Program Spotlight | Court Connected Mediation

January 24, 2019

Cleveland Mediation Center has been collaborating with the Garfield Heights Municipal Court since 2016 to provide mediation services to landlords and tenants for eviction cases. Geared toward mitigating rising eviction rates in Garfield Heights, Brecksville, Cuyahoga Heights, Independence, Maple Heights, Newburgh Heights, Valley View, and Walton Hills the initiative offers landlords and tenants a more peaceful and efficient means of settling disputes.

 

Mediation creates an opportunity for parties to jointly resolve their concerns prior to their first scheduled court dates, with the help of a neutral third party. Parties discuss issues such as re-negotiating the lease, payment plans to address back rent, needed repairs to the unit, or determining a move-out date. For landlords and tenants, mediation can be a less costly, less stressful alternative to litigation. They have more control over the outcome, and therefore are more likely to adhere to the agreements they have made.

 

The program has generated impressive results. Of the more than 500 mediated cases to date, nearly 80% have been successfully resolved. For Presiding Judge Deborah Nicastro, the program is a welcome addition to the court.

 

Cleveland Mediation Center has enabled the Garfield Heights Municipal Court to offer landlords and tenants an alternative to courtroom confrontations and legal proceedings that neither may understand. The professional mediators at Cleveland Mediation Center provide the guidance the parties need to reach amicable solutions to tenancy problems.

     

Cleveland Mediation Center’s focus at its outset in 1981 was on mediating disputes between youth on the near west side of Cleveland and training them in conflict resolution skills.  In 1994, CMC began the Homeless Prevention Program to mediate disputes between landlords and tenants facing eviction to keep tenants in housing. Based on that rich history, the expansion to court connected mediation was natural. Mediation Coordinator, Kara Tellaisha, who is leading the program, believes that  

 

As mediators we help parties to hear and understand each other better, which often results in more agreeable outcomes. I have been enthusiastic about this program from the start because of its ability to transform difficult conflict in to mutually beneficial resolutions.

 

This program demonstrates the creative work of local courts and community organizations as they strive to offer an alternative to stressful and costly litigation. For more information about this program, please contact Kara Tellaisha at (216) 621-1919 ext 6808 or kara.tellaisha@clevelandmediation.org .

 

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