Ashland (OH) Municipal Court
1209 East Main Street, P.O. Box 385, Ashland, OH 44805
Phone: (419) 289-8137 • Fax: (419) 289-8545
DISCLAIMER: The following is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to give legal advice, nor is it intended to be an exhaustive list of all legal and procedural matters and requirements for participating in a mediation conducted by the Ashland Municipal Court Alternative Dispute Resolution Service (ADRS). Court employees cannot give you legal advice. If you have any legal questions about your participation in a mediation in the Ashland Municipal Court Alternative Dispute Resolution Service (ADRS), then you should contact an attorney.
If you need help finding legal assistance or legal information, please contact the following organizations:
Ashland County Bar Association (external link): The Ashland County Bar Association's website lists all attorneys that are currently members of the Ashland County Bar Association, including office contact information and areas of practice.
Legal Aid of Western Ohio, Inc. (external link), (888) 534-1432: Legal Aid of Western Ohio, Inc. (LAWO) provides legal assistance in civil matters (i.e., matters involving housing; rights of spouses, parents, and children; healthcare and wills; Social Security and public benefits; bankruptcy and fair debt collection; and wages and benefits) to eligible low-income individuals and groups in Ashland County, Ohio.
Ashland County Law Library (external link), (419) 282-4219: The Ashland County Law Library provides legal reference services and information to the general public.
Mediation is a voluntary and informal process in which you and your counsel, as well as any other parties and their counsel, work with a trained and unbiased mediator to resolve your dispute without the necessity, expense, time, and stress of a trial. Unlike a judge or a jury, the mediator does not do any of the following: (1) determine or decide the facts of your dispute; (2) determine whether you are right or wrong; or (3) render a decision or force a settlement. The mediator's role is merely to facilitate meaningful discussions and negotiations between you and the other parties, with the ultimate goal being an agreeable resolution to your dispute.
Mediation provides a number of significant advantages over litigation, including:
You get to decide. Mediation provides a means by which you decide how your disputes will be resolved; any resolution is controlled by you, rather than by a judge or a jury.
Focus on needs and interests. Mediation examines the underlying causes of your conflicts and looks at what solutions best satisfy your needs and interests.
Personal understanding. At the mediation, you will be able to tell your story in your own way, while acknowledging the feelings and the emotions of your opposition. Additionally, you will discuss legal and personal issues with the mediator and your counsel in order to help you develop a better understanding of your case, your opponent's case, and the strengths and weaknesses of each.
Satisfaction. Due to your active involvement in the mediation process, you are more likely to be satisfied in the outcome than if you went to trial and had a judge or a jury decide your disputes for you.
Informal setting. Mediation is a less intimidating process than a trial. There are no rules of procedure that need to be followed, so you are able to speak freely in finding the best path to an agreement.
Faster. A mediated agreement may be obtained in a couple of hours, or in a series of phone conferences, email exchanges, and mediation sessions spread out over a couple of months. On the other hand, the litigation process (including the filing of a lawsuit, the discovery process, a trial, and any appeals) may be spread out over several years.
Less expensive. Given the length of time involved in the litigation process, litigation is expensive; the costs of preparing for a trial often exceed the benefits that you receive from it. Mediation is the opposite, with the benefits that you receive from mediation often exceeding the costs of it.
Continuing relationships. A lengthy trial can divide people and increase hostility; a mediation helps end your problem, but it does not destroy the relationship you have with your neighbor, business partner, or family member on the other end of your dispute.
Confidentiality and privacy. Unlike most court cases, which are matters of public record, most mediations are confidential.
With the cooperation of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Section of the Supreme Court of Ohio, the Ashland Municipal Court established the Alternative Dispute Resolution Service (ADRS) in March 2015, with the goal of providing cost-effective, efficient mediation services to the citizens of Ashland County, Ohio and the surrounding counties. Since that time, the ADRS has achieved that goal by successfully mediating more than 100 disputes, including lawsuits filed in the Common Pleas Courts of Ashland County, Richland County, Wayne County, Knox County, Crawford County, Marion County, Morrow County, Delaware County, and Lorain County.
