Official Website of Shelby County Indiana Government

A small claims case starts with formal service on the other party under Rule 4 of the Indiana Rules of Trial Procedure.  The filer is responsible for ensuring the other party has service.  Once the Clerk has processed the summons and/or complaint and/or proceeding supplemental, it will be returned to the filer.  The filer will then decide what type of service will be attempted under Rules 4-5 of the Indiana Rules of Trial Procedure.  If you e-file your complaint, you are still responsible for getting the complaint to the Sheriff for service if you want the Sheriff’s Department to serve the notice.  The Clerk’s office will not take a small claim summons/ complaint/ pro supp to the Sheriff for service.

    If the filer decides to use certified or registered mail, the filer shall ensure that all return documents have the Shelby County Clerk’s address (407 S. Harrison Street, Shelbyville, IN 46716) on them.  Upon mailing, the filer shall complete a Certificate of Issuance of Summons and return it to the Clerk.
    If the filer decides to have documents served by Sheriff, the filer shall deliver three (3) sets of the documents to be served, along with $28 cash (exact-no change provided) or a $28 attorney trust account check to the Shelby County Sheriff’s Department 107 W. Taylor Street, Shelbyville, IN 46176 Monday – Friday 8:00 am – 4:00 pm. Monday-Friday.
    If the filer desires to personally serve the Defendant, the filer must complete a Return of Service and return it to the Clerk.   If the filer leaves a copy, but doesn’t personally serve the Defendant, the filer must also sent a copy of the summons and complaint/pleading/proceeding supplemental to the Defendant via United States Mail per the trial rules.


1. Each Defendant must be served properly under Indiana Rules of Trial Procedure 4-4.17 and 86 for the Court to have jurisdiction. Unless served by Sheriff, Plaintiff shall file a Return Notice of Claim with the court after attempting Service of Process for each Defendant. The court cannot proceed without proper service.  Your complaint should also state whether the Defendant is in the armed forces and entitled to protections under the Service Members Civil Relief Act.  The court may not enter a judgment against a Defendant absent information about the status of a Defendant’s protection under the Act.

2. You don’t have to have an attorney to file or respond to a small claim. If you are a corporate entity and the claim is more than $6,000 you must be represented by an attorney. FULL-TIME EMPLOYEES of a corporate entity may represent their corporate entity for claims less than $6,000 upon the filing in each case of a corporate resolution approving such representation.   Agents/property managers may not be considered full time employees.  Agents/property managers generally will not be the party in interest.  Owners of real estate in eviction cases will generally be considered the party in interest.

3. Plaintiff waives the right to trial by jury by filing a small claim. The Defendant may, within 10 days following service of the Notice of Claim, demand a trial by jury in writing, specifying that the demand is made in good faith, and supplying the affidavit required by Indiana Code 33-29-2-7. The Defendant must pay the difference in filing fees to the Clerk’s office at the time of the jury request.

4. The Defendant must file any counterclaim with the Clerk in time to be mailed and received by the Plaintiff at least 7 calendar days before the trial date.

5. A claim must be filed in the county where the transaction or occurrence took place, where the obligation was incurred, or where the defendant resides or has his/her place of employment.

6. Court costs must be paid in advance. The court may order a defendant to reimburse the Plaintiff for court costs.

7. This court cannot award more than $10,000 in a small claims action.

8. If the claim is on an account, contract, or lease an affidavit of debt for the account or a copy of the contract or lease must be filed with the claim. All documents must comply with the Indiana Rules on Access to Court Records regarding confidential information.

9. All parties or their representatives must complete and file an appearance form with the Clerk or Court.

10. Requests to continue the trial by either party must be received by the Court at least 2 business days before the trial date. Continuances are generally not favored and are not granted by telephone. Requests to continue can be mailed or delivered to Shelby Superior Court 2, 407 S. Harrison Street, Shelbyville IN 46176. The Courts’ phone number is (317) 392-6340. The Court is closed from 12-1 pm on business days for lunch.

11. Bring to trial all documents, photos, etc that you wish to submit concerning this claim. Written lists of damages with written explanations are very helpful to the Court. The Court will not consider exhibits displayed solely on electronic devices. Printed documents and photos should be of good quality and organized. The Clerk will furnish subpoenas if requested but the party wanting the supoena is responsible for making sure the subpoena is served.

12. The Court will conduct a contested trial on the first trial setting so both parties should be prepared to go forward. Notify the Court at least two business days in advance if the trial will take more than 1/2 hour.

13. Be on time for trial. A claim may be dismissed or judgment may be entered against an absent party.

14. Parties may settle the case before trial, but they are not required to do so. If the case is settled before trial, Plaintiff shall either dismiss the case or file an Agreed Judgment with the Court. The Agreed Judgment must be signed by both the Plaintiff and the Defendant. The Court has Agreed Judgment forms to use. Even if a Defendant agrees to a judgment, he or she may appear in Court to establish a method by which the judgment may be paid.

15. An appeal must be initiated within 30 days of the entry of judgment. Appeals are complicated. An attorney should be consulted regarding an appeal.

16. A Small Claims Litigant’s Handbook is available to help answer questions.  Small claims rules can be found at You can find information about your case at

17.  Pursuant to Indiana Supreme Court Order 22MS308 the court is required to advise parties in eviction cases of diversion programs and settlement conferences.