Each party must come to the Courthouse on the date designated with full authority to make and accept offers for settlement. If more than one party is listed as defendant or plaintiff, each party is required to appear. A party who does not appear may have a judgment entered against him or her. An authorized representative may appear on behalf of a business but must be familiar with the facts of the case and must have authority to settle. Failure to appear with full authority may affect the prevailing party fee award at trial.
Coos County has a program of pre-trial mediation conferences for small claims cases, which has proven to be very successful. Mediation can be done in person, by phone or by video.
Mediation is a procedure that brings you and the other party together to discuss your dispute with a trained neutral person. The mediator can help you brainstorm ways to settle your differences, but lets the parties decide whether to settle the case or to go before the judge for a trial. Mediation offers you a final opportunity to maintain control over the outcome of your dispute before turning it over to the judge. The mediator will keep confidential all the information discussed during mediation and will not be allowed to give testimony at the trial. Mediation is voluntary.
Mediators are court staff who have been specially trained as small claims mediators. They are neutral persons and receive no additional compensation for their mediation services. As neutral parties, they are not your counselors, and they will not give you advice about your case. They are trained simply to help you and the other party explore options for reaching a satisfactory agreement. If you have met the mediator or mediators before, please call that fact to their attention.
If you wish to participate in mediation, please contact a mediator at 541-396-8372 ext. 25024 at least 14 days prior to your scheduled court hearing. The mediator will attempt to contact the other party. If both parties agree, a mediation appointment will be scheduled.
If you reach an agreement during mediation, the mediators will help you write down the terms of the agreement. You will have an opportunity to review and sign the agreement, and copies will be given to each of you. The original will be placed in your court file. Typically, the actual court case will then be dismissed. If the agreement is honored, no judgment will be entered against either party, which will keep the parties’ credit records from being affected.
If there is an agreement and it is not honored, the person who was supposed to receive payment and did not may file a Declaration of Non–Compliance. The court will then enter a money judgment against the party that was supposed to pay and did not. However, if that party believes they did pay everything they were supposed to, or if the party filing the affidavit prevented the other party from paying, the party who owes payment may request a hearing before the court.
YOU MUST APPEAR AT THE DATE AND TIME ON YOUR “NOTICE TO APPEAR”, UNLESS A MEDIATED AGREEMENT HAS BEEN FILED WITH THE COURT. FAILURE TO APPEAR AT THE TIME SET WILL CAUSE YOUR CASE TO BE DISMISSED IF YOU ARE THE PLAINTIFF, OR A DEFAULT JUDGMENT TO BE ENTERED AGAINST YOU IF YOU ARE THE DEFENDANT.
When you appear, you will be given another opportunity to mediate. If you do not choose to participate in mediation, your case will proceed to the court for trial. If you choose to participate in mediation and you do not reach an agreement, the trial will be heard by the judge that day, or on another day, as though the mediation had not occurred. We expect that a trial will take no more than one-half hour (with fifteen minutes for each side). If you think you will need more time to put on your case, you need to let the court know as soon as possible so that we can allow more time on the schedule for you.
Currently, Curry County is unable to offer mediation services for small claims matters.
If you have any questions, please call the Small Claims Clerk (541-396-8372 ext. 25005).