Limitation Changes for Small Claims Court

July 26, 2011

The 2011-13 Wisconsin budget bill raises the limit on many types of small claims actions. Effective July 1, 2011, the monetary limit for small claims actions for money judgments, replevin, attachments, and garnishments is $10,000 or less. Previously, the small claims limit was $5,000 or less. The increased limit does not apply to personal injury claims, tort actions, or third-party complaints.
Wisconsin only allows small claims proceedings for certain types of actions. With the passage of the Act, the following limitations apply to the categories of small claims actions:

These changes should result in a greater number of cases brought in small claims court. The changes will also result in small claims court becoming a venue for more financially significant litigation.
Small claims court provides a variety of advantages to claimants. The cost of filing a small claims action is only $94.50 compared to a filing fee of $265.50 for larger civil claims. Small claims court also provides a less formal way to obtain a judgment against another party. Less formality results in reduced legal expenses. Small claims court is designed to be simpler and involve less paperwork. Small claims cases also tend to be resolved in a shorter period of time.
For more information on the 2011-13 Wisconsin budget bill and its effect on small claims proceedings, please contact any of the attorneys in the Employment, Benefits & Labor Relations Practice Group of Ruder Ware.

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