Changing civil jurisdiction thresholds – Part 5

This fifth and final item in a series of posts looks at legislative efforts to change the civil jurisdiction thresholds in state limited and general jurisdiction courts in the last decade. For a listing of all current civil jurisdiction thresholds, click here.

South Dakota to Wyoming below the fold.

South Dakota

South Dakota Magistrate Court has concurrent jurisdiction with the Circuit Court up to $12,000 (S.D. Codified Laws § 16-12B-13). The $12,000 limit was increased from $10,000 in 2008 (HB 1122). Otherwise, no efforts were made to increase it in the last decade.

Tennessee

Tennessee’s General Sessions Courts have civil jurisdiction up to $25,000 (Tenn. Code Ann. § 16-15-501(d)(1)). This was increased from the previous $15,000 in 2005 (HB 278). Otherwise, no efforts were made to increase it in the last decade.

Texas

Texas has two limited jurisdiction courts with civil jurisdiction:

  • Justice Courts have jurisdiction in civil cases up to $10,000 (Tex. Gov’t Code § 27.031(a)(1)). This was increased from the previous $5,000 in 2007 (SB 618; HB 2906 and SB 1204 had similar provisions). In 2013 a bill was introduced to increase this to $15,000 (HB 1598) but it never received a hearing.
  • County Courts (both Constitutional County Courts and County Courts at Law) have jurisdiction in civil cases from $200 to $10,000 (Tex. Gov’t Code § 26.042(a)). This was increased from the previous $5,000 in 2007 (SB 618). In 2013 a bill was introduced to increase this to $15,000 (HB 1598) but it never received a hearing.

Utah

Utah Justice Court is effectively the state’s small claims court, with a concurrent jurisdiction with the District Court up to only $10,000 (Utah Code Ann. § 78A-8-102(3) & Utah Code Ann. § 78A-7-106). This was increased in 2009 from the prior $7,500 (SB 176). Otherwise, no efforts were made to increase it in the last decade.

Vermont

Vermont has one limited jurisdiction court (Judicial Bureau) with no civil jurisdiction.

Virginia

Virginia District Courts have exclusive civil jurisdiction up to $4,500 and concurrent jurisdiction with the Circuit Court in cases up to $25,000 (Va. Code Ann. § 16.1-77(1)). The $25,000 threshold was increased from $15,000 in 2011 (HB 1590; a similar provision was also enacted within SB 744 of 2011). A similar effort to increase to $25,000 the year before was approved by the full Senate but died in the House Courts of Justice Committee (SB 329 of 2010).

Washington

Washington State’s District Courts have civil jurisdiction in cases up to $75,000 (Rev. Code Wash. (ARCW) § 3.66.020). The threshold had previously been $50,000, but that was increased in 2008 (HB 2557). A prior effort to increase to $75,000 had previously died in committee without a hearing (SB 5322 of 2005).

West Virginia

West Virginia Magistrate Court functions as the state’s small claims court with a civil jurisdiction threshold of $5,000 (W. Va. Code § 50-2-1). Efforts have been made to increase this to $10,000 (HB 2990 of 2009), $12,000 (HB 4588 of 2012; HB 2287 of 2013), and $15,000 (HB 4365 of 2010). None advanced out of committee.

Wisconsin

Vermont has one limited jurisdiction court (Municipal) with no civil jurisdiction.

Wyoming

Wyoming Circuit Court has civil jurisdiction in cases up to $50,000 (Wyo. Stat. § 5-9-128(a)(i)). This was increased from the previous $7,000 in 2011 (SB 15). There had been a prior unsuccessful effort to increase the jurisdiction in 2005 as SB 142 that started as an increase to $15,000, was amended down to $10,000, and finally eliminated from bill entirely.