Bill Proposed to Increase Small Claims Jurisdiction

January 21, 2008

The Kentucky Law Review recently reported on several recently proposed legislative bills. Of interest was house bill 280, here, which seeks to raise the jurisdiction of small claims court to $5,000.00. No comment on what affect this would have on the district/circuit court maximum/minimum limit of $4,000.00, but presumably this would also need to be raised.

Of course the increase is probably long overdue. Several comments to the bill note that the current limit is outdated and it probably is. I recently tried a subrogation case in circuit court for about $4,200.00, so I know first hand the impact that the jurisdictional limit can have on your case. However, does this really matter on many cases, such as personal injury cases, when most of the damages are unliquidated. Can’t an attorney simply demand an extraordinary number for a subjective damage such as pain and suffering to get into circuit court? Doesn’t some of that go on in federal court, where the diversity limit is 75,000.00? Will this really impact the majority of cases, beyond property damage or contractual based claims? Does it need to be higher?

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