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Best Disputes for Modria

Best Disputes for Modria

What kinds of disputes are best suited to MODRIA in its current form?



Full Transcript

We’ve had a lot of success dealing with tax appeals in the United States, we’re now the number one company for resolving property tax assessment appeals. So we do all of the property tax assessment appeals for Nashville and Atlanta and New Orleans and Gainesville, Florida and Durham, North Carolina and Vancouver, B.C. So it turns out that’s a good transactional issue. You have an assessor and a tax payer that need to work out a dispute, our platform is a perfect fit with that.


But we also, as I mentioned, we’re experimenting with family disputes, we have a project with the Dutch Legal Aid Board. It turns out in the Netherlands, 75% of divorces are paid either fully or partially by the government. So we built an end to end divorce mediation platform called the Rechtwijzer, and we’re going to be launching that in British Columbia soon.


We’re doing debt cases, commercial debt where someone takes out a loan to expand their business and they can’t continue paying at that rate, so they want to renegotiate the loan.


As I mentioned, we’re doing AAA, we’re doing these insurance cases, which are medical insurance claims in the wake of a motor vehicle accident. But we’re also doing more traditional mediation, landlord-tenant. We’re working with New York State and Michigan to build their state-wide court-connected ADR case-management systems. So we do real estate disputes. I mean really the spectrum is absurdly broad. We work with telecommunications companies, we do product liability.


But I will say that, personally, when you ask what the best application of technology is, I agree with you, Aled. I think it’s high volume, lower value cases. If you’ve got a $10 million case, that’s enough money at stake to justify getting a lawyer, going to a court, having multiple hearings, having depositions.


I think the main utility area for ODR right now, is higher volume cases, lower value I would say less than, say, $25,000. But also cross-border, situations where it’s very complicated or expensive to get the parties together face to face, that’s a good fit with ODR. In the early days of ODR, we thought that emotional disputes, relationship disputes were not a good fit.


I remember back in 2000, 2001, 2002 saying, “I don’t want to deal with workplace harassment, I don’t want to deal with divorce cases.” But I think, actually, the culture has changed and the younger generation in particular almost prefers online interaction for some of these types of cases. So I’ve changed my tune a little bit on that. I think it’s very important to choose disputes where you can effectively enforce the outcome.


So I do have potential customers who come in sometimes and they want decisions, but they can’t enforce the outcomes, and I say, “Look, this is not a good fit with out solution. You need to be able to reach a decision either by mutual agreement or through evaluation. And you have to be able to make that decision matter in some way, make that stick.”


Those are some of the constraints that I think about when we target case volumes, to say, “Is this going to be a successful use of Modria?”

About the mediator

Colin Rule Profile Pic

Colin has worked in the dispute resolution field for more than two decades as a mediator, trainer, and consultant. From 2003 to 2011 he served as the first Director of Online Dispute Resolution for eBay and PayPal. Before eBay, Colin co-founded and ran Online Resolution, one of the first online dispute resolution (ODR) providers. Colin has worked at, the National Institute for Dispute Resolution (now ACR) in Washington, D.C., and the ... View Mediator