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S1393................................................by JUDICIARY AND RULES MAGISTRATES - SMALL CLAIMS DEPARTMENT - Repeals, adds to and amends existing law to increase the monetary limit of civil actions which may be assigned to magistrates from three thousand dollars to four thousand dollars; to update the law governing proceedings in the Small Claims Department; to provide for service of process by mail; to require that the defendant file an answer to the claim and to provide for entry of a default judgment if an answer is not filed; to clarify procedures for small claims actions by or against governmental officials and agencies and business organizations; and to clarify the scope of participation by attorneys in small claims actions. 02/10 Senate intro - 1st rdg - to printing 02/11 Rpt prt - to Jud 02/21 Rpt out - rec d/p - to 2nd rdg 02/22 2nd rdg - to 3rd rdg 02/24 3rd rdg - PASSED - 30-0-5 AYES--Andreason, Boatright, Bunderson, Burtenshaw, Cameron, Crow, Darrington, Deide, Frasure, Geddes, Hawkins, Ingram, Ipsen, Keough, King-Barrutia, McLaughlin, Noh, Parry, Riggs, Risch, Sandy, Schroeder, Sorensen, Stegner, Stennett, Thorne, Walton, Wheeler, Whitworth, Williams NAYS--None Absent and excused--Danielson, Davis, Dunklin, Lee, Richardson Floor Sponsor - Frasure Title apvd - to House 02/25 House intro - 1st rdg - to Jud 03/28 Rpt out - rec d/p - to 2nd rdg 03/29 2nd rdg - to 3rd rdg 04/03 3rd rdg - PASSED - 66-0-4 AYES -- Alltus, Barraclough(Barraclough), Barrett, Bell, Bieter, Black, Boe, Bruneel, Callister, Campbell, Chase, Cheirrett, Cuddy, Denney, Ellsworth, Field(13), Field(20), Gagner, Geddes, Gould, Hadley, Hammond, Hansen(23), Hansen(29), Henbest, Hornbeck, Jaquet, Jones, Judd, Kellogg, Kempton, Kendell, Kunz, Lake, Linford, Loertscher(Loertscher), Marley, McKague, Meyer, Montgomery, Mortensen, Moss, Moyle, Pearce, Pischner, Pomeroy, Reynolds, Ridinger, Ringo, Robison, Sali, Schaefer, Sellman, Shepherd, Smith, Smylie, Stevenson, Stoicheff, Stone, Taylor, Tilman, Trail, Wheeler, Wood, Zimmermann, Mr Speaker NAYS -- None Absent and excused -- Clark, Crow, Deal, Mader Floor Sponsor - Clark Title apvd - to Senate 04/04 To enrol - rpt enrol - Pres signed 04/05 Sp signed 04/06 To Governor 04/12 Governor signed Session Law Chapter 250 Effective: 01/01/01
|||| LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF IDAHO |||| Fifty-fifth Legislature Second Regular Session - 2000 IN THE SENATE SENATE BILL NO. 1393 BY JUDICIARY AND RULES COMMITTEE 1 AN ACT 2 RELATING TO THE MAGISTRATE'S DIVISION OF THE DISTRICT COURT; AMENDING SECTION 3 1-2208, IDAHO CODE, TO INCREASE THE MONETARY LIMIT OF CIVIL PROCEEDINGS 4 WHICH MAY BE ASSIGNED TO MAGISTRATES AND TO MAKE TECHNICAL CORRECTIONS; 5 AMENDING SECTION 1-2210, IDAHO CODE, TO INCREASE THE MONETARY AMOUNT OF 6 CIVIL ACTIONS WHICH MAY BE REFERRED TO MAGISTRATES WHO ARE NOT ATTORNEYS 7 AND TO MAKE TECHNICAL CORRECTIONS; AMENDING SECTION 1-2301, IDAHO CODE, TO 8 INCREASE THE MONETARY AMOUNTS IN CASES WHICH COME UNDER THE JURISDICTION 9 OF THE SMALL CLAIMS DEPARTMENT OF THE MAGISTRATE'S DIVISION OF THE DIS- 10 TRICT COURT, TO PROVIDE FOR VENUE OF ACTIONS AND TO MAKE TECHNICAL CORREC- 11 TIONS; REPEALING SECTIONS 1-2303 AND 1-2304, IDAHO CODE; AMENDING CHAPTER 12 23, TITLE 1, IDAHO CODE, BY THE ADDITION OF A NEW SECTION 1-2303, IDAHO 13 CODE, TO PROVIDE FOR FILING A CLAIM, TO PROVIDE FOR INSTRUCTIONS TO THE 14 DEFENDANT, TO PROVIDE FOR FILING OF AN ANSWER BY THE DEFENDANT AND DEFAULT 15 JUDGMENT IF NO ANSWER IS FILED AND TO PROVIDE A FEE; AMENDING CHAPTER 23, 16 TITLE 1, IDAHO CODE, BY THE ADDITION OF A NEW SECTION 1-2304, IDAHO CODE, 17 TO PROVIDE FOR SERVICE OF PROCESS, SERVICE BY MAIL AND SERVICE COSTS 18 RECOVERABLE BY THE PLAINTIFF; AMENDING SECTION 1-2305, IDAHO CODE, TO PRO- 19 VIDE PROPER NOMENCLATURE AND TO MAKE TECHNICAL CORRECTIONS; REPEALING SEC- 20 TIONS 1-2306 AND 1-2307, IDAHO CODE; AMENDING CHAPTER 23, TITLE 1, IDAHO 21 CODE, BY THE ADDITION OF A NEW SECTION 1-2306, IDAHO CODE, TO PROVIDE FOR 22 ACTIONS BY OR AGAINST STATE OR LOCAL GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS OR AGENCIES; 23 AMENDING SECTION 1-2308, IDAHO CODE, TO