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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. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  2. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

  3. I will agree with that as soon as law schools stop lying to prospective students about salaries and employment opportunities in the legal profession. There is no defense to the fraudulent numbers first year salaries they post to mislead people into going to law school.

  4. The sad thing is that no fish were thrown overboard The "greenhorn" who had never fished before those 5 days was interrogated for over 4 hours by 5 officers until his statement was illicited, "I don't want to go to prison....." The truth is that these fish were measured frozen off shore and thawed on shore. The FWC (state) officer did not know fish shrink, so the only reason that these fish could be bigger was a swap. There is no difference between a 19 1/2 fish or 19 3/4 fish, short fish is short fish, the ticket was written. In addition the FWC officer testified at trial, he does not measure fish in accordance with federal law. There was a document prepared by the FWC expert that said yes, fish shrink and if these had been measured correctly they averaged over 20 inches (offshore frozen). This was a smoke and mirror prosecution.

  5. I love this, Dave! Many congrats to you! We've come a long way from studying for the bar together! :)

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