Fast forward 15 years and an H & H attorney picks up the judgment. The attorney knows the man's wages had been garnished in 1995 but he doesn't know if the bill had been paid. So he files for a second proceeding supplemental in a Marion County Small Claims Court to collect on the original amount. Even though Health & Hospital has no evidence regarding the current balance of the judgment or whether it had been paid off with the 1995 garnishment, a new garnishment on the original amount is entered by the court. This time, with additional post-judgment interest, the amount is close to $500.
People need to be very aware of the tactics of collection attorneys, especially in this age when attorneys are desperate for work and will do almost anything to pay their bills. Collection attorneys will find old judgments and go after debtors, regardless of whether the debt is legitimate or not. Fifteen year or so later, most people don't have the records to prove certain bills or judgments have been paid. While the burden should be on the creditor to prove the case, very often in Marion County Small Claims Courts this evidentiary burden is not as strictly enforced as it is in a county circuit or superior court.
Another problem is created by the fact that collection attorneys can choose which Marion County Small Claims Court they file in and the courts (and townships) make money off of those filing fees. It doesn't matter where the plaintiff or defendant lives or where the debt was incurred...an attorney can file any non-real estate collection matter in any Marion County Small Claims Court. As a result, collection attorneys get their "favorite" courts to file their cases in. A far too cozy relationship often develops between the court and the collection attorney that many defendants and attorneys find inappropriate. Some small claims courts provide those collection attorneys offices to meet with defendants. I've heard of other small claims courts where the collection attorney is allowed to set the court's calendar or will go behind the calendar to pull files.
As a side note, many years ago, I was looking at running for Pike Township Small Claims Court. I was told by the then Pike Trustee that, if I became Pike judge, I should almost always rule for the collection attorneys who file in Pike as their filings bring a lot of money into the township. He said I could occasionally rule for the defendant, but only rarely as we want to keep the collection attorneys happy and their money coming in the door. I was aghast at the suggestion.
A few years later, the Indiana Supreme Court amended the rules to require small claims actions involving real estate to be filed in the township in which the real estate is located. That ended forum shopping by apartment complex attorneys, which were a significant part of the Marion County Small Claims Courts' business. The Court though needs to go further and put a complete end to the forum shopping by collection attorneys in Marion County. Justice is not well served by the current system where collection attornesy can pick their Small Claims Court.