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: http://www.supremecourtofohio.gov.
“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.