Small Claims

COA: Seller not liable for undisclosed septic system

June 23, 2016
Scott Roberts
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed judgment against a man who claimed fraud because he was not told the property he bought was connected to a septic system.
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'Abusive litigant' loses appeal for damages

May 23, 2016
Scott Roberts
The Indiana Court of Appeals denied a prolific litigant's attempt to get more than $30,000 in damages after he claimed a printer he purchased online for less than $75 did not work and then sued for thousands of dollars in damages.
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COA: Agreed judgment not appealable

April 7, 2016
Scott Roberts
The Indiana Court of Appeals said an agreed judgment is not appealable and reversed a Marion Superior Court decision that ruled in favor of a woman who prolonged judgment in the court so she wouldn’t have to pay $850 in medical bills and fees.
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Roommate’s liability in early exit from lease rightly decided

September 22, 2015
Dave Stafford
A woman who appealed a small claims court order against her former live-in boyfriend failed to convince the Indiana Court of Appeals that he owed her more money for moving out before their apartment lease was up.
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Despite rebuke, Court of Appeals tosses default judgment

July 6, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
A defendant who consistently failed to appear for scheduled hearings in small claims court gained a reprieve, but with an admonishment, from the Indiana Court of Appeals.
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Lawmakers pass Marion Co. small claims reforms

April 29, 2015
Dave Stafford
The General Assembly Wednesday afternoon passed modest reforms of the nine township small claims courts in Marion County, a far cry from recommendations of multiple judicial studies to restructure the courts.
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Landscaper’s attorney fails to explain fee

April 20, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
A landscaping company’s award for attorney fees has been sent back to small claims court for reconsideration after the business and the attorney failed to submit documentation supporting the fee amount.
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Center Township Small Claims Court makes move Supreme Court previously blocked

March 11, 2015
Dave Stafford
New Center Township Small Claims Court Judge Brenda Roper is holding court in a new Marion County location that the Indiana Supreme Court less than two years ago found had significant access-to-justice issues.
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Marion County small claims court bill passes Senate

February 25, 2015
Dave Stafford
A proposal that would leave the long-criticized Marion County township small claims courts intact with modest changes has cleared the Indiana Senate. The bill would raise the limit on disputes from the current $6,000 to $8,000.
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2014 Year in Review

December 31, 2014
IL Staff
This year could be described as a historic one for Indiana. The state's ban on gay marriage was overturned by the courts, and, for the first time, a woman was chosen as chief justice of the Indiana Supreme Court. In fact, women are leading most of the courts in Indiana. In 2014, we saw changes in the law schools, a new criminal code implemented, and attorneys in trouble with the court and the law. (Remember the attorney who doesn't like to wear socks?)
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COA: Man entitled to have attorney present at small claim hearing

November 21, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
Finding that a businessman who was confused as to whether he needed his attorney to appear in a small claims case was denied the basic right of representation, the Indiana Court of Appeals reversed the denial of his motion for a continuance.
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Ex-Center Township judge agrees to ban from bench

November 7, 2014
Dave Stafford
A former Marion County Small Claims Court judge has agreed to a lifetime ban from holding judicial office after allegations that she used her position to profit from a wedding business.
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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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  1. Indianapolis employers harassment among minorities AFRICAN Americans needs to be discussed the metro Indianapolis area is horrible when it comes to harassing African American employees especially in the local healthcare facilities. Racially profiling in the workplace is an major issue. Please make it better because I'm many civil rights leaders would come here and justify that Indiana is a state the WORKS only applies to Caucasian Americans especially in Hamilton county. Indiana targets African Americans in the workplace so when governor pence is trying to convince people to vote for him this would be awesome publicity for the Presidency Elections.

  2. Wishing Mary Willis only God's best, and superhuman strength, as she attempts to right a ship that too often strays far off course. May she never suffer this personal affect, as some do who attempt to change a broken system: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QojajMsd2nE

  3. Indiana's seatbelt law is not punishable as a crime. It is an infraction. Apparently some of our Circuit judges have deemed settled law inapplicable if it fails to fit their litmus test of political correctness. Extrapolating to redefine terms of behavior in a violation of immigration law to the entire body of criminal law leaves a smorgasbord of opportunity for judicial mischief.

  4. I wonder if $10 diversions for failure to wear seat belts are considered moral turpitude in federal immigration law like they are under Indiana law? Anyone know?

  5. What a fine article, thank you! I can testify firsthand and by detailed legal reports (at end of this note) as to the dire consequences of rejecting this truth from the fine article above: "The inclusion and expansion of this right [to jury] in Indiana’s Constitution is a clear reflection of our state’s intention to emphasize the importance of every Hoosier’s right to make their case in front of a jury of their peers." Over $20? Every Hoosier? Well then how about when your very vocation is on the line? How about instead of a jury of peers, one faces a bevy of political appointees, mini-czars, who care less about due process of the law than the real czars did? Instead of trial by jury, trial by ideological ordeal run by Orwellian agents? Well that is built into more than a few administrative law committees of the Ind S.Ct., and it is now being weaponized, as is revealed in articles posted at this ezine, to root out post moderns heresies like refusal to stand and pledge allegiance to all things politically correct. My career was burned at the stake for not so saluting, but I think I was just one of the early logs. Due, at least in part, to the removal of the jury from bar admission and bar discipline cases, many more fires will soon be lit. Perhaps one awaits you, dear heretic? Oh, at that Ind. article 12 plank about a remedy at law for every damage done ... ah, well, the founders evidently meant only for those damages done not by the government itself, rabid statists that they were. (Yes, that was sarcasm.) My written reports available here: Denied petition for cert (this time around): http://tinyurl.com/zdmawmw Denied petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): http://tinyurl.com/zcypybh Related, not written by me: Amicus brief: http://tinyurl.com/hvh7qgp

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