long will the mediation be?
Answer: Typically Small Claims mediations last from 30 minutes to 2 hours.
Do I need to submit my evidence to the mediators?
Answer: No. Parties share evidence in filing and at trial. You can have your evidence ready to present during the mediation but, typically mediators do not address any evidence unless all parties would find it helpful in finding a resolution.
Will Community Mediation Services provide me with an interpreter for my mediation?
Answer: Yes. CMS can provide an interpreter with advance notice. CMS must be notified at the pre-trial if an interpreter is needed for mediation. The court will also provide a separate interpreter for a trial if there is no agreement.
What if I do not have access to a computer?
Answer: You can join the Zoom based mediation by phone if you do not have access to a computer.
Zoom Based Mediation Decorum
All participants in a Zoom based mediation are expected and required to comply with the following District Court courtroom decorum:
- Appropriate dress is mandatory for all participants. Sunglasses and offensive clothing will not be permitted. Participants should dress as if they are present in a courtroom because they are present in a courtroom.
- A Zoom participants actual or virtual background shall not be distracting nor contain inappropriate subject matter.
- An adequate internet connection is required. If an internet connection is unstable, the mediation may be rescheduled for a later date.
- All persons appearing by Zoom shall find a quiet location. Participants shall prevent interruptions by children, partners, pets, etc. If the surrounding environment is distracting, the mediation may be rescheduled for a later date.
- All persons appearing by Zoom shall choose a location where they can sit still comfortably. Participants shall remain seated and still during the Zoom mediation.
- Participants shall not drive during a Zoom Mediation.
- All persons appearing by Zoom shall be on time. Participants are required to log on 5 minutes before a scheduled mediation.
- Except for the device being used by Zoom, all other electronic devices (Such as cell phones, pagers, personal computers) shall be turned off or set to vibrate for the duration of the mediation.
- During the Zoom mediation participants shall not appear from a bathroom, sleep or lie down, chew gum, eat or drink, smoke or vape. All participants shall behave appropriately and be sober.