REDESIGNATE THE SECTION, TO PRO- 24 HIBIT APPEARANCES IN SMALL CLAIMS COURT BY ATTORNEYS AT LAW ON BEHALF OF 25 PARTIES TO THE ACTION, TO PROVIDE FOR LEGAL ASSISTANCE TO PARTIES, TO PRO- 26 VIDE FOR REPRESENTATION OF BUSINESS ORGANIZATIONS AND TO PROVIDE FOR 27 ACTIONS BY AN ASSIGNEE OF A DEBT OR CLAIM; AMENDING SECTION 1-2313, IDAHO 28 CODE, TO MAKE TECHNICAL CORRECTIONS; AMENDING SECTION 39-6316, IDAHO CODE, 29 TO CHANGE A REFERENCE REGARDING THE MONETARY AMOUNTS FOR CASES THAT COME 30 UNDER THE JURISDICTION OF THE SMALL CLAIMS DEPARTMENT OF THE MAGISTRATE'S 31 DIVISION OF THE DISTRICT COURT AND TO MAKE A TECHNICAL CORRECTION; AND 32 PROVIDING APPLICATION. 33 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Idaho: 34 SECTION 1. That Section 1-2208, Idaho Code, be, and the same is hereby 35 amended to read as follows: 36 1-2208. ASSIGNMENT OF CASES TO MAGISTRATES. Subject to rules promulgated 37 by the Ssupreme Ccourt, the administrative judge in each judicial district or 38 any district judge in the district designated by him may assign to magis- 39 trates, severally, or by designation of office, or by class or category of 40 cases, or in specific instances the following matters: 41 (1) Civil proceedings as follows: 42 (a) When the amount of money or damages or the value of personal property 43 claimed does not exceed threefour thousand dollars ($ 34,000): 2 1 ( 1i) aActions for the recovery of money only arising on contracts 2 express or implied; actions for damages for injury to person, prop- 3 erty or reputation or for taking or detaining personal property, or 4 for fraud; 5 ( 2ii) aActions for rent and distress for rent; 6 ( 3iii) aActions for claim and delivery; 7 ( 4iv) pProceedings in attachment, garnishment, wage deductions for 8 the benefit of creditors, trial or right of personal property and 9 exemptions, and supplementary proceedings; 10 ( 5v) aActions arising under the laws for the incorporation of cit- 11 ies or counties or any ordinance passed in pursuance thereof; actions 12 for the confiscation or abatement of nuisances and the seizure, con- 13 demnation and forfeiture of personal property; proceedings in respect 14 of estrays and lost property; 15 ( 6vi) aActions to collect taxes. 16 (b) Proceedings in forcible entry, forcible detainer, and unlawful 17 detainer; and ,18 (c) Proceedings for the enforcement and foreclosure of common law and 19 statutory liens of not to exceed threefour thousand dollars ($ 34,000) on 20 real or personal property. 21 (2) Proceedings in the probate of wills and administration of estates of 22 decedents, minors and incompetents. 23 (3) The following criminal and quasi-criminal proceedings: 24 (a) Misdemeanor and quasi-criminal actions; 25 (b) Proceedings to prevent the commission of crimes; 26 (c) Proceedings pertaining to warrants for arrest or for searches and 27 seizures; and ,28 (d) Proceedings for the preliminary examination to determine probable 29 cause, commitment prior to trial or the release on bail of persons charged 30 with criminal offenses. 31 (4) Any juvenile proceedings except those within the scope of the provi- 32 sions of section 1-2210, Idaho Code. 33 (5) Proceedings under the Idaho traffic infractions act, chapter 15, 34 title 49, Idaho Code. 35 SECTION 2. That Section 1-2210, Idaho Code, be, and the same is hereby 36 amended to read as follows: 37 1-2210. ASSIGNMENTS RESTRICTED TO MAGISTRATES WHO ARE ATTORNEYS. The 38 Ssupreme Ccourt by rule may specify additional categories of matters assign- 39 able to magistrates, except that the following matters may not be assigned to 40 magistrates who are not attorneys: 41 ( a1) cCivil actions in which the amount of money or damages or the value 42 of property claimed exceeds threefour thousand dollars ($ 34,000), except as 43 otherwise authorized by this act; 44 ( b2) cCriminal proceedings in which the maximum authorized punishment 45 exceeds the punishment authorized for misdemeanors; 46 ( c3) aAll proceedings involving the custody of minors and all habeas cor- 47 pus proceedings; 48 ( d4) pProceedings for divorce, separate maintenance or annulment; and 49 ( e5) pProceedings in quo warranto, or for injunction, prohibition, manda- 50 mus, ne exeat, or appointment of a receiver. 