Magistrate Court Mediation
Recognizing that the nature of magistrate court cases is particularly suited to mediation, the Monongalia County Magistrate Court assigns selected cases to mediation as an alternative to litigation.
The Monongalia County Magistrate Court typically selects ten cases for twice a month mediation sessions. Of the one hundred forty cases that were selected for mediation from June 2003 to February 2004, eighty-seven were mediated. Of the eighty-seven cases mediated, forty-six (fifty-three percent) were settled and forty-one (forty-seven percent) were not settled. An additional seven cases settled before mediation.
The Magistrate Court Mediation Program began as a pilot project in Monongalia County in 2002 through a coordination of the efforts of the Supreme Court of Appeals, the Monongalia County Circuit Court, the Monongalia County Magistrate Court, and the West Virginia State Bar.
Throughout the school year, law students who have completed the State Bar’s Basic Mediator Training serve as mediators, with one attorney “on call” if needed. During the summer, attorney mediators, mediators from West Virginia University’s Center for Dispute Resolution, and mediators from Ohio Valley College work with the program.
The Magistrate Court Mediation Program has become a permanent part of the Monongalia County Magistrate Court, with the hope that the program will expand to other counties.