Small Claims - Mediation Overview
How it Works
Mediation is mandatory for small claims cases filed in the Reno Justice Court. In mediation, you and the other party meet with a neutral third person, the mediator, who helps parties work to arrive at their own solution. The goal is to give you and the other party the opportunity to craft your own agreement before the case is heard by a judge. If mediation works, you save the time it takes to go through a trial. Mediation is free of charge.
When you file a small claims case, the clerk of the court will assign you a date and time to appear at the Reno Justice Court for mediation. Your total time at the court may last 3 hours, so you need to set aside that amount of time on your appointed day.
Mediators are trained to help people talk about their disputes and help them come up with reasonable and satisfactory solutions. Mediators are neutral so they do not take sides or suggest solutions, and unlike judges, have no power to rule in favor of one party over the other. Mediators work to help parties communicate as completely as possible so they can make informed decisions.
If you're convinced that the other party is totally unreasonable, you may wonder why you should waste time mediating. Experience shows that when the parties to a small claims court case agree to mediate in good faith, the overwhelming majority of disputes are settled to the satisfaction of all parties.
If parties form an agreement, that agreement is filed with the court and signed by the judge making it a binding order. Once the mediated agreement is honored, the plaintiff must file a dismissal with the court, resulting in no judgment on the defendant’s record.
If the mediated agreement is not honored, the plaintiff has the right to file for a judgment for the amount filed in the original case plus court costs without serving the defendant again and without paying additional court filing fees. If no agreement is reached in mediation, the clerk will give you a trial date.