Fred M. Oxley graduated from Miami (OH) University in 1970; he obtained a law degree from The Ohio State University College of Law, and began practicing law in Ashland County, Ohio and the surrounding area in 1973. His career in private practice spanned more than 40 years, with primary concentrations in personal injury, workplace injury, motor vehicle accident, commercial and residential construction, premises liability, probate, real estate, insurance, and medical malpractice law. Mr. Oxley has handled hundreds of lawsuits throughout Ohio through the mediation process, and he has tried more than 75 cases to jury verdict. He has served as Acting Judge and Magistrate in the Ashland Municipal Court for more than 20 years, handling a variety of criminal, traffic, and civil cases. Mr. Oxley has also served as the contract mediator in the Ashland County Common Pleas Court, as well as in several other Ohio courts. Due to his broad background in litigation and mediation, Mr. Oxley knows what you need when trying to settle a dispute.
Here is what mediation participants are saying about Mr. Oxley and their mediations conducted through the ADRS:
"Thank you very much for your assistance in moving this matter towards a resolution. I know that your efforts played a large role in setting the stage for this agreement, and [it was] very much appreciated by me and [the plaintiff]." - A plaintiff's attorney from Cleveland, OH
"[T]hank you for your efforts in this matter. You absolutely went well beyond the call of duty on this one." - A plaintiff's attorney from Mansfield, OH
"I enjoy your style of mediation and I know when I come [to the ADRS] to mediate a case, you will do everything in your power to make both sides see the positive aspects of settlement. I will continue to choose your forum for mediation. - A plaintiff's attorney from Mansfield, OH
"The hard work you put in[,] both before the day of the mediation and [in] the weeks after [the mediation,] were critical in the matter being resolved in the best interests of all. Please accept my sincere gratitude for everything that you did. - A plaintiff's attorney from Mansfield, OH
"Thanks, Fred! You're the best!" - A defendant's attorney from Cleveland, OH
"Thank you, Mr. Oxley. This case would not have settled without your expertise and skills as a mediator." - An insurance attorney from Columbus, OH
"[I]f only the other court systems in Ohio could just clone you...there'd be settlements galore, and no trials. You have been fantastic to work with and I look forward to seeing you again many times this year." - A company representative
All mediations conducted through the ADRS are conducted pursuant to the provisions contained in the Ohio Uniform Mediation Act (Ohio Revised Code Chapter 2710) and Local Rule 27 of the Ashland Municipal Court, and all parties must agree that their conduct and communications in the mediation are inadmissible in any civil evidentiary proceeding as set forth in Rule 408 of the Ohio Rules of Evidence. By conducting a mediation through the ADRS, you agree to be bound by these regulations.
The ADRS schedules mediations pursuant to referrals received from any Ohio court, or pursuant to the agreement of all parties to mediate, regardless of whether a lawsuit has been filed. If you would like to schedule a mediation with the ADRS, please contact the Mediation Administrator, who handles all scheduling and administrative matters. The ADRS most frequently schedules mediations on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Fridays, beginning at 10:00 AM, at the Ashland Municipal Court. However, the day, start time, and location of the mediation will ultimately be determined by Mr. Oxley's availability and the desires of all mediating parties. To view Mr. Oxley's availability for mediation for the next several months, please refer to the ADRS Availability Calendar. Dates and times marked "RESERVED" indicate that Mr. Oxley is not currently available for mediation on that date and at that time; all other dates and times are potentially available. Once you confirm a date and time with all other parties and their counsel, please confirm Mr. Oxley's availability with the Mediation Administrator.
Once you have set a date, time, and location for mediation through the Mediation Administrator, you will receive an email from the Mediation Administrator confirming the following information:
Date, time, and location for your mediation.
Amount of, number of hours covered by, and due date for your deposit, as well as the hourly rate for ADRS hours accumulated in excess of the amount covered by your deposit. The ADRS provides its mediation services pursuant to a flat fee arrangement. Each party must pay a deposit of $350.00 (e.g., a husband and wife, as co-plaintiffs in a lawsuit against a lone defendant that crashed into their car, need pay only one deposit to cover both co-plaintiffs; the defendant also need pay a separate deposit), by cash, check, or money order made payable to the "Ashland Municipal Court". In a typical mediation involving only two parties (a plaintiff and a defendant, regardless of whether the parties are represented by counsel), your deposit will cover five hours of administrative costs, mediation preparation, email communications, phone conferences, and mediation time. Any administrative costs, mediation preparation, email communications, phone conferences, and mediation time in excess of five hours will typically be invoiced at $175.00/hour, to be divided equally and paid separately by the parties or their attorneys within thirty (30) days of the invoice date. The amount of your deposit, the number of hours covered by your deposit, the due date for your deposit, and the hourly rate for ADRS hours accumulated in excess of the amount covered by your deposit will vary depending on the number of parties involved in, and the legal complexities of, your mediation. You must submit your deposit to the ADRS on the earlier of: (1) one month from the date that you receive the confirmation letter from the Mediation Administrator (if you scheduled your mediation several months in advance); or (2) the date of the mediation. The parties and their attorneys jointly assume responsibility for payment of all deposits and invoice balances due to the ADRS.
