Wisconsin Small Claims Court
The Wisconsin small claims court is a division of the Circuit Courts in the State of Wisconsin. They are courts of limited jurisdiction that hears cases and controversies involving torts, contracts, debts and landlord/tenant actions where the amount in question does not exceed $5,000. The Wisconsin small claims court is presided over by a commissioner or judge. There are no jury trials in the small claims court but either party may make a demand for a jury trial. If this occurs the case will be removed to the Circuit Court. In the Wisconsin small claims court there is no need for an attorney, due to the relaxed rules of evidence and civil procedure, but you are permitted to have an attorney with you in court.
To commence an action in Wisconsin small claims court a plaintiff must file a Summons & Complaint with clerk of the Circuit Court of the county that has jurisdiction over the case. Personal jurisdiction is had in the court of the county where the defendant resides, where the defendant can be found, where the contract was signed or to be performed, or where the property in question is found. The complaint needs to include the name, address, and phone number of the parties involved; the amount of damages being sought; and an explanation for why the defendant owes money. There are different kinds of complaints that must be filed depending on the action being commenced. The clerk of the Circuit Court will charge a fee of between $22 to $85 in order to process the complaint.
Once the complaint is filed the plaintiff is required to serve process upon the defendant. This is to inform the defendant of the case pending against him, when and where to appear in court, and an opportunity to respond to the allegations. The Wisconsin small claims court requires that this be done by certified mail with return receipt requested. If the defendant refuses service or the action involves an eviction then the plaintiff must pay the sheriff, of the county where the defendant resides, to personally serve the defendant with the complaint and service.
If you would like to commence an action against a defendant in a Wisconsin small claims court you may find the proper court by visiting this www.wicourts.gov/ to find the small claims court that has jurisdiction over the case.