Small Claims Division
Important Notice: All attorneys and pro se filers of 10 cases or more annually must file electronically. Some of the following instructions may not apply.
Small claims court matters shall consist of and be governed by Section 799 of the Wisconsin Statutes. The dollar limit amount for a small claims money action to be filed is $10,000.00 or under. The dollar amount limit for small claims Third-party, Personal Injury claims, and Tort claims are $5,000.00 or under. If filing an eviction action, the 5-Day Notice to Vacate must be attached to the Summons & Complaint.
Plaintiff: Party commencing the action.
Defendant: Party the action is against.
Where to File
The county in which the defendant currently lives or county where the claim arose. This can be done electronically on wicourts.gov or with the Clerk of Courts Office.
If you would like a copy returned to you with the case number and court date listed, enclose a self-addressed stamped envelope.
Also, the Wisconsin Court System website offers self-help assistance on filing a small claims case.
- Basic Guide to Wisconsin Small Claims Actions (form #SC-6000V)
- Pre-Judgment: Basic Steps for Handling a Small Claims Case for Eviction (form #SC-6010V)
- Pre-Judgment: Basic Steps for Handling a Small Claims Case for Recovery of Money (form #SC-6020V)
- Pre-Judgment: Basic Steps for Handling a Small Claims Case for Replevin (Recovery of Property) (form #SC-6030V)
Forms Needed to file a Small Claims Case
All summons and complaint forms must be printed or typed, not handwritten.
ALL eviction and replevin actions must be personally served.
- Calumet County Residents: Small claim summons and complaints for money judgements can be served by regular mail, Sheriff service or private service for Calumet County residents.
- Out-of-County Residents: Personal Service IS REQUIRED for all out of county defendants. The affidavit of service from the Sheriff’s Office, or from a private process server of your choice, must be filed at the Clerk of Court office before the action will be taken up in Court. The Sheriff or private service is REQUIRED in garnishment cases IF either the defendant’s or garnishee defendant’s address is outside of Calumet County.
- Pre-Judgment: Basic Steps to Small Claims Service (form #SC-6050V)
Cross Complaints and Counterclaims
Must be filed prior to the initial Return Date. If the total amount requested exceeds $10,000.00 the matter must be transferred to a civil case and the applicable fees paid.
- Pre-Judgment: Basic Steps for Filing an Answer to a Small Claims Complaint (form #SC-6040V)
CALUMET COUNTY SMALL CLAIMS LOCAL COURT RULE NO. 13:
Small Claims summons and complaints requesting money judgments only, can be served by regular mail by the Clerk of Courts for defendants residing in Calumet County. A $2.00 mailing fee per defendant is required. A party may opt to effect service consistent with Wis. Stats. § 799.12.
Personal service is required for out-of-county or out-of-state defendants, as well as for eviction actions and replevin actions. If, with reasonable diligence, defendants cannot be served by personal or substitute service, or mail is returned, the Clerk will issue a new return date allowing timely publication of a Class 1 notice under Chapter 985. Proof of service for out-of-county or out-of-state defendants, and for eviction and replevin actions must be filed with the Clerk of Courts PRIOR to the initial appearance, or the claim may be dismissed. Proof(s) of service that are mailed, faxed or e-filed with the Clerk of Courts must be received by 4:00 p.m. on the Monday preceding the initial appearance. Additionally, any communications to the Court must be received by 4:00 p.m. on the Monday preceding the initial appearance.
Commencing April 1, 2022, all parties are required to appear at the initial appearance, also known as the return date. Failure to appear by the plaintiff will result in dismissal; failure to appear by the defendant will result in the entry of a default judgment.
3. TELEPHONE AND/OR VIDEO APPEARANCES
Telephone and/or video appearances require prior court approval.
4. INITIAL APPEARANCES/RETURN DATES
Defendants must state whether the claim is contested and the reason therefore at the initial appearance. Pretrial conferences will be held immediately for contested cases. Prior to the pretrial conference, parties will be afforded an opportunity to negotiate the claim amongst themselves and should be prepared to do so. Attorneys appearing at the pretrial must have authority to act on behalf of their client(s). Defendants will be expected to state the reason(s) they are contesting the claim. Judgment may be entered if the court deems the defense stated is insufficient. A complaint, or a portion of a complaint, may be dismissed if it fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Testimony and/or evidence are NOT taken at the initial appearance. Contested hearings shall be scheduled with the court assigned to the case.