Due date for your mediation memorandum. Each party must submit a detailed mediation memorandum to the ADRS. You should submit your mediation memorandum to the ADRS as soon as possible, in order to give Mr. Oxley ample time to review it, but in any event, you must submit, by mail and/or email, your mediation memorandum to the ADRS no later than two weeks prior to your mediation date. Your mediation memorandum should contain the following information: (1) a summary of the facts of the case; (2) any monetary claims, any known defenses to those claims, and any previous attempts made to settle those claims; (3) any nonmonetary needs of the parties; (4) any legal issues, as well as any applicable law and its potential application to the case at hand; (5) a candid analysis of your opposition's factual and legal strengths; (6) copies of any Ohio Civ. R. 7 pleadings that you have filed in any originating court; (7) highlighted copies of any exhibits (i.e., contracts, medical records, expert reports, or photographs); and (8) any other documents or materials that you believe might be relevant to the Mr. Oxley's understanding of the case. You are strongly encouraged to share your mediation memorandum with your opposition; however, if there are any portions of your mediation memorandum that you would like to remain confidential, then please mark it as such and you may submit the confidential portion only to the ADRS.
Once Mr. Oxley reviews all memoranda and any accompanying documents, he will contact you to address any preliminary issues or questions that he may have about the information contained in your mediation memorandum. In the weeks leading up to the mediation, Mr. Oxley will likely contact you (via phone or email) several times to monitor any progress toward settlement of your dispute. Occasionally, a dispute will be settled through these communications alone; however, if you object to these individual communication sessions, please advise the ADRS immediately.
Approximately one week prior to your mediation, you will receive an email from the Mediation Administrator containing a lunch menu - a local caterer prepares boxed lunches for all participants present at the mediation for no additional fee. If you would like a lunch, please fill out and submit, by email or fax, your lunch menu to the Mediation Administrator no later than 24 hours prior to the mediation date and time (unless otherwise instructed by the Mediation Administrator), in order to provide ample time for the caterer to prepare all of the lunches. If you do not want a lunch, or if you have any special requests or dietary needs, please notify the Mediation Administrator. In addition to lunch, bottled water, soda, coffee, and snacks are available to all mediation participants.
On the date of your mediation, all parties necessary for a successful resolution to the dispute (e.g., the parties, their attorneys, insurance adjusters, subrogees, all who must have authority to settle) must be present at the mediation. If, at any time, you believe that you will not be able to attend a mediation at the originally scheduled date, time, and location, please advise the Mediation Administrator immediately. Please arrive at the mediation location approximately 15 minutes prior to the scheduled start of the mediation. Assuming your mediation is scheduled at the Ashland Municipal Court, you may park, or you may be dropped off, in our free main parking lot located in front of the Ashland Justice Facility. Upon entering the Court, you will be ushered about our facility by the Court's staff. Please follow their instructions closely. You will be escorted to either the civil courtroom, the jury room, or our spacious conference room; you will not be in the same room as your opposition, as Mr. Oxley prefers talking with each party separately. If you object to this mediation method, please advise the ADRS immediately.
Mr. Oxley does not set any time constraints on mediations, so you should anticipate spending most of the day mediating and attempting to resolve your case. Mediations can also involve a considerable amount of downtime, such as when the mediator is discussing issues with the opposing party. Please feel free to bring your phone, tablet, or laptop with you to use during such time.
Hopefully, your day spent mediating with the ADRS will result in a settlement of your dispute. If your dispute is not settled by the conclusion of your mediation, know that mediation is a process; it is not a one-time event. With your permission, Mr. Oxley will continue working to resolve your dispute, with email communications, phone conferences, or a second mediation session. If you would like to schedule a second mediation session, please contact the Mediation Administrator.