ILNews

Judge: More small claims reforms pursued

Dave Stafford
September 4, 2012
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More reforms that could address “forum shopping” in Marion County Small Claims courts will be undertaken this month, the judge presiding over a review of township court operations said.

Marion Circuit Judge Louis Rosenberg made the announcement Tuesday at a news conference that also opened the 30-day public comment period for new rules for Marion County Small Claims courts. Proposed rules are expected to be posted Tuesday at www.in.gov/judiciary/supreme/ and www.indy.gov under the Circuit Court link, and comments may be made through Oct. 5. The new rules will be adopted, modified or rejected by Oct. 12. If adopted, the proposed rules will take effect Jan. 1.

Those proposed rules don’t address the practice of large filers concentrating in particular township courts, but Rosenberg said discussions on how to address forum shopping would begin Sept. 19 with the rules committee of the Indiana Supreme Court.

“I view this as kind of a coordinated effort with the Supreme Court,” he said.

Rosenberg said the rules would bring uniformity to the nine township courts, standardizing hours, forms, filing fees and notice of the rights of litigants, particularly those representing themselves. The rules also would require, among other things, that court staff wear identifiers, that all parties to a lawsuit have equal access to court case files, and that township judges not be allowed to practice in other township courts.

The rules were developed by an advisory committee formed after Court of Appeals Judge John Baker and Senior Judge Betty Barteau issued a report that recommended an overhaul in the way the courts were structured and reforms in the way they did business. The study and report followed a Wall Street Journal article citing practices in the township courts.

Rosenberg said the proposed rules would go a long way toward improving the credibility of the small claims courts as a fair forum.

“It’s a good first step in the right direction,” said Christine Hayes Hickey of Rubin & Levin P.C., who served on the Small Claims Rules Advisory Committee.

Comments on the proposed rules may be emailed to aida.ramirez@indy.gov with the subject line “Public comment on local rules.”




 

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  1. I just wanted to point out that Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner, Senator Feinstein, former Senate majority leader Bill Frist, and former attorney general John Ashcroft are responsible for this rubbish. We need to keep a eye on these corrupt, arrogant, and incompetent fools.

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  3. I wonder if the USSR had electronic voting machines that changed the ballot after it was cast? Oh well, at least we have a free media serving as vicious watchdog and exposing all of the rot in the system! (Insert rimshot)

  4. Jose, you are assuming those in power do not wish to be totalitarian. My experience has convinced me otherwise. Constitutionalists are nearly as rare as hens teeth among the powerbrokers "managing" us for The Glorious State. Oh, and your point is dead on, el correcta mundo. Keep the Founders’ (1791 & 1851) vision alive, my friend, even if most all others, and especially the ruling junta, chase only power and money (i.e. mammon)

  5. Hypocrisy in high places, absolute immunity handed out like Halloween treats (it is the stuff of which tyranny is made) and the belief that government agents are above the constitutions and cannot be held responsible for mere citizen is killing, perhaps has killed, The Republic. And yet those same power drunk statists just reel on down the hallway toward bureaucratic fascism.

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