Introduced Version, Senate Bill 0174: Increases the Marion County small claims jurisdiction from $6,000 to $12,000 in contract claims except for landlord-tenant contracts.
Those dollar amounts seem rather high for small claims rules of evidence and procedure to apply. Maybe they work things differently in Marion County, but the small claims courts I practice in are pretty loose in terms of evidence and you don’t have much of a chance to flesh out the case prior to trial. That is entirely appropriate for claims that are, in fact, small. But, I’d be awfully mad if I lost a $10,000 case because of a legal theory raised at the last minute I hadn’t had time to research or because of hearsay evidence I was unable to rebut because I had no idea it was coming. On the other hand, I guess a Defendant can always get the case bumped up to the plenary docket if he or she is willing to pay the extra filing fee and acts quickly enough. And, the risk probably isn’t as large in contract cases as it would be in tort claims. (Landlord-tenant cases are always a headache.)