I wrote Dec. 13 about a new source for online dispute resolution, The Courthouse Steps. I later received a note from the company’s founder, Robert V. Kixmiller, saying that my description of the service’s operation was not quite on point.
With regard to how the service works, I wrote:
“Either party to a dispute registers and makes either a cash settlement offer or an offer to split and settle at the midpoint between the offers. The opposing party is sent an e-mail saying that an offer has been made, without disclosing its amount, and inviting a response. If the opposing party accepts the invitation, it makes an offer of its own. Software compares the offers and settles the case at the midpoint, if both parties agreed to a split, or for a cash amount if the two offers were within a range indicated as acceptable by the party that initiated the process. If neither result is reached, all offers remain confidential.”
Kixmiller offered the following two clarifications:
“1. The split that can be agreed to is a split between the latest ‘offline’ offers of the parties, not a split between offers they make at the website. 2. The cash offers made at the website do not result in an automatic settlement if they are within the indicated acceptable range — they are merely disclosed as binding offers in that instance.”
My apologies for any confusion I may have caused.