small claims

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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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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  1. Applause, applause, applause ..... but, is this duty to serve the constitutional order not much more incumbent upon the State, whose only aim is to be pure and unadulterated justice, than defense counsel, who is also charged with gaining a result for a client? I agree both are responsible, but it seems to me that the government attorneys bear a burden much heavier than defense counsel .... "“I note, much as we did in Mechling v. State, 16 N.E.3d 1015 (Ind. Ct. App. 2014), trans. denied, that the attorneys representing the State and the defendant are both officers of the court and have a responsibility to correct any obvious errors at the time they are committed."

  2. Do I have to hire an attorney to get co-guardianship of my brother? My father has guardianship and my older sister was his co-guardian until this Dec 2014 when she passed and my father was me to go on as the co-guardian, but funds are limit and we need to get this process taken care of quickly as our fathers health isn't the greatest. So please advise me if there is anyway to do this our self or if it requires a lawyer? Thank you

  3. I have been on this program while on parole from 2011-2013. No person should be forced mentally to share private details of their personal life with total strangers. Also giving permission for a mental therapist to report to your parole agent that your not participating in group therapy because you don't have the financial mean to be in the group therapy. I was personally singled out and sent back three times for not having money and also sent back within the six month when you aren't to be sent according to state law. I will work to het this INSOMM's removed from this state. I also had twelve or thirteen parole agents with a fifteen month period. Thanks for your time.

  4. Our nation produces very few jurists of the caliber of Justice DOUGLAS and his peers these days. Here is that great civil libertarian, who recognized government as both a blessing and, when corrupted by ideological interests, a curse: "Once the investigator has only the conscience of government as a guide, the conscience can become ‘ravenous,’ as Cromwell, bent on destroying Thomas More, said in Bolt, A Man For All Seasons (1960), p. 120. The First Amendment mirrors many episodes where men, harried and harassed by government, sought refuge in their conscience, as these lines of Thomas More show: ‘MORE: And when we stand before God, and you are sent to Paradise for doing according to your conscience, *575 and I am damned for not doing according to mine, will you come with me, for fellowship? ‘CRANMER: So those of us whose names are there are damned, Sir Thomas? ‘MORE: I don't know, Your Grace. I have no window to look into another man's conscience. I condemn no one. ‘CRANMER: Then the matter is capable of question? ‘MORE: Certainly. ‘CRANMER: But that you owe obedience to your King is not capable of question. So weigh a doubt against a certainty—and sign. ‘MORE: Some men think the Earth is round, others think it flat; it is a matter capable of question. But if it is flat, will the King's command make it round? And if it is round, will the King's command flatten it? No, I will not sign.’ Id., pp. 132—133. DOUGLAS THEN WROTE: Where government is the Big Brother,11 privacy gives way to surveillance. **909 But our commitment is otherwise. *576 By the First Amendment we have staked our security on freedom to promote a multiplicity of ideas, to associate at will with kindred spirits, and to defy governmental intrusion into these precincts" Gibson v. Florida Legislative Investigation Comm., 372 U.S. 539, 574-76, 83 S. Ct. 889, 908-09, 9 L. Ed. 2d 929 (1963) Mr. Justice DOUGLAS, concurring. I write: Happy Memorial Day to all -- God please bless our fallen who lived and died to preserve constitutional governance in our wonderful series of Republics. And God open the eyes of those government officials who denounce the constitutions of these Republics by arbitrary actions arising out capricious motives.

  5. From back in the day before secularism got a stranglehold on Hoosier jurists comes this great excerpt via Indiana federal court judge Allan Sharp, dedicated to those many Indiana government attorneys (with whom I have dealt) who count the law as a mere tool, an optional tool that is not to be used when political correctness compels a more acceptable result than merely following the path that the law directs: ALLEN SHARP, District Judge. I. In a scene following a visit by Henry VIII to the home of Sir Thomas More, playwriter Robert Bolt puts the following words into the mouths of his characters: Margaret: Father, that man's bad. MORE: There is no law against that. ROPER: There is! God's law! MORE: Then God can arrest him. ROPER: Sophistication upon sophistication! MORE: No, sheer simplicity. The law, Roper, the law. I know what's legal not what's right. And I'll stick to what's legal. ROPER: Then you set man's law above God's! MORE: No, far below; but let me draw your attention to a fact I'm not God. The currents and eddies of right and wrong, which you find such plain sailing, I can't navigate. I'm no voyager. But in the thickets of law, oh, there I'm a forester. I doubt if there's a man alive who could follow me there, thank God... ALICE: (Exasperated, pointing after Rich) While you talk, he's gone! MORE: And go he should, if he was the Devil himself, until he broke the law! ROPER: So now you'd give the Devil benefit of law! MORE: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil? ROPER: I'd cut down every law in England to do that! MORE: (Roused and excited) Oh? (Advances on Roper) And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you where would you hide, Roper, the laws being flat? (He leaves *1257 him) This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast man's laws, not God's and if you cut them down and you're just the man to do it d'you really think you would stand upright in the winds that would blow then? (Quietly) Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake. ROPER: I have long suspected this; this is the golden calf; the law's your god. MORE: (Wearily) Oh, Roper, you're a fool, God's my god... (Rather bitterly) But I find him rather too (Very bitterly) subtle... I don't know where he is nor what he wants. ROPER: My God wants service, to the end and unremitting; nothing else! MORE: (Dryly) Are you sure that's God! He sounds like Moloch. But indeed it may be God And whoever hunts for me, Roper, God or Devil, will find me hiding in the thickets of the law! And I'll hide my daughter with me! Not hoist her up the mainmast of your seagoing principles! They put about too nimbly! (Exit More. They all look after him). Pgs. 65-67, A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS A Play in Two Acts, Robert Bolt, Random House, New York, 1960. Linley E. Pearson, Atty. Gen. of Indiana, Indianapolis, for defendants. Childs v. Duckworth, 509 F. Supp. 1254, 1256 (N.D. Ind. 1981) aff'd, 705 F.2d 915 (7th Cir. 1983)

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