Defendants alleging claims against the plaintiff will be given a deadline at the initial appearance by which they must file a written counterclaim specifying their claim(s).
6. RENT AND DAMAGE HEARINGS
If an eviction is granted, a rent and damage hearing will be scheduled approximately 6 weeks from the granting of the eviction. A rent and damage list must be received in the Clerk of Court’s office no later than 4:00 p.m. on the Wednesday preceding the rent and damage hearing date. This notice SHALL state the date the notice was mailed to the defendant(s).
Pretrial motion hearings must be scheduled with the Court’s Judicial Assistant and may not be scheduled at the same time as the initial appearance or contested hearing. All motions must be filed and served on the other party pursuant to the provisions of Chapters 801 and 802, Wis. Stats.
8. SMALL CLAIMS HEARINGS
At the contested hearing (the "Court Trial"), the parties will be expected to present testimony, witnesses, their documentation supporting their claim or defense, and any other relevant evidence for the Court to consider in making a decision. Parties must provide an original and two copies of any exhibit they will be submitting to the court for review. Permission may be granted to present brief videotape evidence if requested at the pretrial. Any party granted permission to present videotape evidence must furnish their own equipment at the time of trial.
All requests for continuances of any small claims proceedings shall be made in writing, filed with the Clerk of Courts, with copies to the other parties at least five (5) business days prior to the scheduled court proceeding. If any party objects to the continuance, a telephone conference call must be arranged with the court at which time the request will be considered. Contested hearings will not be rescheduled if the request is less than five (5) business days prior to the hearing without the Court’s approval and a showing of good cause.
10. FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE
All money judgment debtors are required to make financial disclosures to their judgment creditor within 15 days after the date of entry of judgment unless the judgment is sooner satisfied. Failure to complete the financial disclosure may result in a contempt finding and issuance of an arrest warrant.
At the time of executing contempt warrants for small claims, the judgment debtor will be given the option of completing the financial disclosure form and paying the service fee, or posting the judgment amount in full including the contempt service fee. If neither is done, the judgment debtor shall be booked into jail on the contempt warrant and be brought before the Court at the designated time.
12. PROPER VENUE
A fundamental purpose of the small claims procedure is to permit unrepresented plaintiffs and defendants to appear in court and represent their interests in a legal dispute. When complaints are filed against defendants for disputes that do not arise in Calumet County, the basic purpose of small claims procedures is undermined, and the potential for unfairness to defendants is significant. Accordingly, complaints against defendants who reside outside of Calumet County shall be subject to being transferred to the county of residence of the defendant, unless the complaint provides a factual basis which establishes that the actual controversy arises from contacts or actions within Calumet County. The Court may review any complaints filed against defendants who do not reside in Calumet County for compliance with this rule. If the complaint does not establish a factual basis for establishing that the dispute arose from contacts within Calumet County, then the Court shall transfer venue to the proper county in Wisconsin. Associated fees may be assessed at the Court’s discretion.
13. SERVICE MEMBERS CIVIL RELIEF ACT:
A. A Declaration of Non-Military Service providing information on the defendant’s current military service status must be filed for each defendant listed on a summons and complaint. Wisconsin State Form Number GF-175 shall be used to comply with this rule.
B. A Declaration of Non-Military Service must also be filed when a party is proceeding with a Contempt Action in Small Claims Court.
C. Upon non-appearance by the defendant, judgment cannot be entered until the Declaration of Non-Military Service is filed. If it is not filed prior to or at the initial appearance date the case will need to be continued requiring the plaintiff to make an additional court appearance.
Rule 13 as amended herein, replaces Local Court Rule 13, dated October 12, 2007 and April 9, 2009 as well as Local Court Rule 13A dated August 13, 2013.
***** SMALL CLAIMS FILING FEES: $94.50 filing fee
$ 2.00 mailing fee per Defendant (unless outside of County)
***These fees will be added into your judgment by the Court. DO NOT include them in your amount.)
***These fees are payable to Clerk of Courts; Sheriff Service fees are payable to the Sheriff Department of county where Defendant is located.
COURTHOUSE TELEPHONE NUMBER: 920-849-1414 x3402
A Small Claims judgment remains in effect for 20 years. The Court does not collect on your judgment.
