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H.B. 331





Chief Sponsor: V. Lowry Snow

Senate Sponsor: Curtis S. Bramble

             7      LONG TITLE
             8      General Description:
             9          This bill amends provisions related to small claims courts.
             10      Highlighted Provisions:
             11          This bill:
             12          .    provides that property damage to motor vehicles can be maintained in a small
             13      claims court without limiting the ability to make another claim against the same
             14      individual in regards to bodily injury.
             15      Money Appropriated in this Bill:
             16          None
             17      Other Special Clauses:
             18          None
             19      Utah Code Sections Affected:
             20      AMENDS:
             21          78A-8-102, as last amended by Laws of Utah 2011, Chapter 114
             23      Be it enacted by the Legislature of the state of Utah:
             24          Section 1. Section 78A-8-102 is amended to read:
             25           78A-8-102. Small claims -- Defined -- Counsel not necessary -- Removal from
             26      district court -- Deferring multiple claims of one plaintiff -- Supreme Court to govern
             27      procedures.

             28          (1) A small claims action is a civil action:
             29          (a) for the recovery of money where:
             30          (i) the amount claimed does not exceed $10,000 including attorney fees but exclusive
             31      of court costs and interest; and
             32          (ii) the defendant resides or the action of indebtedness was incurred within the
             33      jurisdiction of the court in which the action is to be maintained; or
             34          (b) involving interpleader under Rule 22 of the Utah Rules of Civil Procedure, in
             35      which the amount claimed does not exceed $10,000 including attorney fees but exclusive of
             36      court costs and interest.
             37          (2) (a) A defendant in an action filed in the district court that meets the requirement of
             38      Subsection (1)(a)(i) may remove, if agreed to by the plaintiff, the action to a small claims court
             39      within the same district by:
             40          (i) giving notice, including the small claims filing number, to the district court of
             41      removal during the time afforded for a responsive pleading; and
             42          (ii) paying the applicable small claims filing fee.
             43          (b) No filing fee may be charged to a plaintiff to appeal a judgment on an action
             44      removed under Subsection (2)(a) to the district court where the action was originally filed.
             45          (3) The judgment in a small claims action may not exceed $10,000 including attorney
             46      fees but exclusive of court costs and interest.
             47          (4) Counter claims may be maintained in small claims actions if the counter claim
             48      arises out of the transaction or occurrence which is the subject matter of the plaintiff's claim. A
             49      counter claim may not be raised for the first time in the trial de novo of the small claims action.
             50          (5) Claims involving property damage to a motor vehicle may be maintained in small
             51      claims actions without limiting the ability of a plaintiff to make a claim for bodily injury
             52      against the same defendant in a separate legal action. In the event that property damage claim
             53      is brought as a small claims action:
             54          (a) any liability decision in the original small claims court is nonbinding in any
             55      subsequent legal action for bodily injury; and
             56          (b) no additional property damage claims can be brought in any subsequent legal action
             57      for bodily injury.
             58          [(5)] (6) (a) With or without counsel, persons or corporations may litigate actions on

             59      behalf of themselves:
             60          (i) in person; or
             61          (ii) through authorized employees.
             62          (b) A person or corporation may be represented in an action by an individual who is
             63      not an employee of the person or corporation and is not licensed to practice law only in
             64      accordance with the Utah rules of small claims procedure as promulgated by the Supreme
             65      Court.
             66          [(6)] (7) If a person or corporation other than a municipality or a political subdivision
             67      of the state files multiple small claims in any one court, the clerk or judge of the court may
             68      remove all but the initial claim from the court's calendar in order to dispose of all other small
             69      claims matters. Claims so removed shall be rescheduled as permitted by the court's calendar.
             70          [(7)] (8) Small claims matters shall be managed in accordance with simplified rules of
             71      procedure and evidence promulgated by the Supreme Court.

Legislative Review Note
    as of 2-15-13 5:55 AM

Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel

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