Small claims jurisdiction jumps in September

The jurisdictional limit for district court small claims divisions will rise from $3,000 to $5,000 on Sept. 1, under legislation signed into law by Gov. Rick Snyder.

Thereafter, the amendment of MCL 600.8401 provides for a gradual increase of the jurisdictional limit to $7,000 by Jan. 1, 2024.

The bill, as introduced by Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker, R-Lawton, last year, would have immediately increased small claims jurisdiction to $10,000. See, “Bill would increase small claims court jurisdiction,” The Michigan Lawyer, April 18, 2012.

Banks and businesses backed the legislation because they were spending big bucks on lawyers to collect small debts in district court.

But the State Bar of Michigan, consumer law groups, court administrators, judges and magistrates opposed the bill, in part, claiming that the law gives corporations an advantage and will increase the administrative burden in small claims divisions. See, “Small claims likely to grow,” Michigan Lawyers Weekly, April 30, 2012.

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