Monday, February 27, 2012

Task Force Studying Operations of Marion County Small Claims Court to Meet in Pike Township

The task force appointed by the Indiana Supreme Court to study changes to the Marion County township small claims courts is set to meet Wednesday, February 29th at Pike Township Small Claims Court, 5665 Lafayette Road at 6 pm.

I have written about the small claims courts on these pages before.  While there are a number of fine judges among the nine township small claims courts (which are not courts of record), the system has terrible incentives that favor plaintiffs' attorneys, in particular, collection attorneys.

The number one problem with the Marion County small claims courts is forum shopping.  With the exception of landlord-tenant cases, a plaintiff can file his or her case in any of the nine Marion County small claims courts  That practice allows plaintiffs to pick the small claims court that offers them the most advantages, not only in favorable rulings but also in assistance in prosecuting their cases.  Since the courts are financed entirely by filing fees, there is a built-in incentive to keep plaitniffs' attorneys happy so they will continue filing in the court instead of taking their business to another small claims courts.

The number one focus of the task force has to be stopping the practice of forum shopping needs to be stopped, primarily with the adoption of a rule that plaintiffs can only file collection cases in the township where the defendant lives, assuming the defendant is not a corporation or other business entity.    That would cure a lot of the problems with the small claims courts.

If you miss the Pike meeting, another one will be held at the Marion County Circuit Court on Wednesday March 7, 2012.


Irishking23 said...

I am glad that you are keeping the public informed.

Irishking23 said...

Paul, are you going to the meeting this evening in Pike Township to address some of the badly needed changes in Marion County Township Small Claims Courts? The debt collectors and judges turned out for the first meeting down in Perry Township.

Irishking23 said...

A complaint was just filed in United States District Court in Indianapolis addressing some of the many problems with debt collectors operating in the Township Small Claims Courts in Marion County.