51 SECTION 3. That Section 1-2301, Idaho Code, be, and the same is hereby 52 amended to read as follows: 3 1 1-2301. SMALL CLAIMS DEPARTMENT -- CREATION AND JURISDICTION-- SCOPE OF 2 CLAIMS -- VENUE. In every magistrate's division of the district court of this 3 state, the district court may create and organize a "Small Claims Department 4 of the Magistrate's Division," which shall have jurisdiction in cases for the 5 recovery of money where the amount of each claim does not exceed threefour 6 thousand dollars ($ 34,000), and in cases for the recovery of personal property 7 where the value of suchthe property does not exceed threefour thousand dol- 8 lars ($ 34,000); provided however, that the small claims department shall not 9 award punitive damages or damages for pain or suffering in any proceeding. Any 10 action brought in a small claims department of the magistrate's division shall 11 be brought in the magistrate's division encompassing eitherof the county 12 where theany defendant resides orunless at the time the action is filed all 13 of the defendants reside outside of the state of Idaho, in which case the 14 action shall be brought in the county where the cause of action arose. Either15 party to an actionA defendant may request a change of venue as provided by16 chapter 4, title 5, Idaho Codeif an action is brought in an improper county. 17 SECTION 4. That Sections 1-2303 and 1-2304, Idaho Code, be, and the same 18 are hereby repealed. 19 SECTION 5. That Chapter 23, Title 1, Idaho Code, be, and the same is 20 hereby amended by the addition thereto of a NEW SECTION, to be known and des- 21 ignated as Section 1-2303, Idaho Code, and to read as follows: 22 1-2303. FILING OF CLAIM -- DEFAULT. Upon filing a claim, the clerk shall 23 furnish to the plaintiff a form of answer and instructions to the defendant, 24 which, among other matters shall advise the defendant that if the defendant 25 desires to have a hearing on the matter, the defendant must sign, complete and 26 file the answer with the clerk. The instructions also shall notify the defend- 27 ant that if the defendant does not sign and file the answer within twenty (20) 28 days from the date of service on the defendant, judgment will be entered as 29 requested in the claim. 30 If no answer is filed within twenty (20) days, judgment may be entered by 31 the court as provided in Rule 55, I.R.C.P. If an answer is filed by the 32 defendant, the court shall set the matter for trial or mediation, by notice 33 mailed to each party. 34 The court shall collect in advance upon each claim the sum of seven dol- 35 lars ($7.00), which shall be in addition to the costs necessary to effect ser- 36 vice of the claim upon the defendant, and which shall be paid to the county 37 treasurer for deposit in the district court fund of the county. 38 SECTION 6. That Chapter 23, Title 1, Idaho Code, be, and the same is 39 hereby amended by the addition thereto of a NEW SECTION, to be known and des- 40 ignated as Section 1-2304, Idaho Code, and to read as follows: 41 1-2304. SERVICE OF PROCESS -- SERVICE BY MAIL. (1) A summons, copy of the 42 claim, form of answer and instructions to defendant shall be served upon the 43 defendant by personal service in the manner provided by law, or when a request 44 is made therefor by the plaintiff, service of process may be made upon the 45 defendant by mail, as herein provided. 46 (2) The plaintiff may request service upon the defendant by mail by 47 endorsing his request in writing upon the claim, which request shall include 48 the address to be used in mailing. The court shall mail to the defendant at 49 the address given in the endorsement a summons, copy of the claim, form of 50 answer and instructions to the defendant. Service of process by mail shall be 4 1 made by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, and shall be 2 complete upon the return of the receipt signed by the defendant to the court. 3 The signature of the defendant on the return receipt shall constitute prima 4 facie proof of service by mail. The plaintiff shall bear the cost of service 5 of process by mail. 6 (3) The costs to plaintiff for personal service of process on the 7 defendant, in addition to the filing fee provided in section 1-2303, Idaho 8 Code, shall be added to any judgment for the plaintiff. 