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Appellate court dismisses small claims venue case

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The Indiana Court of Appeals has determined that a small claims venue question is not on the list of authorized interlocutory appeals, so it dismissed a case arising out of southern Indiana.

In Amy and Steven Cerajewski v. Erin and Robert Kieffner, No. 82A01-1109-SC-401, the appellate court dismissed an interlocutory appeal after the plaintiff-appellant’s didn’t get approval first from Vanderburgh Superior Magistrate Judge Sheila M. Corcoran to certify the small claims case for appeal.

Erin and Robert Kieffner bought a Posey County home in 2010 from Amy and Steven Cerajewski, and the Cerajewskis moved to Michigan. Later that year, the Kieffners filed a small claims action in Vanderburgh County, where Erin had lived. The claim alleged breach of contract and fraud resulting from the real estate transaction.

The Cerajewskis filed a motion to transfer venue based on Indiana Trial Rule 75, saying that Vanderburgh County wasn’t the preferred venue. The trial court set a trial date and took the venue question under advisement, but the issue wasn’t decided by that trial date and the Cerajewskis didn’t appear. The small claims court entered a default judgment, but later set that aside and continued to deny the request for venue change.

Without asking for certification for appeal, the Cerajewskis filed an interlocutory appeal based on Indiana Appellate Rule 14(A)(8), which allows for interlocutory appeals as a matter of right for actions involving Trial Rule 75. However, the appellate court found that Trial Rule 75 doesn’t apply to a small claims venue.  Specifically, that rule says venue is proper in a small claims court when one of the defendants resides or has a place of employment at the time of the complaint.

Since the Cerajewskis failed to have the small claims court certify their appeal, the appellate panel dismissed the case for lack of jurisdiction.

 

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  1. Looks like 2017 will be another notable year for these cases. I have a Grandson involved in a CHINS case that should never have been. He and the whole family are being held hostage by CPS and the 'current mood' of the CPS caseworker. If the parents disagree with a decision, they are penalized. I, along with other were posting on Jasper County Online News, but all were quickly warned to remove posts. I totally understand that some children need these services, but in this case, it was mistakes, covered by coorcement of father to sign papers, lies and cover-ups. The most astonishing thing was within 2 weeks of this child being placed with CPS, a private adoption agency was asking questions regarding child's family in the area. I believe a photo that was taken by CPS manager at the very onset during the CHINS co-ocerment and the intent was to make money. I have even been warned not to post or speak to anyone regarding this case. Parents have completed all requirements, met foster parents, get visitation 2 days a week, and still the next court date is all the way out till May 1, which gives them(CPS) plenty of to time make further demands (which I expect) No trust of these 'seasoned' case managers, as I have already learned too much about their dirty little tricks. If they discover that I have posted here, I expect they will not be happy and penalized parents again. Still a Hostage.

  2. They say it was a court error, however they fail to mention A.R. was on the run from the law and was hiding. Thus why she didn't receive anything from her public defender. Step mom is filing again for adoption of the two boys she has raised. A.R. is a criminal with a serious heroin addiction. She filed this appeal MORE than 30 days after the final decision was made from prison. Report all the facts not just some.

  3. Hysteria? Really Ben? Tell the young lady reported on in the link below that worrying about the sexualizing of our children is mere hysteria. Such thinking is common in the Royal Order of Jesters and other running sex vacays in Thailand or Brazil ... like Indy's Jared Fogle. Those tempted to call such concerns mere histronics need to think on this: http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/a-12-year-old-girl-live-streamed-her-suicide-it-took-two-weeks-for-facebook-to-take-the-video-down/ar-AAlT8ka?li=AA4ZnC&ocid=spartanntp

  4. This is happening so much. Even in 2016.2017. I hope the father sue for civil rights violation. I hope he sue as more are doing and even without a lawyer as pro-se, he got a good one here. God bless him.

  5. I whole-heartedly agree with Doug Church's comment, above. Indiana lawyers were especially fortunate to benefit from Tom Pyrz' leadership and foresight at a time when there has been unprecedented change in the legal profession. Consider how dramatically computer technology and its role in the practice of law have changed over the last 25 years. The impact of the great recession of 2008 dramatically changed the composition and structure of law firms across the country. Economic pressures altered what had long been a routine, robust annual recruitment process for law students and recent law school graduates. That has, in turn, impacted law school enrollment across the country, placing upward pressure on law school tuition. The internet continues to drive significant changes in the provision of legal services in both public and private sectors. The ISBA has worked to make quality legal representation accessible and affordable for all who need it and to raise general public understanding of Indiana laws and procedures. How difficult it would have been to tackle each of these issues without Tom's leadership. Tom has set the tone for positive change at the ISBA to meet the evolving practice needs of lawyers of all backgrounds and ages. He has led the organization with vision, patience, flexibility, commitment, thoughtfulness & even humor. He will, indeed, be a tough act to follow. Thank you, Tom, for all you've done and all the energy you've invested in making the ISBA an excellent, progressive, highly responsive, all-inclusive, respectful & respected professional association during his tenure there.

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