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Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Ind. Courts - "Changes In Store For Marion County Small Claims Courts"

Norman Cox of WRTV 6 reported last evening in a story and video:

Circuit Court Judge Louis Rosenberg has proposed a series of countywide rules, including:
  • Standardized hours, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

  • Full or partial waiving of court fees for low-income people.

  • A requirement that all litigants be notified of their rights.

  • A free interpreter for people with hearing deficiencies or limited English.

  • Creation of easy-to-understand, standardized forms that would be available at all courts and on the Internet.
Rosenberg said the new forms will especially help people without lawyers.

"It should make it much easier for a defendant, an unrepresented defendant, to navigate their way," said Rosenberg. "They'll be able to get a motion for continuance, for example. They'll be able to get a motion, or a demand, for jury trial."

The new rules don't address venue shopping, in which attorneys for creditors try to stack all their cases in one court, hoping to gain more favorable rulings and often forcing defendants to travel long distances.

"Some debt collectors concentrate their filings in a particular township court," said Rosenberg. "And that can result in too close of a relationship, so to speak, with the township court."

However, Rosenberg has returned that issue to the Supreme Court, which he believes can better handle it.

Carrie Ritchie has a report in the Indianapolis Star. Some quotes:
The [Marion County Small Claims Task Force] suggested that the state legislature consider making the small claims courts part of the Marion Superior Court system, or at least making the judges full-time so they won’t be able to serve as attorneys on the side.

The new rules, which don’t require legislative changes, could alleviate some of the committee’s concerns.

The public can send written feedback to Marion Circuit Judge Louis Rosenberg at 200 E. Washington St., Indianapolis, 46204. Comments can be sent via email to Rosenberg’s clerk, Aida Ramirez, at aida.ramirez@indy.gov.

ILB: Here is the Marion County Circuit Court page on the Task Force. It includes a link to the proposed new local rules.

Earlier ILB coverage of the small claims court issues is here.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on September 5, 2012 10:14 AM
Posted to Indiana Courts