9 SECTION 7. That Section 1-2305, Idaho Code, be, and the same is hereby 10 amended to read as follows: 11 1-2305. CONTENTS OF CLAIM. The claim hereinabove referred toshall con- 12 tain the name of the plaintiff and the name of the defendant, followed by a 13 statement, in brief and concise form, of the nature and amount of saidthe 14 claim and the time ofthe accruing of suchclaim accrued, and shall also state 15 the name and residenceaddress of the defendant, if same beknown to the 16 plaintiff , for the purpose of serving the notice of claim on such defendant. 17 SECTION 8. That Sections 1-2306 and 1-2307, Idaho Code, be, and the same 18 are hereby repealed. 19 SECTION 9. That Chapter 23, Title 1, Idaho Code, be, and the same is 20 hereby amended by the addition thereto of a NEW SECTION, to be known and des- 21 ignated as Section 1-2306, Idaho Code, and to read as follows: 22 1-2306. ACTIONS BY OR AGAINST STATE OR LOCAL GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS OR 23 AGENCIES. (1) Except as specifically provided in this subsection, the state of 24 Idaho, any state agency, any political subdivision of the state of Idaho, 25 city, county, taxing district, or public corporation, along with any official 26 and employee thereof acting within their official capacity may be a party 27 plaintiff or defendant in any small claims action otherwise allowed by law. 28 Any state agency or other governmental entity which is a party to a small 29 claims action may appear as provided in subsection (2) of this section. The 30 governmental agency or entity may not appear through the office of the attor- 31 ney general, notwithstanding the provisions of section 67-1401, Idaho Code, 32 nor through any other attorney at law, whether an employee of the agency or 33 entity or otherwise. No action may be prosecuted in the small claims depart- 34 ment against the state of Idaho or any justice or judge thereof based upon any 35 act or omission alleged to have been committed by the justice or judge while 36 acting in an official capacity. 37 (2) Notwithstanding the provisions of section 1-2301, Idaho Code, a small 38 claims action filed against the state of Idaho, or any agency thereof, or any 39 official or employee of the state of Idaho while acting in an official capac- 40 ity shall be filed in the county of the plaintiff's residence, or if the 41 plaintiff is not a resident of the state of Idaho, in the county where the 42 cause of action arose. In either case, the plaintiff, in addition to service 43 on the defendant, shall serve the Idaho attorney general by certified or reg- 44 istered mail. Prior to appearing in the defense of any small claims action, 45 the defendant public official, or chief executive officer of the defendant 46 agency, with the advice of the attorney general, shall designate in writing 47 the nonattorney employee or agent of the state who is authorized to appear in 48 defense of the action. The written designation shall be filed with the court. 49 SECTION 10. That Section 1-2308, Idaho Code, be, and the same is hereby 5 1 amended to read as follows: 2 1-230 87. USE OF COUNSEL PROHIBITEDATTORNEYS AT LAW -- COLLECTION AGEN- 3 CIES -- WITNESSES AND EVIDENCE -- JUDGMENT. No attorney-at-law, collection4 agency, except as provided in section 1-2307, Idaho Code, or any other person,5 except an employee shall represent a party at any trial in said department,6 nor shall iIt shall not be necessary to summon witnesses, but the plaintiff 7 and defendant in any claim shall have the privilege of offering evidence in 8 their behalf, themselves and witnesses appearing at such hearing, and being 9 duly sworn as in other cases, and the magistrate shall render and enter judg- 10 ment as in other cases. No attorney at law shall appear before the court on 11 behalf of any party at any trial, pretrial matter or posttrial motion in the 12 small claims department; provided however, that nothing herein shall be con- 13 strued to prevent an attorney at law from providing a party with legal advice 