Appealing Your Judgment
I DISAGREE WITH THE JUDGE'S DECISION. HOW DO I APPEAL THE DECISION?
The Judge may make a decision at the end of the trial or take the matter under advisement and issue a decision at a later date. In either event, the judgment will be entered into the Court record.
If the Judge announces the decision at the end of the trial, the case is done. The Judge will not consider any more evidence or listen to any more testimony after the decision is announced. Do not argue with the Judge. The Judge’s decision is final.
If the Judge takes the matter under advisement, the Judge’s written decision will be mailed by U.S. mail or e-mailed directly to all the parties or to the attorneys of record if the parties are represented by lawyers. After you receive your copy of the judgment in the mail, do not contact the Court and ask to present more evidence. The Judge cannot consider any more evidence or listen to any more testimony. The Judge’s decision is final.
If any of the parties believe the Judge made legal errors when deciding the case, an appeal of the Judge’s decision may be taken to the Indiana Court of Appeals. For an appeal to be successful, the Judge must have made a legal error. Just not liking the Judge's decision will is not a legal basis for a successful appeal.
Due to the complexity of filing an appeal, the party wanting to appeal the Judge’s decision should talk to an attorney as soon as possible after the Small Claims Court judgment has been entered. You have thirty (30) days from the date the judgment was entered to file your appeal with the Court of Appeals. This is a strict deadline. Small Claims Rule 11(A).
I CANNOT AFFORD TO HIRE AN ATTORNEY. WILL THE JUDGE APPOINT A LAWYER FOR ME FOR AN APPEAL?
You are not entitled to have a court-appointed attorney in a Small Claims case including the appeal of a Small Claims case. If you want an attorney or need legal advice for a Small Claims case, you may contact Indiana Legal Services, Inc. or Legal Aid Corporation of Tippecanoe County, Inc. or the Indiana Pro Bono District 4 office to see if you qualify for their services.