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Ask Maverick Your Own Question
Maverick, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 6244
Experience:  20 years experience as a civil trial and appellate lawyer
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I have just received a summons to appear in small claims

Customer Question

I have just received a summons to appear in small claims court from a person alleging that I stole an instrument he had entrusted to me for repair. This is a false claim and my business reputation is at stake. What is my best way to proceed?
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Maverick replied 10 months ago.

Welcome to Just Answer (“JA”)! My name is Maverick.

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Answer will follow in the pane below in a short while….

Expert:  Maverick replied 10 months ago.

This looks like this is going to be a credibility issue in court that basically amounts to the judge ruling on a "he said-she said" swearing match. You bet way to proceed is to defend this matter in the small claims court first by filing a timely answer to the summons and then by showing up to the hearing and final trial on the merits with your evidence and witnesses to prove either directly or by circumstantial evidence that you returned the flute.

More to come...

Expert:  Maverick replied 10 months ago.

This is the manual for how small claims court work in IN.

Here are the rules to file an answer to the complaint:

Rule 8. General rules of pleading

(A) Claims for Relief. To state a claim for relief, whether an original claim, counterclaim, cross-claim, or third-party claim, a pleading must contain:

(1) a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, and

(2) a demand for relief to which the pleader deems entitled. Relief in the alternative or of several different types may be demanded. However, in any complaint seeking damages for personal injury or death, or seeking punitive damages, no dollar amount or figure shall be included in the demand.

(B) Defenses: Form of denials. A responsive pleading shall state in short and plain terms the pleader’s defenses to each claim asserted and shall admit or controvert the averments set forth in the preceding pleading. If in good faith the pleader intends to deny all the averments in the preceding pleading, he may do so by general denial subject to the provisions of Rule 11. If he does not intend a general denial, he may:

(1) specifically deny designated averments or paragraphs; or

(2) generally deny all averments except such designated averments and paragraphs as he expressly admits.

If he lacks knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief as to the truth of an averment, he shall so state and his statement shall be considered a denial. If in good faith a pleader intends to deny only a part or a qualification of an averment, he shall specify so much of it as is true and material and deny the remainder. All denials shall fairly meet the substance of the averments denied. This rule shall have no application to uncontested actions for divorce, or to answers required to be filed by clerks or guardians ad litem.

(C) Affirmative defenses. A responsive pleading shall set forth affirmatively and carry the burden of proving: accord and satisfaction, arbitration and award, discharge in bankruptcy, duress, estoppel, failure of consideration, fraud, illegality, injury by fellow servant, laches, license, payment, release, res judicata, statute of frauds, statute of limitations, waiver, lack of jurisdiction over the subject-matter, lack of jurisdiction over the person, improper venue, insufficiency of process or service of process, the same action pending in another state court of this state, and any other matter constituting an avoidance, matter of abatement, or affirmative defense. A party required to affirmatively plead any matters, including matters formerly required to be pleaded affirmatively by reply, shall have the burden of proving such matters. The burden of proof imposed by this or any other provision of these rules is subject to the rules of evidence or any statute fixing a different rule. If the pleading mistakenly designates a defense as a counterclaim or a counterclaim as a defense, the court shall treat the pleading as if there had been a proper designation.

(D) Effect of failure to deny. Averments in a pleading to which a responsive pleading is required, except those pertaining to amount of damages, are admitted when not denied in the responsive pleading. Averments in a pleading to which no responsive pleading is required or permitted shall be taken as denied or avoided.

More to come...

Expert:  Maverick replied 10 months ago.

Here is a sample answer that you can use as a go-by to see how it works. It's from CA because I could not find one from IN online for free.

Expert:  Maverick replied 9 months ago.

Please assign a feedback rating so JA will compensate me for my time and we can close out this question. Thank you.