small claims

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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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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  1. I need an experienced attorney to handle a breach of contract matter. Kindly respond for more details. Graham Young

  2. I thought the slurs were the least grave aspects of her misconduct, since they had nothing to do with her being on the bench. Why then do I suspect they were the focus? I find this a troubling trend. At least she was allowed to keep her law license.

  3. Section 6 of Article I of the Indiana Constitution is pretty clear and unequivocal: "Section 6. No money shall be drawn from the treasury for the benefit of any religious or theological institution."

  4. Video pen? Nice work, "JW"! Let this be a lesson and a caution to all disgruntled ex-spouses (or soon-to-be ex-spouses) . . . you may think that altercation is going to get you some satisfaction . . . it will not.

  5. First comment on this thread is a fitting final comment on this thread, as that the MCBA never answered Duncan's fine question, and now even Eric Holder agrees that the MCBA was in material error as to the facts: "I don't get it" from Duncan December 1, 2014 5:10 PM "The Grand Jury met for 25 days and heard 70 hours of testimony according to this article and they made a decision that no crime occurred. On what basis does the MCBA conclude that their decision was "unjust"? What special knowledge or evidence does the MCBA have that the Grand Jury hearing this matter was unaware of? The system that we as lawyers are sworn to uphold made a decision that there was insufficient proof that officer committed a crime. How can any of us say we know better what was right than the jury that actually heard all of the the evidence in this case."

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