7 LONG TITLE
8 General Description:
9 This bill amends provisions related to small claims actions.
10 Highlighted Provisions:
11 This bill:
12 ▸ provides that a county justice court has territorial jurisdiction within the county over
13 small claims cases;
14 ▸ provides that a municipal justice court has territorial jurisdiction over small claims
15 cases in the county that the municipal justice court resides;
16 ▸ increases the amount of an action required for a small claims action;
17 ▸ allows a debt collection agency to be an assignee for a small claims action; and
18 ▸ makes technical and conforming changes.
19 Money Appropriated in this Bill:
21 Other Special Clauses:
23 Utah Code Sections Affected:
25 78A-7-105, as last amended by Laws of Utah 2014, Chapter 151
26 78A-8-102, as last amended by Laws of Utah 2017, Chapter 73
27 78A-8-103, as renumbered and amended by Laws of Utah 2008, Chapter 3
29 Be it enacted by the Legislature of the state of Utah:
30 Section 1. Section 78A-7-105 is amended to read:
31 78A-7-105. Territorial jurisdiction -- Voting.
32 (1) (a) The territorial jurisdiction of county justice courts extends to the limits of the
33 precinct for which the justice court is created and includes all cities or towns within the
34 precinct, [
35 (b) Notwithstanding Subsection (1)(a), the territorial jurisdiction of a county justice
36 court extends for small claims actions to cities, within the precinct, where a municipal justice
37 court exists.
38 (2) (a) The territorial jurisdiction of municipal justice courts extends to the corporate
39 limits of the municipality in which the justice court is created.
40 (b) Notwithstanding Subsection (2)(a), the territorial jurisdiction of a municipal justice
41 court for small claims actions extends to the precinct limits of the county in which the
42 municipal justice court exists.
43 (3) Justice court judges have the same authority regarding matters within [
44 justice court's jurisdiction as judges of courts of record.
45 (4) A justice court may issue all extraordinary writs and other writs as necessary to
46 carry into effect [
47 (5) (a) Except as provided in this Subsection (5), a judgment rendered in a justice court
48 does not create a lien upon any real property of the judgment debtor unless the judgment or
49 abstract of the judgment:
50 (i) is recorded in the office of the county recorder of the county in which the real
51 property of the judgment debtor is located; and
52 (ii) contains the information identifying the judgment debtor in the judgment or
53 abstract of judgment as required in Subsection 78B-5-201(4)(b) or as a separate information
54 statement of the judgment creditor as required in Subsection 78B-5-201(5).
55 (b) The lien runs for eight years from the date the judgment was entered in the district
56 court under Section 78B-5-202 unless the judgment is earlier satisfied.
57 (c) State agencies are exempt from the recording requirement of Subsection (5)(a).
58 Section 2. Section 78A-8-102 is amended to read:
59 78A-8-102. Small claims -- Defined -- Counsel not necessary -- Removal from
60 district court -- Deferring multiple claims of one plaintiff -- Supreme Court to govern
62 (1) A small claims action is a civil action:
63 (a) for the recovery of money when:
64 (i) the amount claimed does not exceed [
65 exclusive of court costs and interest; and
66 (ii) the defendant resides or the action of indebtedness was incurred within the
67 jurisdiction of the court in which the action is to be maintained; or
68 (b) involving interpleader under Rule 22 of the Utah Rules of Civil Procedure, in
69 which the amount claimed does not exceed [
70 exclusive of court costs and interest.
71 (2) (a) A defendant in an action filed in the district court that meets the requirement of
72 Subsection (1)(a)(i) may remove, if agreed to by the plaintiff, the action to a small claims court
73 within the same district by:
74 (i) giving notice, including the small claims filing number, to the district court of
75 removal during the time afforded for a responsive pleading; and
76 (ii) paying the applicable small claims filing fee.
77 (b) A filing fee may not be charged to a plaintiff to appeal a judgment on an action
78 removed under Subsection (2)(a) to the district court where the action was originally filed.
79 (3) The judgment in a small claims action may not exceed [
80 attorney fees, but exclusive of court costs and interest.
81 (4) (a) A counter claim may be maintained in a small claims action if the counter claim
82 arises out of the transaction or occurrence which is the subject matter of the plaintiff's claim.
83 (b) A counter claim may not be raised for the first time in the trial de novo of the small
84 claims action.
85 (5) (a) A claim involving property damage from a motor vehicle accident may be
86 maintained in a small claims action, and any removal or appeal of the small claims action,
87 without limiting the ability of a plaintiff to make a claim for bodily injury against the same
88 defendant in a separate legal action. [
89 (b) If a property damage claim is brought as a small claims action:
91 small claims action is not binding in a separate legal action for bodily injury; and
93 action for bodily injury.
94 (6) (a) With or without counsel, persons or corporations may litigate actions on behalf
95 of themselves:
96 (i) in person; or
97 (ii) through authorized employees.
98 (b) A person or corporation may be represented in an action by an individual who is
99 not an employee of the person or corporation and is not licensed to practice law only in
100 accordance with the Utah Rules of Small Claims Procedure as made by the Supreme Court.
101 (7) (a) If a person or corporation other than a municipality or a political subdivision of
102 the state files multiple small claims in any one court, the clerk or judge of the court may
103 remove all but the initial claim from the court's calendar in order to dispose of all other small
104 claims matters.
105 (b) A claim so removed shall be rescheduled as permitted by the court's calendar.
106 (8) A small claims matter shall be managed in accordance with simplified rules of
107 procedure and evidence made by the Supreme Court.
108 Section 3. Section 78A-8-103 is amended to read:
109 78A-8-103. Assignee may not file claim.
110 (1) "Third party debt collection agency" means the same as that term is defined in
111 Section 12-1-11.
112 (2) A claim may not be filed or prosecuted in small claims court by any assignee of a