New MI Resolve kiosks making small claims disputes easier for Berrien County residents

Published: Apr. 7, 2021 at 4:30 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 7, 2021 at 5:00 PM EDT
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BENTON HARBOR, Mich (WNDU) -Berrien County residents have a new way of settling small claims cases without going to court.

16 News Now tells us how MI Resolve kiosks work and how they remove barriers to justice.

The MI Resolve service is already something people can access online to settle small claims or other disputes without going to the courthouse.

The two new kiosks in Benton Harbor and Niles bridge the gap for those who are looking for a resolution but don’t have internet access.

The MI Resolve kiosk gives people in Berrien County their chance to participate in a dispute settlement for free without going to the courthouse.

“So rather than going to court and having a judge say, ‘this is how we’re going to resolve this,’ it’s your opportunity to be a part of deciding what that resolution will look like,” said Citizen Mediation Service director Jenny Miner.

The kiosks remove the barrier of needing a computer or internet to access the service many can get to from home.

Located at the Benton Harbor Public Library, the kiosk solves other issues people might face when planning a trip to the courthouse like finding transportation and child care.

“It removes issues like taking time off work. It removes issues like what am I going to do with my children while I’m in court. It takes those barriers out and allows you the opportunity to use your voice to solve the problem that you’re facing,” Miner said.

People can use the kiosk to settle a variety of small claims disputes including debt collection, personal injury claims, and breaches of contract and lease agreements.

US Congressman Fred Upton says this sets the stage for future efforts to make broadband accessible to everyone in Southwest Michigan.

“As I work now with this administration on an infrastructure package, I’m hoping I can help support broadband. I’m encouraged we’ll be a part of that, expanding it for all our communities. Whether they be in the urban areas or rural, we know where the shortfalls are and we have to work together,” Upton said.

This was made possible through a grant from the Upton Foundation and partnerships with the Ferry Street Resource Center and the Benton Harbor Public Library.

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