The judgment debtor (defendant) shall complete a Financial Disclosure Statement (form #SC-506) and mail it to the judgment creditor (plaintiff) or pay the judgment creditor in full, within 15 days of entry of the judgment or, under penalty of contempt. The Notice of Entry of Judgment and Financial Disclosure Statement will be mailed to all non-electronic parties by the Court.
All summons and complaint forms must be printed or typed, not handwritten.
- Post-Judgment: Basic Steps in Collecting on a Judgment for Money (form #SC-6090V)
- Post-Judgment: Basic Steps in Collecting on a Judgment for Replevin (form #SC-6100V)
Methods of Collection
Docket: An official list, open to public inspection, telling interested parties, such as creditors, that a judgment exists. A docketed judgment becomes a lien against any real estate owned by the debtor in Calumet County and remains in effect for ten years. If the debtor tries to sell the property, the purchaser will usually require that the lien be removed (by paying the creditor the judgment) before taking the title. There is a $5.00 fee to docket a judgment.
- Post-Judgment: Basic Steps for Docketing a Judgment for Collection (form #SC-6060V)
Transcript: Transfer of judgment to another county. A transcript of judgment may be obtained from the clerk and docketed in another county. If the debtor owns any real estate in the county where the creditor has forwarded the transcript, a lien will be placed on those properties. There is a $5.00 fee to the county issuing the transcript and a $10.00 fee to the county filing the transcript.
Contempt: If the debtor does not comply with the court’s order to return the Financial Disclosure Statement within 15 days from the date of judgment or has not paid the debt, the creditor may start proceedings to have the debtor held in contempt of court.
- To file for Contempt of Court, complete a Motion and Request for Hearing on Contempt & Order for Hearing on Contempt (forms #SC-507A & SC-507B). There is no filing fee for Contempt of Court but the Debtor MUST be personally served.
- After you file the Motion and Order for Hearing on Contempt with the Court and have it personally served on the debtor, the court will order the debtor to appear to explain why he/she failed to send the proper financial disclosures. Once in court, the Court will require the party to complete the Financial Disclosure Statement. If the debtor fails to appear, the court will issue a warrant for his/her arrest for being in contempt of court. The debtor can be placed in jail or ordered to pay a fine for each day he/she fails to make the required financial disclosure. The warrant can only be served if a middle initial and date of birth OR driver’s license number of the debtor are provided by the creditor.
Writ of Restitution: Legal procedure used to aid a landlord in evicting a tenant. When a Judgment of Eviction is granted, the court orders a writ. This writ gives the landlord the right to remove and store the Tenant’s property. The creditor must pay an additional $5.00 Writ fee to obtain a Writ of Restitution.
Writ of Replevin: Return of property as requested in complaint after Judgment of Replevin ordered. The procedure is the same as in the Writ of Restitution. The creditor must pay an additional $5.00 Writ fee to obtain a Writ of Replevin.
Execution: Legal procedure in which the Sheriff seizes the debtor’s property to pay a judgment. $5.00 Docket Fee and an Execution Fees are required before the clerk issues the execution.
- Post-Judgment: Basic Steps for Handling an Execution Against Property (form #SC-6080V)
Garnishment (Earnings and Non-Earnings): Legal procedure authorizing the creditor to be paid from the debtor’s wages or bank accounts. The creditor must pay an additional $92.50 Garnishment fee to obtain each garnishment. Earnings garnishments remain in effect for 13 weeks. If the judgment has not been paid in full after 13 weeks and you wish to continue garnishing the debtor’s wages, you may file and pay for a new garnishment action.
- Post-Judgment: Basic Steps for Handling a Small Claims Earnings Garnishment (form #SC-6070V)
- Post-Judgment: Basic Steps for Handling a Non-Earnings Garnishment (form #SC-6071V)
Auto Accident Judgment Above $500: Legal procedure in which the Creditor may suspend the Debtor’s driver license until the judgment is paid in full. The case must first be docketed, and a $5.00 Certification of Judgment fee paid to the clerk. The Creditor must provide the driver’s license number AND date of birth of the Debtor.
Satisfaction of Judgment
Legal form creditor MUST provide to Debtor upon payment in full of the judgment. Debtor MUST file the Satisfaction of Judgment with the Court and pay a $5.00 filing fee to satisfy the judgment.
- Satisfaction of Judgment or Partial Satisfaction of Lien: (form #GF-129)