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Online Dispute Resolution

April 22, 2020

By
Eileen M. O’Brien
Member, Stoll Keenon Ogden PLLC
(859) 231-3057
eileen.obrien@skofirm.com

During the COVID-19 crisis nearly all forms of litigation have been placed in an involuntary limbo as a result of the virtual closure of the state and federal court systems. There is significant concern over the resolution of cases or issues where resolution would benefit the parties, and an equally valid concern that once the courts begin to lift restrictions to any extent, the system will be overloaded. Those fears are justified.

Litigators whose matters have been continued as a result of the closures hope that their cases will be prioritized when the courts reopen. Unfortunately, this ever-accumulating backlog of hearings/motions/trials will need to be addressed in addition to the court’s regular case load.

In Need of Quick Action

The delay for civil matters has resulted in postponement of ongoing issues such as discovery disputes, motions, and previously scheduled global mediations and custody, support and timesharing issues, as well as scheduled mediations, in family law matters. Many of these matters are urgent in the view of those involved, but few will meet the criteria warranting “emergency” access to the courts under existing orders governing operations during the crisis.

An Alternative to Delay

ODR (Online Dispute Resolution) offers a more immediate opportunity for resolution of matters that might otherwise have been litigated. In many cases the parties recognize that the possibility of substantial delay in access to the court is detrimental. Litigants who might not otherwise have considered mediation will be more receptive to the suggestion as a viable alternative to delay of uncertain duration.

Technology and Safe Practices

Technology platforms allow SKO trained mediators in Kentucky and Indiana to provide mediation services to assist these litigants. The firm’s IT specialists provide access and information to facilitate use of these platforms. Kelly Lonnberg and Eileen O’Brien are available to address family law matters; Perry Bentley, Greg King and Tom Williams are available to address civil actions in both state and federal courts. These attorneys are available for questions or scheduling:

Kelly Lonnberg, kelly.lonnberg@skofirm.com, 812.452.3505

Eileen O’Brien, eileen.obrien@skofirm.com, 859.231.3057

Perry Bentley, perry.bentley@skofirm.com, 859.231.3039

Greg King, greg.king@skofirm.com, 502.560.4284

Tom Williams, tom.williams@skofirm.com, 502.560.4279

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Stoll Keenon Ogden understands that these are trying times for our clients and our country. Our firm operations have continued uninterrupted and our attorneys are equipped to serve as we always have – for more than 120 years.

Our firm’s Family Law practice can provide the legal assistance necessary for individuals and families in transition to be protected for the present and the future in a manner that is compassionate, efficient and cost effective.

Please also be sure to consult the Stoll Keenon Ogden Coronavirus Resource webpage for additional articles and information related to the latest information on new laws and directives enacted by federal, state, and local governments in response to the Coronavirus pandemic.