14 concerning the issues in a case or the preparation or presentation of the 15 case, including the preparation of exhibits, affidavits, or memoranda to be 16 presented by the party to the action. An attorney may appear in any proceeding 17 after entry of a small claims judgment relating to the execution of the judg- 18 ment, including any proceeding for the examination of the judgment debtor in 19 aid of execution of the judgment. Any attorney at law or law firm may be a 20 party to a small claims proceeding and may prosecute any claim the attorney or 21 law firm may have, except any claim obtained by assignment, and may appear 22 before the court as any other plaintiff or defendant in the case. 23 (2) In any case in which a business organization is a party including, 24 without limitation, a corporation, whether nonprofit or for profit, partner- 25 ship, professional association or sole proprietorship, no person shall repre- 26 sent the organization except an owner of a substantial interest in the organi- 27 zation or any nonattorney employee of the organization. At the option of the 28 business organization, the same owner or nonattorney employee may represent 29 the business organization in any trial de novo on appeal to the magistrate 30 division and the organization shall not be required to appear through an 31 attorney at law. 32 (3) Any assignee of a debt or claim triable in the small claims depart- 33 ment, including any licensed collection agency, may bring an action in small 34 claims court; provided however, that no attorney at law who is an assignee of 35 the debt or claim may appear before the small claims court. 36 SECTION 11. That Section 1-2313, Idaho Code, be, and the same is hereby 37 amended to read as follows: 38 1-2313. CERTIFICATION OFJUDGMENT -- ENTRY ON DOCKET -- ENFORCEMENT. If 39 no appeal is taken by the defendant and the defendant fails to pay the judg- 40 ment according to the terms and conditions thereof, the magistrate before whom 41 such hearing was had, may, on application of the plaintiff, certify such judg- 42 ment in substantially the following form: In the Magistrate's Division of the 43 District Court for .... County, Idaho 44 Plaintiff ......................... 45 v. 46 Defendant ......................... 47 In the Small Claims Department 48 This is to certify that in a certain action before me, the undersigned, 49 had on this the .... day of ...., 1920.., wherein .... was plaintiff and .... 50 was defendant, jurisdiction of said defendant having had by personal service 6 1 (or otherwise), as provided by law, I then and there entered judgment against 2 said defendant in the sum of .... dollars, which judgment has not been paid. 3 Witness my hand this .... day of ...., 1920... 4 ......................... Magistrate sitting in the small claims department. 5 The magistrate of said magistrate's division shall forthwith enter such 6 judgment transcript on the judgment docket of such magistrate's division, and 7 thereafter execution and other process on execution provided by law may issue 8 thereon, as obtains in other cases of judgments of magistrate's division, and 9 a transcript of such judgments may be filed and entered in judgment lien dock- 10 ets in district courts with like effect as in other cases. 11 SECTION 12. That Section 39-6316, Idaho Code, be, and the same is hereby 12 amended to read as follows: 13 39-6316. LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS -- TRAINING, POWERS, DUTIES. (1) All 14 training provided by the peace officers standards and training academy relat- 15 ing to the handling of domestic violence complaints by law enforcement offi- 16 cers shall stress enforcement of criminal laws in domestic situations, avail- 17 ability of community resources, and protection of the victim. Law enforcement 18 agencies and community organizations with expertise in the issue of domestic 19 violence shall cooperate in all aspects of such training. 