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Monday, September 26, 2005

Ind. Courts - State increases cap on small claims suits

"State increases cap on small claims suits" was the headline to this story Saturday in the Madison Courier. Some quotes:

For 29 years, people filing claims in small claims courts in Indiana could seek only a maximum of $3,000 in each claim. A lawsuit for any greater amount of money had to be filed in circuit or superior court.

Now that has changed. The Indiana legislature this year doubled the amount permitted in each small claim to $6,000. But there is a catch: The filing fee, which previously was $35 for each claim, has been increased to $70. In addition, there is a $10 charge tacked onto that fee for each additional person named as a defendant in a small claim. For example, if there are two defendants, the fee will be $80.

Small claims courts handle legal disputes in which limited money settlements are sought, or where one person seeks a court mandate for another person or entity to take some kind of action.

Jefferson Superior Court Judge Fred Hoying has been in charge of this county’s small claims court since small claims courts began in Indiana on Jan. 1, 1976.

“I’m pretty sure the $3,000 limit had been in effect since the start of Indiana’s small claims court system,” Hoying said. The doubling of the amount of money a person can seek in a small claim is thus an updating to catch up with inflation. * * *

“The higher fees are meant to help cover the administrative costs, of which the sheriff’s fee is the big one,” Hoying said.

But he said the higher filing fees also will help to pay for salary raises judges received in Indiana this year, plus some other court expenses.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on September 26, 2005 06:08 AM
Posted to Indiana Courts