small claims

INBOX: Keep Marion County Small Claims out of Superior Court

October 8, 2014
A reader believes the rational solution to issues in Marion County Small Claims Courts is to keep the system as it is and not move it to Marion Superior Court.
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Marion County small claims reform faces hurdles in Legislature

September 10, 2014
Dave Stafford
The Indiana Supreme Court’s recommendation to merge Marion County’s nine township small claims courts with Marion Superior Court may be too bold for the Indiana General Assembly, a key senator said.
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Supreme Court recommends abolishing Marion County township courts

September 2, 2014
Dave Stafford
A report from the National Center for State Courts recommends the nine township small claims venues in Indianapolis transition into a unified section of Marion Superior Courts. The Indiana Supreme Court is asking lawmakers to abolish the current system and unify them with the Superior Courts’ Civil Division effective Jan. 1, 2016.
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Ruling may expedite demise of Marion County township venues

July 16, 2014
Dave Stafford
Marion County’s unique township small claims courts may be on the verge of extinction, hastened by a game-changing ruling this month by the full 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.
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Divided 7th Circuit revives Marion County Small Claims suit

July 3, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
More than eight months after Judge Richard Posner argued in a dissent that Newsom v. Friedman needs to be overruled, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals did just that in an en banc decision involving Marion County’s Township courts.
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Landlords timely delivered itemized damages notice to former tenants

June 26, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The date a tenant provides her forwarding address to her landlord triggers the 45-day period the landlord has to deliver the itemized damages to the tenant, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Thursday.
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General Assembly, Supreme Court ponder big changes for small claims

March 26, 2014
Dave Stafford
A national nonprofit organization has been tasked with a fresh study of Marion County’s troubled township small claims court system, while a bill that passed the General Assembly has implications for small claims courts around the state.
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Complaint for unpaid car loan filed outside of statute of limitations

March 20, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
Because a company seeking to recover unpaid installments on a car loan filed its complaint outside of the four-year statute of limitations, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the small claims judgment in favor of the car buyer.
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Small-claims hearsay letter properly admitted

March 11, 2014
Dave Stafford
A dentist’s letter that said a man suing him had never complained about the service he received was not improperly admitted in a small-claims collections action, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled.
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Marion County Small Claims bill may be headed for study committee

January 31, 2014
IL Staff
Legislation that would require Marion County Small Claims judges to select among themselves an administrative judge to carry out the duties currently performed by the Marion Circuit judge passed the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday. The committee also is asking for a study committee to look at Small Claims court administration.
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Bill proposes modest Marion County small claims reforms

January 27, 2014
Dave Stafford
Modest reforms to the derided Marion County township small claims courts are proposed in a bill scheduled to get a committee hearing Wednesday.
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7th Circuit splits over Marion County Small Claims debt collection suit

October 31, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
Are Marion County Township courts “judicial districts” under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, thus allowing a man to sue a debt collector for bringing an action in an inconvenient township court? Depends on who you ask on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, as the majority ruled in favor of the debt collector Thursday.
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Lawyer's report sounds latest alarm about Marion County Small Claims courts

August 14, 2013
Dave Stafford
Problems with Marion County’s Small Claims courts are by now well-documented. After the Wall Street Journal took note of forum shopping, creditors’ cozy relationships with some courts and other lax practices, Court of Appeals Judge John Baker and Senior Judge Betty Barteau issued a report advocating reform.
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Attorney’s report alleges trucking school small-claims abuses

July 26, 2013
Dave Stafford
An attorney’s report examining more than 7,700 lawsuits filed by an Indianapolis-based trucking school in just two Marion County township small-claims courts alleges systemic abuses that resulted in thousands of judgments against people who may never have stepped foot in the county or the state.
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Justices: Center Township Small Claims court stays put

June 28, 2013
Dave Stafford
What’s been called the state’s busiest court will stay in the City-County Building in Indianapolis, the Indiana Supreme Court ordered Friday, blocking the Center Township trustee’s bid to relocate the court to a location on Fall Creek Parkway.
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Judge tosses township jurisdiction challenge in collection cases

March 22, 2013
Dave Stafford
A federal judge has ruled that Marion County collections cases need not be filed in the township where a defendant lives or a contract was signed, a key ruling regarding a practice criticized as “forum shopping.”
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Separate notice argument not enough to vacate small claims judgment

March 8, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
A business’s argument that it should have been served with a separate notice of a small claims action was rejected by the Indiana Court of Appeals Friday.
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Judges uphold refund to pilot unhappy with plane rental’s service

February 28, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A man who prepaid into an account to be used when he rented planes to fly is entitled to a refund of $1,755.88 from a company offering flight instruction and rentals, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled. The judges rejected the company’s claims that the small claims court erred by ruling in the pilot’s favor.
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Will small claims court stay or will it go?

