Articles III and IV

Article III: Small Claim Procedure

Rule 3.1: Action of Court on Return Day
Rule 3.2: Form of summons in small claims

 

Article IV: Civil Contempt Procedure

Rule 4.1: Initiation by petition
Rule 4.2: Presentation to court
Rule 4.3: Service
Rule 4.4: Answer
Rule 4.5: Trial
Rule 4.6: Imposition of Sanctions
Rule 4.7: Judgement of contempt

 


Article III: Small Claim Procedure

 

Rule 3.1: Action of Court on Return Day

In all small claim cases, on the appearance date the judge shall take the following action in the following events:

(a) If the defendant has not appeared and the plaintiff is present, a default judgment shall be entered on the complaint, provided that in all cases of unliquidated damages the plaintiff shall be required to make proof of damages in open court.

(b) If the defendant appears but neither the plaintiff nor the plaintiff’s attorney appears, or if neither party appears, the case shall be dismissed.

(c) If both parties appear, the judge shall ascertain whether the claim is contested and, if it is not, enter an appropriate order for the payment of the judgment in installments or otherwise as the case may be. If the claim is contested, the judge shall conduct an informal pretrial conference in an attempt to help the parties settle the case. If the case cannot then be settled, the judge shall set it for trial on the next available date, unless all parties announce that they are ready for immediate trial, no one has timely demanded a jury, and the judge’s calendar permits the case to be tried on the appearance date.

 

Rule 3.2: Form of summons in small claims

In small claim cases, the “Notice to Defendants” required on the summons by Supreme Court Rule 101(b)(1) shall set out the text of Rule 3.1.

 

 


 

Article IV: Civil Contempt Procedure

 

Rule 4.1: Initiation by petition

A proceeding for indirect civil contempt may be initiated by the filing of a petition for order to show cause why the respondent should not be held in contempt. The petition shall be verified and set forth with particularity that portion of the order that is alleged to have been violated, the nature of the violation, and the acts required of the respondent to purge the contempt.

 

Rule 4.2: Presentation to court

(a) The petition may be presented ex parte.

(b) If the violation alleged is the failure of the respondent to make court-ordered payments to the clerk of the court, the records of the clerk shall be sufficient to support an order to show cause.

(c) Where an order to show cause is sought based upon a failure to appear in response to a citation to discover assets, no written petition shall be necessary, but a sheriff’s return or other proper proof of service of the citation shall be sufficient to support the issuance of an order to show cause.

(d) Before an order to show cause may issue for any other claim of alleged indirect civil contempt, the petition must be supported by affidavit meeting the requirements of Supreme Court Rule 191.

(e) The order to show cause shall set a time and place for the respondent to appear and show cause.

 

Rule 4.3: Service

A signed and file-marked copy of the order to show cause shall be personally served upon the respondent in the manner of summons requiring an appearance not less than 21 days nor more than 40 days after issuance, and shall be served not less than seven days before the day for appearance.

 

Rule 4.4: Answer

No later than three days prior to the hearing, the respondent may file a written answer denying with specificity any allegations of the petition and setting out any affirmative defenses.

 

Rule 4.5: Trial

Civil contempt proceedings shall be tried before the court without a jury.

 

Rule 4.6: Imposition of Sanctions

If the court finds the respondent to be in civil contempt, it may continue the matter for a reasonable time before the imposition of sanctions or it may impose sanctions authorized by law forthwith.

 

Rule 4.7: Judgement of contempt

Upon an adjudication of civil contempt, a written judgment shall be promptly prepared and filed which specifies the contumacious conduct, the sanctions imposed, and the means by which the contemnor may purge himself. A signed, file-marked copy of the judgment shall be served upon the contemnor, and proof of service shall be filed.