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Mediator could help courts

The Ohio Supreme Court recently awarded the local court about $70,000 in grant money to provide the service, Walton said.

Thursday, September 23, 1999

The Ohio Supreme Court recently awarded the local court about $70,000 in grant money to provide the service, Walton said.

The court is just now getting its feet on the ground, hiring Glenda Marting as the in-house mediator.

Ms. Marting is a former teacher with a master’s degree, and has worked for Shawnee Mental Health Services as supervisor, Walton said.

The grant is currently providing training for Ms. Marting, he said.

The court applied for the grant because while judges cannot talk to parties who file a lawsuit, a mediator can, Walton said.

Both sides can get together with the mediator to look over the case then bounce back and forth between each side trying to help each settle the argument, he said.

A property dispute case might involve hiring a surveyor, and if the court result is not worth the expense, then compromise might not be a bad idea and a mediator can point that out, he said.

Also, if a case settles 15 minutes before the trial starts, then there is dead court time, Walton said.

If the case can settle months before a trial date, other cases that are not going to settle can be tried quicker, he said.

Mediators cannot be called to testify in court and they do not discuss cases with judges, Walton said.

Bigger counties, like Hamilton County, have had mediators for a few years, but the Supreme Court is urging others to begin – the purpose of Lawrence’s grant, which is one of five, he said.

Walton and other judges are still working out details of what would qualify a case for mediation.

A mediator might not be appropriate in every case, but some divorces, property disputes and other civil claims could be settled this way, he said.