Silicon Valley company starts to take court disputes online
.................................
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Imagine working out a divorce without hiring an attorney 
or stepping into court or disputing the tax assessment on your home completely 
online.

A Silicon Valley company is starting to make both possibilities a reality with 
software that experts say represents the next wave of technology in which the 
law is turned into computer code that can solve legal battles without the need 
for a judge or attorney.

"We're not quite at the Google car stage in law, but there are no conceptual or 
technical barriers to what we're talking about," said Oliver Goodenough, 
director of the Center for Legal Innovation at Vermont Law School, referring to 
Google's self-driving car.

The computer programs, at least initially, have the ability to relieve 
overburdened courts of small claims cases, traffic fines and some family law 
matters. But Goodenough and other experts envision a future in which even more 
complicated disputes are resolved online, and they say San Jose, 
California-based Modria has gone far in developing software to realize that.

"There is a version of the future when computers get so good that we trust them 
to play this role in our society, and it lets us get justice to more people 
because it's cheaper and more transparent," said Colin Rule, Modria's 
co-founder.

Officials in Ohio are using Modria's software to resolve disputes over tax 
assessments and keep them out of court, and a New York-based arbitration 
association has deployed it to settle medical claims arising from certain types 
of car crashes.

In the Netherlands, Modria software is being used to guide people through their 
divorces.

The program walks couples through more than two dozen questions, including how 
they want to co-parent any children they have. It suggests values for spousal 
support and notes areas of agreement. A second module allows them to negotiate 
areas of disagreement. If they reach a resolution, they can print up divorce 
papers that are then reviewed by an attorney to make sure neither side is 
giving away too much before they are filed in court.

Hundreds of couples have gone through the system since it launched in February, 
said Larry Friedberg, Modria's chief marketing officer.

Modria's founders initially developed their software to help eBay and PayPal 
solve customer complaints about damaged goods or late deliveries without 
employing teams of customer service representatives. At eBay, Rule said his 
system was resolving 60 million disputes a year.

He co-founded Modria in 2011. Although the company's focus is on selling its 
technology to e-commerce businesses, Rule said he is passionate about deploying 
it to courts.

"I can build great tools that represent the cutting edge of technology and 
extend it into the legal sector where none of that expertise resides," he said.

A Michigan company, Court Innovations, is using similar technology to resolve 
traffic disputes. In four court districts in the state, people ticketed on 
suspicion of running a red light or speeding can go online and provide an 
explanation in hopes of getting the ticket thrown out or a lower fine. 
Prosecutors review the information and make a decision that can be transmitted 
electronically to the alleged scofflaw for acceptance or rejection, said MJ 
Cartwright, the company's CEO. The system has had more than 800 users so far, 
almost all of whom have resolved their cases online, she said.

"When you're online, there's a lot you don't know about that person such as 
their race and other things that can cloud the decision-making process," she 
said.

Technology such as Modria's can provide legal support to people and businesses 
that have written off lawyers and the court system as too expensive and tedious 
and would otherwise try to resolve their disputes on their own, said Larry 
Bridgesmith, a law professor at Vanderbilt Law School in Tennessee who focuses 
on dispute resolution strategies.

The American Bar Association recommended Bridgesmith as an expert on the 
subject.

The technology won't do away with attorneys, but it will require them to adapt, 
he said.

"If lawyers begin to understand that those are tools they can use to lower the 
costs of entry into the legal system ... they can get back in the business of 
serving clients who are presently not served," he said.

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_ONLINE_COURTS?SITE=FLINV


_______________________________________
http://www.okiebenz.com

To search list archives http://www.okiebenz.com/archive/

To Unsubscribe or change delivery options go to:
http://mail.okiebenz.com/mailman/listinfo/mercedes_okiebenz.com

Reply via email to