How One Court Handled New Case Types and Increased Caseload
July 03, 2019 by
Expanded Access to Justice in Ohio with Odyssey
The Ohio Court of Claims, located in the state’s capital city of Columbus, received statewide jurisdiction over public records requests in 2016. This new case type vastly increased the court’s caseload, which already included a full docket of civil judicial and administrative determination cases for the entire state. In addition, only one physical court location to handle increased volume posed practical problems.
To streamline court processes, improve efficiency, handle advanced reporting, and provide access to e-filing, the court replaced its legacy in-house system with Tyler’s Odyssey solution. The solution included integrated case management, e-filing, and mediation/dispute resolution systems.
“What drove us to Odyssey is the fact that we needed a more capable system and a system that had flexibility, including the e-filing capability that it had now and what it would be able to do in the future,” said Clerk of the Court, Anderson M. Renick.
With residents filing cases from 88 counties, e-filing was a priority. In fact, it was a key strategy to handling the increased caseload and, as such, was implemented first, ahead of the case management system, in an innovative twist on implementation.
Instead of mailing documents or having to appear in person, residents can now generate and complete court forms and file civil cases online through a customized, guided system. Online dispute resolution will give residents 24/7 access to justice through online mediation of the growing number of public records cases.
With this new functionality, administrative determination claims rose by 78.5% from 2017 to 2018. These cases seek less than $10,000 in resolution and require no judge, attorney, or hearing. A good example is in pothole claims against the state. With a harsh winter in 2018, pothole claims rose by 201.6%. Previously, the court would have shifted staff to assist with increased volume, draining resources from other service areas. With Odyssey in place, the court managed the increase with no additional staff, and without falling behind and incurring a backlog.
Modern Process and Future Growth
With the implementation of Odyssey and the debut of e-filing, the Ohio Court of Claims created the streamlined, modern court processes it had envisioned when it wanted to improve access to justice for Ohio’s residents. The court successfully handled adding a new case type and dealing with an 50% caseload increase while providing an easier way for citizens to file and achieve case resolution.
In the future, the court hopes to add Tyler’s Socrata® solution to provide data that will help it achieve better decision making and further improve processes for its staff and Ohio residents.