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H.B. 124 Enrolled






Sponsor: Stephen H. Urquhart

                  LONG TITLE
                  General Description:
                      This bill modifies provisions related to small claims court.
                  Highlighted Provisions:
                      This bill:
                      .    increases the amount a claim can be in small claims court from $5,000 to $7,500;
                      .    allows nonattorneys to represent parties without compensation; and
                      .    makes technical changes.
                  Monies Appropriated in this Bill:
                  Other Special Clauses:
                  Utah Code Sections Affected:
                      78-6-1, as last amended by Chapter 215, Laws of Utah 1997
                  Be it enacted by the Legislature of the state of Utah:
                      Section 1. Section 78-6-1 is amended to read:
                       78-6-1. Small claims -- Defined -- Biannual review -- Counsel not necessary --
                  Deferring multiple claims of one plaintiff -- Supreme Court to govern procedures.
                      (1) A small claims action is a civil action:
                      (a) for the recovery of money where:
                      (i) the amount claimed does not exceed [$5,000] $7,500 including attorney fees but

                  exclusive of court costs and interest; and [where]
                      (ii) the defendant resides or the action of indebtedness was incurred within the jurisdiction
                  of the court in which the action is to be maintained; or
                      (b) involving interpleader under Rule 22 of the Utah Rules of Civil Procedure, in which
                  the amount claimed does not exceed [$5,000] $7,500 including attorney fees but exclusive of
                  court costs and interest.
                      (2) The judgment in a small claims action may not exceed [$5,000] $7,500 including
                  attorney fees but exclusive of court costs and interest.
                      (3) Counter claims may be maintained in small claims actions if the counter claim arises
                  out of the transaction or occurrence that is the subject matter of the plaintiff's claim. A counter
                  claim may not be raised for the first time in the trial de novo of the small claims action.
                      (4) The Judicial Council shall present to the Judiciary Interim Committee prior to the
                  general session of the Legislature during odd-numbered years a report and recommendations
                  concerning the maximum amount of small claims actions.
                      (5) [Persons] (a) With or without counsel, persons or corporations may litigate actions
                  on behalf of themselves:
                      (i) in person; or
                      (ii) through authorized employees [with or without counsel].
                      (b) A person or corporation may be represented in an action by an individual who is not
                  an employee of the person or corporation and is not licensed to practice law only in accordance
                  with the Utah rules of small claims procedure as promulgated by the Supreme Court.
                      (6) If a person or corporation other than a municipality or a political subdivision of the
                  state files multiple small claims in any one court, the clerk or judge of the court may remove all
                  but the initial claim from the court's calendar in order to dispose of all other small claims matters.
                  Claims so removed shall be rescheduled as permitted by the court's calendar.
                      (7) Small claims matters shall be managed in accordance with simplified rules of
                  procedure and evidence promulgated by the Supreme Court.

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