As volunteer mediator for the Mediation Center of the Pacific in Honolulu, Hawaii, I have mediated over 400 cases in small claims courts. Some of those cases show how creative a mediated agreement can be.
For example, a few weeks ago I mediated a $2,800 car accident case which got settled with no money changing hands. During mediation, it turned out that the party who agreed to have caused a $2,800 damage to the other party's car could not afford to pay anything in cash (he was going through an expensive divorce). However, he also happened to be an experienced and fully licensed scuba diving instructor. As a result, he offered to provide a scuba diving training course to a number of people - family members or friends - chosen by the other party. Both parties shook hands - deal. And when 15 minutes later the judge read the parties' settlement agreement in the courtroom, he seemed as pleased with it as the parties themselves.
If you are a small claims court mediator and have similar stories to tell, please let me know - http://goo.gl/g9AHY
I believe that sharing those stories -- with a short article or a 15-min video interview which we'll post on our website VirtualMediationLab.com -- could be useful not only to other mediators but also to the public, to understand better the several benefits of mediation in small claims court.