BY GIUSEPPE LEONE – For the umpteenth year, our lawmakers are considering a bill to increase the maximum amount allowed in Hawaii Small Claims court – from $3,500 to $5,000.

If passed, such bill will allow more consumers and small business owners to settle a dispute quickly and inexpensively in small claims court, without having to hire an attorney.

See HB1333: http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2011/lists/measure_indiv.aspx?billtype=HB&billnumber=1333

And for the umpteenth year, such bill now runs the risk of being killed, despite the following facts:

The current $3,500 limit, which was set in 1992, has never been adjusted for inflation.

Introduced by 32 House Representatives, Bill HB1333 is supported both by the Hawaii Judiciary and Hawaii State Bar Association.

Bill HB1333 will bring Hawaii more in line with the rest of the country. Currently, 37 out of 50 states have small claims court limits higher — or much higher — than $3,500. For example, the limit in California is $7,500, in Alaska $10,000, in Georgia $15,000, and in Tennessee $25,000.

If any Hawaii Reporter reader is interested to support Bill HB1333, they can send me an email at mediationplus@gmail.com or call me at 254-4115. And I will be glad to tell them what they can do to urge our lawmakers to enact that bill, and not let it die — again.

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