The monetary limit for filing a civil action in conciliation court is increasing for the first time since 1994.
Effective Aug. 1, 2012, the general monetary limit will increase from $7,500 to $10,000. That cap will increase to $15,000, which will coincide with the limit on forfeitures, beginning Aug. 1, 2014. Consumer credit transaction claims will keep a $4,000 cap.
According to the Office of Attorney General, “Conciliation court is often called ‘people’s court’ or ‘small claims court’ because its basic purpose is to help people recover relatively small sums of money without having to hire a lawyer. Conciliation court allows you to bring your legal disputes to a court without the hassles of confusing legal procedures and high costs. Court rules are generally simple and informal, and the cost of filing in conciliation court is low.”
Opponents said this law will give Minnesota the second-highest limits in the country, which could be detrimental to consumers.
Rep. Ron Shimanski (R-Silver Lake), who sponsors the law with Sen. Julianne Ortman (R-Chanhassen), said the law is in response to a December 2011 report put forth by Minnesota Supreme Court Civil Justice Reform Task Force. He said the law meets the needs of the courts and provides a savings by removing some district court burden from hearing claims that can be addressed in the less expensive conciliation court.
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