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Okay, good. However, I did not know that you were in small claims court. That changes things a bit, but it should work in your favor. This would explain why the clerk did not know what you were doing.
First, make sure you get a hearing date on the motion for new trial that you filed. The hearing date should be BEFORE the date for your appeal time to expire if at all possible. The motion for new trial according to the rules should preserve your right to appeal but it is unclear whether the district court rules apply to small claims court. So, if you cannot get a hearing on the motion for new trial before the appeal date, then I would use the link below and file the one page appeal form.
In small claims court you have 20 days to appeal to a District Court (NOT THE COURT OF APPEALS) for any legal errors that have been made by the judge. There is a one page form by which you can file appeal. http://www.iowacourts.gov/wfdata/files/Ch_3-_Form_13.pdf
You may want to send a letter to the judge with a copy to the other side so that he knows what is going on and you do not get lost in the system. If the judge does not give you hearing date for the new trial ASAP, then appeal.
The motion to stay would a have stopped the collection of money, but now, you will need to seek an order to refund the money to you at the time the judge grants the motion for new trial if he does. The judge cannot issue an order to keep the other side from spending the money until the judgment that is issued is first over turned either on appeal or by new trial.
Sorry this is happening to you.
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If the judge agrees to grant a new trial date, then he should also agree to sign an order extending the time to file the appeal to 20 days after any decision is made on the motion for new trial. I would ask him to put that in writing, if possible so that your right to appeal is preserved. If you can go back to the local law library and read about whether the district court rules apply in small claims court, that would help.
Rule 1.101 Applicability; statutes affected. The rules in this chapter shall govern the practice and procedure in all courts of the state, except where they expressly provide otherwise or statutes not affected hereby provide different procedure in particular courts or cases.
It is unclear from this whether the small claims court has one or more separate rules that may apply to supersede the motion for new trial rule that we have been discussing.
I do not see a separate set of rules on line for small claims court but you may want to ask the clerk where you an find those if those exist.
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