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Montco Bar Reconstitutes ADR Program to Address Longstanding Personal Injury Cases

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At the request of the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas, the Montgomery Bar Association has reconstituted the former Davenport Dispute Resolution Center into the new Alternative Dispute Resolution Program.  Hearings will now be conducted at the newly constituted Center for Mediation and Arbitration, focusing on cases in which the praecipes for trial readiness have not yet been filed. 

While the new ADR program is entirely voluntary, both bar association officials and the Center's arbitrators believe it will provide considerable assistance with reducing the court's pre-praecipe inventory, particularly with regard to personal injury cases that have been lingering on the docket.  While the bar association has expressed interest in handling other civil cases aside from personal injury, notable results have already been observed, with the amount of trial ready civil cases reduced by as much forty five percent in 2012.  

According to bar association officials, the Center for Mediation and Arbitration will seek to continue these results by working more closely with insurance carriers to bring cases into mediation.  In addition, because many of the ADR panel members are "business leaders" in mediation and arbitration in Montgomery County, they are familiar with local jury pools and are aptly equipped to address the difference in value often attributed to Montgomery County cases, particularly as compared to those in Philadelphia County.  Finally, while the Center has increased the rates that the arbitrators charge though the bar association's imprimatur, the Center's arbitrators believe that its expenses are still cost-effective as opposed to other ADR programs.   

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