MWI District & Municipal Court Resource Page – Dorchester Municipal Court

Types of cases:

Small Claims & Summary Process

510 Washington Street
Dorchester, MA 02124


T: Take the Red Line (Ashmont) to Shawmut Station, exit station on left to Melville Ave, walk 5 minutes to courthouse on Washington Street, OR take the Orange Line to Ruggles station and then take Bus #23 to 55 Washington Street which is near the court.

Day/Time of Mediation:
Small Claims: Mondays at 9:00 AM
Summary Process: Thursdays at 9:00 AM

Key People at the Court

    • First Justice: James W. Coffey
    • Clerk Magistrate: Anthony S. Owens
    • Assistant Clerk Magistrates: John Clough, Valerie Caldwell


Please use the General Small Claims form as well as the Dorchester specific Summary Process Agreement Form


Parking for mediators is only available on the street and is limited to two hours. Parking is available in the court parking lot for court personnel only.


Small Claims: Once through security, stop by the clerk’s office on the first floor to find out where the Small Claims session is being held that day. The clerk running the Small Claims session will begin by informing the courtroom that mediation is available to those parties interested and will ask a representative from one of the mediation programs to give the courtroom their own explanation about mediation. Metropolitan Mediation Services (MMS) generally does this when they are in attendance but you may coordinate with them about MWI doing it instead. There are either two or three programs who attend the Small Claims sessions in Dorchester on a weekly basis and the cases are referred on a rotating basis. You may check in with MWI prior to attending court to find out who gets the first, second and/or third cases on the list or you may also coordinate with the program coordinator from MMS or UMass Boston at the beginning of the Small Claims session.

Summary Process: MWI is one of two programs and sometimes the only program there for Summary Process on Thursdays. For Summary Process cases go to the clerks office on the ground floor and ask where cases will be heard. Remember to have a copy of the Dorchester specific Summary Process form.


The mediators should identify a space for mediation prior to bringing the parties out of the courtroom. There are multiple spaces to use on the 1st and 2nd floors, but they are frequently occupied by other mediation groups or attorneys. Occasionally the jury room or daycare center is used. Conference rooms are taken on a first come, first served basis. If the parties do not elect mediation or are unable to reach an agreement, their file and the ADR form are returned to the Clerk Magistrate for a hearing.


Small Claims: Copies of the completed forms can be made at the clerk’s office, which is located on the first floor. Make sure to have a copied made for you to leave court with so that you can send it to MWI. Then, all completed paperwork and the file needs to be returned to the clerk who referred the case. Inform the clerk of the outcome.
Summary Process: After the mediation the parties should return to the court room. Mediators should make a photo copy of the paperwork for themselves but not for the parties. The judge will sign off on the Agreement and provide copies for the parties. Mediators can leave once the parties, and the docket, are returned to court.

For More Information

Please contact Vanessa Linsey at vlinsey@mwi.org or 617-895-4027.