Small Claims Proceedings / Process

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  #1  
Old 10-10-16, 06:17 AM
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Small Claims Proceedings / Process

Hi everyone.

I filed a Small Claims case against a mechanic shop that did bad work on a utility trailer, which I ended up having to take elsewhere to get the work redone.

I live in Fort Dodge Iowa. I just recently moved here. I lived in Boone Iowa, when the work was done by a Boone Iowa shop. Here, were required to go through.....

State of Iowa Official Judicial Branch Website and use the online electronic filing process. Or eFile (EDMS)

I've gone through this process. The shop has been served with the small claims paperwork, and now I've been waiting over three months to get a court date set. I've contacted the clerk of court here in my county in Fort Dodge Iowa, and they tell me it's being held up by the courts in Boone county Iowa. I've made a personal appearance at the clerk of court in Boone county Iowa, and was told that they know nothing about the court case number, that there court case numbers haven't even reached the case number given to me by the Fort Dodge Iowa court system.

I was living in Boone county when the work was done by the Boone county shop. The shop denied the claim, and denied the venue, or where the claim was filed. Basically requesting the case be moved to Boone county Iowa.

I'm going to make a personal appearance at the clerk of courts here in Fort Dodge Iowa today, but I don't expect to get any farther with them. I'm getting the run around by the court system on this matter, and the system isn't doing anything for me to get this matter in motion.

I thought Small Claims court was intended for the small claims suits, that didn't require the services of an attorney. I'm starting to think that this matter is going to end up requiring me to hire one.

Before I do that, I thought I would come here first, to see what advice I might get before hand.

Thanks for your time !!

Ron
 
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  #2  
Old 10-10-16, 12:32 PM
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Let me first preface by stating that I am not a lawyer I was a landlord until recently and I have had the services of a lawyer who did take one of our cases to small claims court. We could have probably done without a lawyer but my mom is up in age so we decided that it was best to have him handle the case.

Based on my limited knowledge of the court system and just from the basics that our lawyer told us it sounds like your case is in the wrong jurisdiction. Just because you are not using a lawyer doesn't mean that they are not using one and perhaps even one who is a family member. So I imagine that their lawyer whenever the case gets close just files a motion and says that traveling that far would be a hardship to his client. I instead would have your case moved back to where you lived and then present your case to the judge there.

If you are unsure of things though contact a lawyer for advice at least and then present your case. You want to make sure that you are fully prepared or the judge will dismiss the case in their favor. I wish you luck with your case.
 
  #3  
Old 10-10-16, 01:15 PM
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Not sure if you are getting the intentional run-a-round.....you are dealing with the government which isn't always fast or efficient. Are there any legal aid places in your state that could explain things to you. You could also try calling the college law school and see if they have law students that provide information concerning the workings of the small claims system.....change of venue, etc.
Make sure your mail is being forwarded to your new address.....if you don't respond to court documents you could lose.
 
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Old 10-10-16, 03:40 PM
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Small claims courts are STATE courts and each state will have their own rules on how they are run. These rules can be significantly different among several states but they are the same for all the courts within a particular state.

One thing to remember is that in many states the small claims courts have no mechanism for enforcing judgements. What that means is that you could win in small claims court but the shop could simply ignore the ruling without any further action possible from the court. In that case you would need to file suit in the first level general court, often called the Superior Court, (different in New York) because the Superior Court DOES have the power to enforce their judgements. Superior Court usually requires the services of an attorney to go through all the legal hoops and crannies as well as the costs for filing are significantly higher than with small claims.
 
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Old 10-10-16, 03:54 PM
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they know nothing about the court case number, that there court case numbers haven't even reached the case number
It sounds like you filed the paperwork online and it wasn't accepted for some reason. It seems strange you would be required to file paperwork for a law suit online only.
I would submit a new form/suit in person, or find out why you can't.

I'm a contractor, but have been sued in small claims. It was a fairly simple process.
In California, no lawyers are allowed in small claims.
 
  #6  
Old 10-10-16, 05:51 PM
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Iowa has gone to the online case filing system. They no longer allow it to be done in person at the court house like they used to in the past.

The paperwork that I filed had to be accepted, I would think, because I've paid the local sheriffs to serve the defendant with the paperwork, which has been done, and the defendant has filed his answer. All which is shown / visible online on the eFiling system.

Yea it sounds like I need to call an attorney to get some advice on this matter. I'll post back what I find out.

Thanks for the input !!

Ron
 
  #7  
Old 10-10-16, 10:28 PM
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I am glad you are going to consult an attorney and I do agree with Joel (furd) if you do win a judgement in small claims court they could just ignore the judgement. If you do go the lawyer route the whole way though and they do ignore the judgement then your lawyer could ask for a garnishment of wages that must be paid. If that is ignored assuming you win your case, then your lawyer can ask that a mark be placed on their credit report and it will stay there for 11 years. If they can't get credit then they may decide to pay up and have the mark removed.

I did the same thing with previous tenants and the law basically works the same way for most cases. Be sure to discuss what you see here with your lawyer who can best advise you about the laws in your state.
 
  #8  
Old 10-14-16, 03:39 AM
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Update....I again, contacted the courts here in my new home town of Fort Dodge IA, and discussed everything that has taken place, or not taken place....

The very next day, I was supplied the information with my court date and location. Since this was all done over the internet, I was not given an explanation for the delay in the process. They are going to have the court preceding's here in Fort Dodge, rather than in Boone, as I was expecting.

I've still have to contact a lawyer for some professional advice, before I go to court though.
 
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