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Posts Tagged ‘Small Claims Court’

Backside of the Small Claims form from the Madison County Courthouse

Has anyone ever read this and thought they should represent themselves?

1. If the Defendant does not dispute the Plaintiff’s claim, he or she may appear at the time set for the trial, confess judgment, and provide information as to how and when the judgment can be paid. Execution on the judgment shall be stayed automatically by the Court if the Defendant pays toward the judgment at least 15% of net take-home pay (calculated as gross pay minus taxes and social security).

2. A Trial will be held on the date listed on the front of this form unless rescheduled by the Court at that time. A continuance of the trial date will be granted only for good cause shown. Any request for a change of the trial date by either party should be directed to the Court Reporter.

3. Both Plaintiff and Defendant should have the cause number available and should refer to it when communicating with court personnel about the case. When reporting to court for any reason, including trial, both parties must bring all paperwork received from the Court plus any documents related to the Notice of Claim.

4. The Plaintiff and Defendant may represent themselves individually or be represented by attorneys. If Plaintiff or Defendant is a corporation, it must be represented by a lawyer on any claim of $1500.00 For Claims of $1500.00 or less, a corporation, partnership, or sole proprietorship may file with the Court a company resolution (for available at the court) designating a full-time employee as a representative for the business in court.

5. The Plaintiff and Defendant must bring to trial all documents and other available evidence that related to this claim. Witnesses who are unwilling to appear voluntarily may be subpoenaed into court for the trial.

6. By filing this claim on the small claims docket of the County Court, the Plaintiff no longer has a right to a trial by jury. The Defendant has ten (10) days from receipt of this notice to file an affidavit requesting a jury trial and to otherwise comply with the requirements of Indiana Code 33-30-5-5, or Defendant also loses the right to a trial by jury. If the request for a jury trial is granted, Defendant must within ten days tender a plenary transfer fee of Seventy dollars ($70.00). The grant of a jury trial may not be withdrawn without consent from all parties; the case will be transferred to the plenary (regular) docket and will lose its status as a small claim. All Formal rules of procedure and evidence are followed in cases on the plenary docket, and it is strongly advised that both Plaintiff and Defendant be represented by attorneys in such a situation.

7. If Defendant has any claim against the Plaintiff, he or she may contact the court and file a counter-claim. A counter-claim would be heard at the same time as the trial on Plaintiff’s claim. The counter-claim must be filed so as to give Plaintiff notice of it at least seven (7) calendar days prior to trial. If the counter-claim exceeds the $60,000 small claims limit, Defendant waives the excess by filing on the small claims docket.

8. A claim settled by out-of-court agreement may be disposed of in two ways: (1) Plaintiff may sign a form dismissing the claim if he or she is fully satisfied. (2) An Agreement that a judgment will be entered and paid in specific installments can be put in writing, signed by both sides, and submitted for the judge’s approval. If approved, the agreement will then become a judgment.

9. Court personnel are available to assist with questions about court procedures or filling our forms. Neither the employees nor the judge, however, are permitted to give legal advice (whether to file a claim, whom to file against, how much to sue for, etc.). An attorney should be consulted regarding legal questions.

10. FAILURE TO APPEAR. A Defendant who fails to appear for trial may have a default judgment entered against him or her at the request of the Plaintiff. Failure of the Plaintiff to appear for trial will usually result in dismissal of the claim and a judgment for Defendant if a counter-claim has been filed. An alternative to dismissing a case is assessing special costs against the non-appearing party. If a judgment is entered and the person owing the debt fails to obey a direct Court order to appear for further hearing, that person will usually be arrested for contempt of court.

11. If you have questions about court procedures or the first hearing that has been schedule in this case, you may call Superior Court 4 or 5. Please note the court of filing.

If you aren’t sure if you have a case worth taking to small claims court, come see us and get a special rate on small claims court work. Eviction proceedings and replevins might be more complicated than you previously thought. If you need a small claims court attorney, call a lawyer in Anderson at 765.649.9340.


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