ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION (ADR)

Welcome to the Ingham County Circuit Court ADR Office. 

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is an alternative process to help parties resolve disputes before they go to trial.  Trials are adversarial and formal in nature, but ADR offers a less formal environment outside of the courtroom amongst the parties to attempt to settle the case.  The most common forms of ADR offered by this court are mediation and case evaluation.  This Court’s ADR Plan can be viewed here at LAO ADR 2016-04.   

Mediation

Mediation is the most utilized form of ADR.  It involves a neutral third party professional who meets with the parties outside of the courtroom to attempt to resolve the case.  The goal of the mediator is to get the parties to compromise and voluntarily reach a settlement.  The mediator may work out a partial or full settlement with the parties, or in some cases, no settlement, and in that situation, the case would proceed to trial.

This court offers an approved list of mediators for civil and domestic disputes which can be selected under the tab “Court Approved Mediators.”  Approved mediators are governed by MCR 2.411 and 3.216. 

Case Evaluation

Case evaluation is court ordered and utilized in civil cases prior to trial, but after mediation.  It involves a panel of three case evaluators who will issue a recommended settlement to the parties after the case evaluation hearing.  Case evaluation is governed by MCR 2.403.

Location:

Case evaluations in the Ingham County Circuit Court are held in the case evaluation room in the Veterans Memorial Courthouse on floor 3R. 

Time of Hearing:

Case evaluation hearing times are tentative.  Please contact the ADR Coordinator prior to the hearing to obtain a certain time for the hearing.

Briefs:

Each party shall submit three copies of their briefs/summaries to the ADR Coordinator located at the Veterans Memorial Courthouse two weeks prior to the case evaluation hearing date.  If the briefs are delivered directly to the case evaluators, a proof of service must be filed with the ADR Coordinator indicating such delivery.  If briefs are filed less than two weeks before the case evaluation date, a $150 late fee will be applied.    

Fees:

Each party must submit a check for $75 made payable to the Ingham County Circuit Court.  If a party’s summaries/briefs are filed less than two weeks before the case evaluation date, that party will be subjected to a $150 late fee penalty in addition to the $75 case evaluation fee.

Acceptance/Rejection:

Case evaluation acceptances or rejections are accepted by mail, fax at 517-483-6535, or by email at BHoward@ingham.orgPlease be aware that a postmark does not constitute timely filing! 

How do I become a case evaluator?

The Ingham County Circuit Court utilizes three case evaluation panels which are tort, commercial and employment/labor.  An application can be downloaded here or by contacting the ADR Coordinator.  All applications are ruled on by the respective panel committees.  Qualifications for a case evaluator are governed by MCR 2.404(B) and LAO 2016-04.   

For those applying to the tort and employment/labor panels, please indicate which sublist you are applying for; plaintiff, defendant, or neutral.