20 (2) When a peace officer responds to a domestic violence call, the offi- 21 cer shall give a written statement to victims which alerts the victim to the 22 availability of a shelter or other resources in the community, and give the 23 victim a written notice provided by the department of law enforcement substan- 24 tially stating the following: 25 IF YOU ARE THE VICTIM OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, you can ask the city 26 or county prosecuting attorney to file a criminal complaint. You also 27 have the right to file a petition in magistrate court requesting an 28 order for protection from domestic abuse which could include any of 29 the following: (a) an order restraining your abuser from further acts 30 of abuse; (b) an order directing your abuser to leave your household; 31 (c) an order preventing your abuser from entering your residence, 32 school, business, or place of employment; (d) an order awarding you 33 or the other parent custody of or visitation with your minor child or 34 children; and (e) an order restraining your abuser from molesting or 35 interfering with minor children in your custody. The forms you need 36 to obtain a protection order are available from the clerk of the dis- 37 trict court. The resources available in this community for informa- 38 tion relating to domestic violence, treatment of injuries and places 39 of safety and shelters are: (For safety reasons, inclusion of 40 shelter/safe house addresses are not necessary). You also have the 41 right to sue for losses suffered as a result of the abuse, including 42 medical and moving expenses, loss of earnings or support, and other 43 out-of-pocket expenses for injuries sustained and damage to your 44 property. This can be done without an attorney in small claims court 45 if the total amount claimed is less than threefour thousand dollars 46 ($ 34,000). 47 (3) The peace officer shall make every effort to arrange, offer, or 48 facilitate transportation for the victim to a hospital for treatment of inju- 49 ries or to a place of safety or shelter. 50 (4) The law enforcement agency shall forward the offense report to the 51 appropriate prosecutor within ten (10) days of making such report if there is 7 1 probable cause to believe that an offense has been committed, unless the case 2 is under active investigation. 3 SECTION 13. This act shall apply to all actions filed on and after Janu- 4 ary 1, 2001.
STATEMENT OF PURPOSE RS 09851 This bill is the result of the efforts of a special Supreme Court committee of legislators, judges, and other representatives of the court system to modernize the small claims court. First, this bill increases public access to the small claims court by raising the dollar limit on claims that may be filed in this court from $3,000 to $4,000. This measure also makes several procedural clarifications and modifications to the small claims court statutes which are designed to make the system function more effectively. These changes expand the organizations that may appear in small claims court, require a defendant to indicate whether the plaintiff's claim will he opposed, establish the county where small claims must be filed, provide for mediation of claims, provide a procedure to be followed if a governmental entity is sued, and clarify the role of attorneys in assisting a party to a small claims action. FISCAL NOTE It is anticipated that raising the jurisdictional limit of a claim from $3,000 to $4,000 will result in an increase in the number of cases that are filed. Part of this increased caseload will be a shift of cases which are presently filed in the magistrate division of the district court because they exceed the present $3,000 limit. In addition to the cost of handling this additional caseload, some reduction in revenue from filing fees is anticipated because claims which are filed in the magistrate division of the district court generate a higher filing fee than the fees charged litigants in a small claims action. The additional costs and some loss of filing fee revenue is difficult to estimate. It is expected that they will be mitigated by improvements to the system made by this bill which will increase public satisfaction and reduce the time and workload of judges and court personnel. Contact Person: Senator Evan Frasure Idaho State Legislature (208) 332-1000 Representative Jim Clark Idaho State Legislature (208) 332-1000 STATEMENT OF PURPOSE/FISCAL NOTE S 1393