Some of the introduced bills for the 2015 session have been released and, true to form, Sen. Steele has the earliest releases. The first one is SB 2 concerning charges for certified mailings. Typically when a document is filed with the court and the Clerk is required to mail it by certified or registered mail, there is no additional cost to litigants. It’s paid for out of court costs. Indiana is really pretty cheap in this regard, it seems. Some of my collection clients have expressed some surprise at not having to pay much in the way of additional costs when going back to court trying to collect a judgment.
SB 2 would provide that, in the case of proceedings supplemental, a litigant who wanted to have the court mail a document by registered or certified mail would have to pay the costs of that mailing. (A proceeding supplemental is part of a court case that takes place after judgment is entered – typically a proceeding where a judgment creditor is trying to locate income or assets available to satisfy the judgment.) If it passed, this would most likely increase the use of the Sheriff to serve these documents. There is a one-time fee of, I believe, $13 that covers service by Sheriff.
As a side note, it’s been my experience that most (if not all) courts require a judgment plaintiff to serve the initial proceeding supplemental document on a judgment debtor by certified mail or sheriff’s service. As a practical matter, this makes sense if a judgment creditor is going to ask the court to issue a writ of body attachment if the defendant fails to appear. However, when I researched this years ago, I came to the conclusion that the trial rules don’t actually require it. The court obtained jurisdiction over the defendant in the underlying litigation, and the plaintiff should be able to serve the defendant in future matters by ordinary mail with a certificate of service. The defendant is required to (but very often doesn’t) keep the court advised of any changes of address.