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Feb. 7, 2008
Foreclosure Mediation Program Model Now Available to Ohio Courts

Statewide Initiative First of Its Kind in Nation

A model program has been sent to Ohio courts to use mediation in home foreclosure cases. Chief Justice Thomas J. Moyer made the announcement today during a speech to Ohio Associated Press writers and editors meeting at the Ohio Judicial Center.

“Mediation will assist courts in managing the explosion of foreclosure cases on their dockets for a more efficient administration of justice while assisting Ohio’s most vulnerable homeowners facing the prospect of losing their homes,” Chief Justice Moyer said. “I am calling on all judges in Ohio who have jurisdiction over foreclosure cases to utilize the model in their courtroom by modifying it to meet the needs and resources of their communities.”

The foreclosure mediation program model is a direct response to Ohio’s rising mortgage crisis. According to figures by the Supreme Court, home foreclosure filings in Ohio rose more than 40 percent in 2007 when compared to 2003. Eighty-five of 88 counties experienced increases in 2007, with the top five counties being Cuyahoga, Franklin, Hamilton, Montgomery and Summit.

The model is the first of its kind in the nation, and was developed by the Supreme Court’s Dispute Resolution Section and Advisory Committee that created a Foreclosure Working Group including judges, magistrates, mediators, attorneys, legal aid representatives, educators, mortgage bankers and representatives of homeowners. The Foreclosure Legal Assistance Group of Ohio (FLAG-Ohio), a coalition of governmental and nonprofit partners, worked in an advisory capacity to support this effort.

It includes best practices, related documents, forms and other resources and is designed for courts to modify. Since not every foreclosure case is appropriate for mediation, the model is designed to assist courts to determine those cases that are appropriate through the assessment of information provided by both the homeowner and the lender. 

The Supreme Court is offering free assistance to local courts to implement the model and provide public education and training specific to foreclosure cases. More information is available at:

“We are providing the tools to facilitate the use of mediation at the local level in resolving foreclosure cases, giving these cases the same access to mediation that has been regularly available in other types of civil cases for more than a decade,” Moyer said.

FLAG-Ohio includes the Supreme Court of Ohio, the Ohio Treasurer’s Office, the Governor’s Office, the Attorney General’s Office, the Ohio State Bar Association, the Equal Justice Foundation, the Ohio Legal Assistance Foundation, the Ohio State Legal Services Association, the Coalition on Homelessness and Housing for Ohio, and the Legal Aid Society of Southwest Ohio, Legal Aid Society of Cleveland.

Contact: Chris Davey at 614.387.9250.

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Foreclosure Mediation Program Model

Foreclosure Letter from Chief Justice Thomas J. Moyer to the Courts of Ohio Adobe PDF

Foreclosure Mediation Program Model

This eleven-step model is designed for courts to modify based on their own needs, resources, and communities. Related documents and forms can be downloaded by clicking on the links located within each step below. It is recommended that courts visit this Web site periodically for additional updates, information, resources and best practices that will continue to be added. If you have questions, need assistance implementing the model in your court, or would like a hard copy contact the Dispute Resolution Section manager, Jacqueline Hagerott at:  or 614.387.9420.

Step One: Building a Foreclosure Mediation Program

Stakeholders Meeting
Schedule a meeting to discuss foreclosure mediation with stakeholders such as: lenders, attorneys for borrowers and lenders, community organizations, mediators, judges, magistrates, court personnel, legal aid, etc.

Supreme Court Assistance: Implementation, Goals, and Quality Assessment
Identify and establish goals for the program and quality assessment including time lines for start up, training and other information located in the Case Management Data and Quality Assessment Information Form.It is recommended that this form be sent to the Dispute Resolution Section each quarter in order to share the success of foreclosure mediation in Ohio and offer case management and other program recommendations, if necessary. You may schedule a time for the Dispute Resolution Section manager to visit your court to assist in modifying the model to meet your needs and resources and to assist you in identifying and establishing these goals and assessment tools.

Training Contact the Dispute Resolution Section regarding the following:

  • Foreclosure Mediation Training Requirements (required for mediators)
    • Basic Mediation
    • Uniform Mediation Act
    • Foreclosure Mediation
  • Other Training for Judges/Magistrates, Court Personnel, Stakeholders (optional)
Note: If your court uses contract mediators, the following resources are recommended: Contract Mediator Cover Letter, Contract Mediator Agreement, and Contract Mediator Questionnaire.

Pre-filed Settlements through Negotiation and Mediation/Marketing
Encourage the settlement of cases through negotiation between the borrower and lender rather than filing a foreclosure case by providing resources such as those listed in Step Four (below) to stakeholders via some or all of the following means: local court (including Web sites); local bar association; law library; clerk of court; county auditor, treasurer and commissioners; local social service agencies; organizations such as churches and legal aid associations; and bank associations. In compliance with the R.C. Chapter 2710 Uniform Mediation Act, stakeholders are encouraged to share success stories through the use of the court’s mediation program, community mediation services, and/or private mediators. 

