Wisconsin Guide to Small Claims Court

blocks with court symbols engraved on themWisconsin Guide to Small Claims Court Adobe PDF

Does someone owe you money? Has your landlord unjustifiably failed to return your security deposit? Did you order merchandise that the retailer has failed to deliver? Has a merchant failed to comply with the terms of a guarantee?

If so, you should consider the possibility of bringing a lawsuit in small claims court. You may not need an attorney, and the rules are simpler than in most court proceedings. Any individual and any corporation doing business in Wisconsin can sue or be sued in small claims court.

Small claims court may only be used for certain types of cases. The most common types of small claims cases are:

  • Claims for money—civil actions where the amount claimed is $10,000 or less, if the actions or proceedings are:
    • For money judgments only
    • For garnishment of wages (to enforce judgments from funds owed to the debtor) when the amount owed is $10,000 or less
  • Tort/personal injury actions where the amount claimed is $5,000 or less
  • Evictions, regardless of the amount of rent claimed
  • Replevins (repossessions of property):
    • Non-consumer credit actions for replevin if the value of the property claimed is $10,000 or less
    • Consumer credit transactions (for return of personal property that was the subject of a lease or credit from a dealer) when the amount financed is $25,000 or less

Four less common types of small claims cases are:

  • Actions for the return of earnest money tendered pursuant to a contract for purchase of real property, regardless of the amount claimed
  • Actions for the confirmation, vacation, modification or correction of an arbitration award where arbitration was in settlement of a controversy arising out of a transaction for the purchase of real property, regardless of the amount of that award
  • Actions by municipalities to recover a tax from a person liable for that tax, where the amount claimed is $10,000 or less
  • Eviction action due to foreclosure

Need more information? Download the Wisconsin Guide to Small Claims Court Adobe PDF.

Back to guides