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It is a formal document signed by a judge or Clerk of Circuit Court, stating that the defendant owes you money or the return of property.
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What is it you are suing for? Small claims can be used for the following:
Small Claims Summons and Complaint forms are available in our office, Room 2080.
You must have the following to fill out the Summons and Complaint:
After you fill out, sign, and date the Summons and Complaint, file the forms and any attachments with the Clerk of Courts, Room 2080 of the Judicial Center. A court date and a case number will be assigned by the clerk. You must pay a filing fee of $94.50 at the time of filing. You will then be responsible for seeing that the papers are properly served, paying any service fees, and filing proof of service with the court.
All Summons and Complaints must be personally served on each named defendant. After filing the Summons and Complaint, it is the plaintiff's responsibility to arrange for personal service, pay the service fees, and file the Proof of Service prior to or on the court date. See the Walworth County Sheriff's Office page for further information regarding their civil process procedures and fees. If the defendant lives outside of Walworth County, the plaintiff is responsible for getting the papers to the Sheriff in the county where the defendant resides and pay their service fees. Plaintiff may also employ the services of a private process server; costs vary.
Personal service must be completed at least eight days prior to the return date, excluding weekends and holidays. Eviction actions must be served at least five days prior to the return date, excluding weekends and holidays.
If, after reasonable diligence, the defendant cannot be served by personal service or substitute service, then service may be completed by mailing and publication (see 801.11(c) and 985.02(1)). A legal publication shall be published for one insertion where the defendant resides or is likely to see the publication. Plaintiff must also mail the Summons to the defendant(s) at the last known address. In Eviction cases, however, if after reasonable diligence, the defendant cannot be served by personal service or substitute service, then service may be made by posting and mailing (see 799.16(3)(a)). A copy of the summons and complaint may be affixed to some part of the premises where it may conveniently be read at least seven days prior to the return date, with an additional copy being mailed to the defendant at the last-known address at least five days prior to the return date.
All cases will be called before the Judicial Court Commissioner on the return date.
A defendant who resides in the state of Wisconsin is required to appear in person on the return date if they wish to contest the claim.
A defendant who is a non-resident of the State of Wisconsin must either appear on the scheduled return date or file and serve a written answer at least 72 hours prior to the court date and time (section 799.22(4)). If an answer is properly filed and a request to adjourn said hearing is made by the defendant, the initial appearance will be scheduled for a future date. A written answer, however, is not in lieu of an appearance.
If the plaintiff fails to appear, the case will be dismissed.
The following are the possibilities:
Either party may file a "Demand for Trial" within 10 days of the oral decision by the court commissioner or within 15 days after a written decision by the court commissioner. The matter will then be set for trial before the judge or a jury.
The party requesting the court or jury trial before the Circuit Court judge, must complete the "Demand for Trial" form for the purpose of defining the issues and estimating the time required to hear the trial. If a jury trial is demanded, a jury request fee of $89 plus $36-6 person jury fee are to be paid (814.63(3)(e)), (799.2194)). You must file the demand with the court and send a copy to the other party. It is best to use certified mail so you have proof that you did so.
Please see section 704.14 and section 704.21 regarding legal notice to vacate the premises. After proper notice to vacate has been given the tenant, the landlord may start an eviction action. Proof of service of proper notice must be filed upon commencing an action. The landlord should produce a written lease if one exists. The tenant should have receipts of canceled checks if their defense is based on payment. Photographs regarding the condition of the premises may also be helpful.
Effective June 10, 2020, through August 31, 2020, a Declaration of CARES Act Verification must be filed on all eviction actions. Failure to do so will result in either a dismissal of the action or a continuance by the Court in order to gain compliance.
If the case is decided in your favor, you will get a judgment against the defendant. If the defendant fails to appear or answer, you will get a default judgment. Either way, you get a judgment. Your judgment will include court costs and fees allowed by law; filing fee, service fee, subpoena fees or witnesses, statutory attorney fees based on the amount of damages awarded, interest at 5% from the due date to date of judgment to be computed by the requesting party) and 12% thereafter until the amount is paid.
You may docket the judgment or commence a garnishment action.