Relevant Statutes and Rules
R.C. Chapter 2710 Uniform Mediation Act
R.C. 2323.07 Sales of Foreclosed Properties
R.C. Chapter 2329 Execution Against Property
R.C. 5313.07 Proceeding for Foreclosure and Judicial Sale
Supreme Court of Ohio Rules of Superintendence - Rule 16. Mediation
Ohio Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 6. Time

Local Rule Providing for Mediation

Contact the Dispute Resolution Section for assistance in creating or modifying a local rule - See Rule 16. Mediation: Local Rule Guide.  An alternate option is for the court to issue a Standing Order for Foreclosure Mediation.

Step Two: The Complaint is filed at the Clerk of Court's Office. This includes:

  • Evidence of the Note
  • Evidence of the Mortgage
  • Judicial Title Report
  • Evidence of the Assignment (or other evidence that the plaintiff is the holder or servicer of the note and mortgage if the plaintiff is not identified in the note and mortgage as the holder or servicer). Evidence of the Assignment should be included by one of the following:
    • Filed with the Complaint
      • Note: The requirement to file original documents with the complaint is currently in litigation
    • Include with the completed Plaintiff/Lender’s Mediation Questionnaire for Foreclosure Cases, or
    • Included in a Court Order Requiring Mediation Services

Step Three: The Summons is sent with the complaint to the borrower. The Request for Foreclosure Mediation and Motion for Extension of Time to Answer or Otherwise Plead may be enclosed with the Summons or available at the Clerk of Court’s Office. If you elect to have the Request for Foreclosure Mediation and/or Motion for Extension of Time to Answer or Otherwise Plead forms available at the Clerk of Court’s Office it is recommended that you indicate this in the Summons.

Step Four: In addition to the Summons, provide additional information to borrowers such as: Letter to Borrowers, Mediation and Foreclosure Brochures, Post Card, and/or Mediation Glossary and Guide.

Step Five:  Within 28 days after service of the Summons, the borrower files an Answer or a Motion for Extension of Time to  Answer or Otherwise Plead and may send a Request for Foreclosure Mediation to the Mediation Department. The Request for Foreclosure Mediation form should NOT be sent to or filed with the Clerk of Court’s Office.

Step Six: If the borrower sends a Request for Foreclosure Mediation to the Mediation Department, the Mediation Department sends a letter to the lender enclosing the Plaintiff/Lender’s Mediation Questionnaire for Foreclosure Cases who completes the form and returns it to the Mediation Department within 14 calendar days from the postmarked date of the letter. If the lender requests mediation, the Mediation Department sends a letter to the borrower enclosing the Request for Foreclosure Mediation form. The borrower must complete the Request for Foreclosure Mediation form and return it to the Mediation Department within 14 calendar days from the postmarked day of the letter.

Step Seven: The Mediation Department reviews both the Request for Foreclosure Mediation from the borrower and the Plaintiff/Lender’s Mediation Questionnaire for Foreclosure Cases to determine if mediation is appropriate.

Step Eight:  The Mediation Department sends a status report to the court and the parties as to whether or not mediation will occur. The judge/magistrate may or may not issue a Court Order Requiring Mediation Services. The mediator facilitates communication and negotiation between parties to assist them in reaching a voluntary agreement regarding their dispute.  See R.C. 2710.01(A). A mediator will not force any party into accepting an agreement that is not mutually acceptable to all the parties.

  • If the case is determined to be appropriate for mediation, the Mediation Department schedules the mediation within ___ days of the court order/referral to mediation and schedules and sends Notice of Scheduled Mediation to the Parties including instructions for the parties to attend in person with authority to settle (unless given prior permission by either the mediator or the court to participate by phone) and, to provide any other relevant information necessary for the mediation.  A reminder such as an E-mail Reminder may also be sent to the parties to ensure attendance.
  • If the case is not appropriate for mediation, the Mediation Department will send notice to the borrower and lender and the case continues on the trial docket.

Step Nine: Mediation session(s) takes place. 
Mediation is facilitated in compliance with the Ohio Revised Code Chapter 2710 Uniform Mediation Act.  Prior to the parties attending mediation, mediation departments use resources such as Mediation Intake Form or a Mediation Intake Information Sheet to determine if additional steps need to be taken before the session.

Step Ten: Outcome of Mediation Report is filed with the court by the Mediation Department in compliance with the R.C. Section 2710.06 Communication or Disclosure by Mediator.

Step Eleven: Quality Assessment - Qualitative and Quantitative
Implement evaluations forms and surveys including the: Foreclosure Mediation Participant Survey, Contract Mediator Questionnaire (if applicable), and Case Management Data and Quality Assessment Information Form. Send the Case Management Data and Quality Assessment Information Form to the Dispute Resolution Section ending each quarter: March 31, June 30, Sept. 30, and Dec. 31 using one of the methods listed on the bottom of the form.

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