In November 2015, House Bill 387, jointly sponsored by Rep. Lou Terhar and Rep. Jonathan Dever, was introduced that proposed increasing the monetary jurisdiction of a small claims division of a county and municipal court from $3,000 to $6,000.
Under continuing law, each county and municipal court is required to establish a small claims division. A small claims division has jurisdiction in civil actions for the recovery of taxes and money only. Until recently, that amount was not to exceed $3,000, not including interest and cost.
Earlier this month, HB387 was passed, and with it, the monetary jurisdiction amount was increased to $6,000. It’s worth noting that a similar threshold exists in surrounding states.
“This legislation came about as a result of concerns from business owners in my district who are struggling to collect on accounts payable because they fell into an area where they are higher than the current small claims limit, but too small to merit hiring an attorney to file an action in a municipal court,” Rep. Lou Terhar said in sponsor testimony for House Bill 387 before the House Local Government Committee.
Terhar added that the cap has not risen in nearly 20 years. He argued that the $3,000 limit placed an unfair burden on small businesses to recover losses, especially when considering the added court costs and legal fees that those businesses incurred as part of their legal actions. “The small claims process saves both money and time by providing a less expensive alternative to settling a dispute and a quicker court proceeding,” he said. “Furthermore, due to the high cost of attorneys’ fees, it often is not feasible to go through a higher court.”
Public support preceded bill’s introduction
According to the Akron Legal News, Terhar and Dever vetted the issue with community members before presenting HB 387 to the legislature.
“A vast majority of interested parties offered suggestions and eventually the NFIB, the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, the Ohio State Bar Association, insurance companies and the various judges affected agreed (with) an increase in the small claims authority level to $6,000,” Terhar said in the Akron Legal News article.
“I believe we can all agree that our small claims limit needs (to be) adjusted to the times, and raising the cap will support Ohio small businesses by making it easier and less expensive to collect their own debts,” Terhar added.
If you have questions regarding small claims, the attorneys at Nager, Romaine & Schneiberg Co., L.P.A. are here to help. Additionally, In the event you are hurt at work, or terminated after reporting a workers' compensation injury, you need to seek immediate legal advice. Contact the Cleveland personal injury attorneys at NRS Injury Law by filling out our No-Risk Consultation form, or call (855) GOT-HURT and speak with one of our trained staff members.