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Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Ind. Courts - Marion County Small Claims Courts [Updated]

The Indiana Supreme Court has this morning released the July 2014 Final Report prepared by the National Center for State Courts on the Marion County small claims court. The Report recommends (see p. 23) that the small claims courts transition into a unified section within the Civil Division of the Superior Court.

The Report is located on this Courts webpage along with earlier reports and recommendations.

The ILB has a lengthy list of earlier posts on this topic, dating back to 2004. See particularly this July 14, 2014 ILB post, where the ILB asked some questions of an individual who is very well-attuned to Marion County politics, including:

ILB Q: Marion county legislators of both parties appear to be totally against reforming our small claims court system. That does not bode well for any change. Can you tell me why there is such total resistance to legislative change, including merging the 9 small claims courts into the county court system?
[Updated at 10:15 AM] The Indiana Courts have now released this announcement about the new report:
A national courts consultant recommends changes to the Marion County Small Claims Courts. The National Center for State Courts (NCSC) submitted a report to Indiana outlining the need to transition the small claims courts into a unified section within the civil division of the superior courts.

The NCSC report is the second report in recent years recommending changes to the structure of the small claims system. The report is available online at http://www.in.gov/judiciary/3844.htm. In May 2012, the Task Force on the Marion County Small Claims Courts made similar recommendations. Those study results can also be found online.

This NCSC study was prepared at the request of the Marion County Circuit Court and funded by a grant from the Indiana Supreme Court. Marion County Circuit Court Judge Louis Rosenberg stated that the NCSC report together with the earlier task force study detail a “reliable factual basis for identifying the shortcomings of the present system.”

The NCSC report:

· Provides a statistical profile of the small claims system with charts and tables featuring how the system is financed and how it manages caseload

· Details a principal inefficiency of the current system in mismatching of resources with caseloads

· Notes that local revenues from filing fees have not kept pace with court expenditures

Court of Appeals Judge John G. Baker, co-chair of the Task Force on the Marion County Small Claims Court, said, “every organization or group studying this matter has come to the same conclusion. The flexibility and responsiveness of the proposed changes will better serve all of the people in Marion County.”

Incorporating the township courts into a Small Claims Division of the Marion County Superior Court requires new legislation. The Supreme Court has submitted the NCSC report to leadership in the General Assembly along with the Supreme Court’s recommendations for implementation of reforms to the system.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on September 2, 2014 09:51 AM
Posted to Indiana Courts