February 27, 2013
Dave Stafford
Marion County's busiest docket is at the center of a judge-trustee tug-of-war over location.
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Attorney: Marion County small claims 'forum shopping' problems persist

February 27, 2013
Dave Stafford
A Chicago attorney who has filed at least six federal class-action lawsuits alleging collections companies engaged in “forum shopping” in Marion County Small Claims Courts said the practice appears to be continuing despite township court reforms announced last year.
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Judge: More small claims reforms pursued

September 4, 2012
Dave Stafford
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.
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3 task force proposals address issues in Marion County Small Claims courts

May 1, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The Marion County Small Claims Task Force created by the Indiana Supreme Court has released its report outlining its investigation into problems within the county’s small claims courts. The report proposes three ways to address the problems, including incorporating the small claims courts into Marion Superior Court.
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Landlord sent itemized letter on time

May 4, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed judgment in favor of a tenant in a security deposit dispute, ruling that the landlord did deliver an itemized damages letter within statutory deadlines.
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High court takes 4 cases

March 15, 2011
IL Staff
The Indiana Supreme Court has granted transfer to four cases, including two dealing with whether a trial court should assert exemptions in garnishment actions on behalf of pro se debtors.
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Judge grants attorney summary judgment in collections suit

November 1, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
A federal judge ruled in favor of an Indianapolis attorney involved in a class-action suit alleging he violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. The judge granted summary judgment to the attorney after finding the class representative fell outside the class definition.
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  1. My daughter was taken from my home at the end of June/2014. I said I would sign the safety plan but my husband would not. My husband said he would leave the house so my daughter could stay with me but the case worker said no her mind is made up she is taking my daughter. My daughter went to a friends and then the friend filed a restraining order which she was told by dcs if she did not then they would take my daughter away from her. The restraining order was not in effect until we were to go to court. Eventually it was dropped but for 2 months DCS refused to allow me to have any contact and was using the restraining order as the reason but it was not in effect. This was Dcs violating my rights. Please help me I don't have the money for an attorney. Can anyone take this case Pro Bono?

  2. If justice is not found in a court room, it's time to clean house!!! Even judges are accountable to a higher Judge!!!

  3. The small claims system, based on my recent and current usage of it, is not exactly a shining example of justice prevailing. The system appears slow and clunky and people involved seem uninterested in actually serving justice within a reasonable time frame. Any improvement in accountability and performance would gain a vote from me. Speaking of voting, what do the people know about judges and justice from the bench perspective. I think they have a tendency to "vote" for judges based on party affiliation or name coolness factor (like Stoner, for example!). I don't know what to do in my current situation other than grin and bear it, but my case is an example of things working neither smoothly, effectively nor expeditiously. After this experience I'd pay more to have the higher courts hear the case -- if I had the money. Oh the conundrum.

  4. My dear Smith, I was beginning to fear, from your absense, that some Obrien of the Nanny State had you in Room 101. So glad to see you back and speaking truth to power, old chum.

  5. here is one from Reason magazine. these are not my words, but they are legitimate concerns. http://reason.com/blog/2010/03/03/fearmongering-at-the-splc quote: "The Southern Poverty Law Center, which would paint a box of Wheaties as an extremist threat if it thought that would help it raise funds, has issued a new "intelligence report" announcing that "an astonishing 363 new Patriot groups appeared in 2009, with the totals going from 149 groups (including 42 militias) to 512 (127 of them militias) -- a 244% jump." To illustrate how dangerous these groups are, the Center cites some recent arrests of right-wing figures for planning or carrying out violent attacks. But it doesn't demonstrate that any of the arrestees were a part of the Patriot milieu, and indeed it includes some cases involving racist skinheads, who are another movement entirely. As far as the SPLC is concerned, though, skinheads and Birchers and Glenn Beck fans are all tied together in one big ball of scary. The group delights in finding tenuous ties between the tendencies it tracks, then describing its discoveries in as ominous a tone as possible." --- I wonder if all the republicans that belong to the ISBA would like to know who and why this outfit was called upon to receive such accolades. I remember when they were off calling Trent Lott a bigot too. Preposterous that this man was brought to an overwhelmingly republican state to speak. This is a nakedly partisan institution and it was a seriously bad choice.

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