CHAPTER 429

FORMERLY

HOUSE BILL NO. 589

AN ACT TO AMEND CHAPTER 95 OF TITLE 10 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO PROCEDURES OF THE JUSTICE OF THE PEACE COURT.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE:

Section 1. Amend subsection (a) and (c), Section 9501, Title 10 of the

Delaware Code by adding the word "court" after the words "Justice of the peace"; and by striking the word "he" as it appears in subsection (b) and inserting the words the court" in lieu thereof.

Section 2. Amend Section 9502, Title 10 of the Delaware Code by adding the word "court" after the words "justice of the peace"; and by deleting the word "himself" and inserting the words "the court" in lieu thereof.

Section 3. Amend Section 9505, Title 10 of the Delaware Code by striking the words All justices of the peace in this State, after passing judgment in all civil and criminal cases," as they appear at the beginning of the first sentence, and inserting "After entering judgment in all civil and criminal cases, the Justice of the Peace Courts" in lieu thereof.

Section 4. Amend Section 9522, Title 10 of the Delaware Code by deleting all of the language following the phrase in the first sentence "(tlhe writ of summons in an action under this subchapter shall be issued" and by inserting in lieu thereof:

"under the seal of the Justice of the Peace Court, dated on the day it is issued, stating the sum demanded, and the date for the defendant's appearance, which shall be made by the filing of any written motion or pleading purporting to be responsive to, or affecting, the complaint, no later than 15 days from the date received."

Section 5. Amend Title 10 of the Delaware Code by deleting the text of the existing Section 9523 in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof the following new text:

"The summons in an action under this subchapter shall be of the following form:

County, ss. The State of Delaware.

TO ANY CONSTABLE OF SAID COUNTY OR OTHER DULY APPOINTED PROCESS SERVER:

We command you to summon the defendant(s), and serve

upon said defendant(s) a copy of this summons and complaint.

TO THE DEFENDANT(S):

Within 15 days after you receive this Summons, excluding the day you receive it, you must complete and return to the Justice of the Peace Court (address), the enclosed Answer (or other such filing) if you deny owing all or part of the money claimed as a debt against you by the plaintiff in the Complaint.

Failure to file an Answer, or other written document related to this claim, with the Justice of the Peace Court may result in a default Judgment being entered against you and action may be taken by the plaintiff, such as the attachment of your wages or the attachment and sale of your property, to satisfy the judgment.

DATED:

Justice of the Peace/Clerk'"

Section 6. Amend subsection (a), Section 9537, Title 10 of the Delaware Code by deleting the existing subsection (a) in Its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof the following new subsection (a):

"(a) After verification of the return of service, if a defendant, being duly summoned in an action under this subchapter, fails to appear by written motion or pleading at or before the date provided for in the summons, or at any time to 'which the cause is regularly adjourned, judgment by default may be entered, by a Clerk of the Court for a sum certain or for a sum which can by computation be made certain or by the Justice of the Peace in all other cases in which the party is entitled to judgment by default. The Court may conduct such hearings as it deems necessary and proper."

Section 7. Amend subsection (a), Section 9538, Chapter 95, Title 10 of the Delaware Code by deleting the word "justice" and inserting the word "court" In lieu thereof.

Section 8. Amend subsection (a), Section 9542, Chapter 95, Title 10 of the Delaware Code by deleting the phrase "before a justice" which follows the words "[e]very judgment".

Section 9. Amend subsection (a), Section 9544, Chapter 95, Title 10 of the Delaware Code by deleting the phrase "a justice of the peace" which follows the words "upon every judgment given by and inserting the words the court" in lieu thereof.

Section 10. These amendments shall become effective January 15, 1995.

Cases filed prior to January 15, 1995, shall not be affected by these amendments.

Approved July 14, 1994.