Small Claims Unit

SMALL CLAIMS UNIT CONTACT INFORMATION

             Mary Jo Murray (920) 683-4024

MANDATORY EFILING FOR SC CASES TO BE 
IMPLEMENTED MARCH 1, 2017 FOR MANITOWOC COUNTY

-"mandatory e-filing" applies to all attorneys or high volume filing agents
  filing 10 or more cases per year.  Sec. 801.18(1)(h) defines "Filing agents"
  as a representative 
of a large organization (not a party on the case, but
  has the authority under sec. 799.06(2) to file cases on behalf of the
  organization)...only applies to 
small claims cases.  Landlords filing
  small claims actions in their own name are not high volume filing agents;
  they are pro se litigants......only if they are filing under a business name.

- pro se litigants can become voluntary e-filers

- refer to "E-FILING RESOURCES" for more information on becoming an
  e-filer and for
 information and guidelines relevant to efiling


SMALL CLAIMS INTAKE INFORMATION

Small Claims intake court is held every Tuesday afternoon (except for holidays), commencing at 1:30 p.m., followed by small claims eviction hearings at approximately 2:00 p.m., in the B-15 courtroom located in the lower level of the courthouse.  A court commissioner presides over small claims intake.  Small claims intake is open to the public.

BE ON TIME FOR COURT TO AVOID DISMISSAL OF YOUR CASE!

INTERPRETERS

If you need an interpreter, you need to advise the Clerk of Court office prior to your scheduled hearing, so arrangements can be made to have an interpreter available for your hearing, or you can complete an Interpreter Request and submit it to the Clerk of Court prior to your scheduled hearing. 

The Clerk of Court also has a bilingual Counter Clerk who speaks limited Spanish, who is available to assist our Spanish speaking community either in person or by telephone. 

One of our contracted Spanish interpreters has simultaneous interpreting equipment available upon request to provide simultaneous Spanish interpreting for multiple parties at once (i.e. defendant and other family members).  The equipment involves the interpreter wearing a headset microphone while the Spanish speaker would wear ear buds or an external ear piece connected to a receiver, which has volume controls.

SMALL CLAIMS CALENDARS

Intake Calendar (2017)
Chart to help determine filing periods for assigning initial appearance dates and process service deadlines.

Eviction Calendar (2017)
Chart to help determine filing periods for assigning initial appearance dates and process service deadlines.

Intake Calendar (2018)
Chart to help determine filing periods for assigning initial appearance dates and process service deadlines.

Eviction Calendar (2018)
Chart to help determine filing periods for assigning initial appearance dates and process service deadlines.


SMALL CLAIMS COMMISSIONER HEARINGS (PDF copy)

If a defendant contests the claim at the return date, the matter will be set for a 30-minute commissioner hearing.  The defendant will be required to file a written Answer within ten (10) business days of the return date.  The original must be filed with the court, and a copy must be provided to the plaintiff or plaintiff's attorney.  If no Answer gets filed, the commissioner hearing will be canceled and judgment will be entered in favor of the plaintiff.

Special provision for eviction cases: 
If a damages hearing is scheduled before the tenant has moved and the landlord has determined the amount claimed, the tenant is not required to file a Statement of Defenses before the commissioner hearing.  All parties are required to attend the commissioner hearing on the money damages; the landlord must prove all damages and the tenant may dispute any items claimed.  However, if the tenant has a counterclaim, an Answer and Counterclaim must be in writing and filed with the court at least  ten (10) days before the commissioner hearing, and a copy must be mailed or provided to the plaintiff or plaintiff's attorney.  

Commissioner hearings are held in the B-15 courtroom and are informal.  Both parties must be present.  Documentary evidence may be presented, but no exhibits are marked.  The parties may bring witnesses, although testimony will be strictly limited in order for each side to present its case in 15 minutes or less.  Settlement is encouraged.  If a compromise cannot be reached, the commissioner will decide based on the summarized facts presented.  If necessary, the commissioner may issue a written decision. 

Parties will receive a Demand for Trial at the end of the commissioner hearing.  If a formal hearing with a circuit court judge is desired, the Demand for Trial must be filed within ten (10) business days of the commissioner hearing.  If neither party demands a trial, judgment will be entered based upon the commissioner's decision.

APPEALS FOR THE WISCONSIN CIRCUIT COURT

The Supreme Court Clerk has prepared a handbook which outlines the basic rules and procedures for the Wisconsin Circuit Court of Appeals. This handbook pertains to civil, small claims and criminal appeals.

Citizens Guide to Filing an Appeal
A manual for filing an appeal to the Wisconsin Court of Appeals (Rev. 8/2015)
(Note: page 35 of the manual has direct links to each form).

Appellate Forms
Link for the required forms for filing an Appeal in the Wisconsin Court of Appeals.

Wisconsin Supreme Court and Court of Appeals
Website for contact information and FAQ.

Did you know that you can monitor the status of a Court of Appeals case online?  Simply go to Court of Appeals, click "I Agree", enter the Court of Appeals case number, then click "Search."

REQUEST CLERK TO ADD EFILING FEES AS COSTS TO BE INCLUDED IN JUDGMENT

Mail or fax a letter to the Civil or Small Claims Clerk requesting that the convenience fee and efiling fee be
included as part of the costs of filing for purposes of entering a judgment.  If payment was made by
an electronic check, the convenience fee is a flat $2.50, and if payment is made by a debit or credit
card, the convenience fee is 2.75%.  Manitowoc County Clerk of Court fax number is (920)683-2733.

SMALL CLAIMS MAIL SERVICE (E-FILED CASES)

For all small claims actions initiated as e-files, the Clerk of Court will print off copies of the Summons and 
Complaint for mail service on defendants who reside in Manitowoc County.  If personal service is required
or preferred by the filer, the filer will be responsible to print off copies for purposes of process service.

UPGRADING A SMALL CLAIMS CASE TO CIVIL

There will no longer be a mechanism available for a plaintiff to upgrade a small claims case to a civil case
when plaintiff's claim exceeds the statutory limit of $10,000.  The small claims will have to be dismissed and
a new civil case will need to be filed, paying the applicable civil filing fee and e-filing fee.  

RENTAL TERMINATION NOTICES

The Manitowoc County Clerk of Court has the following rental termination notices available for purchase ($1.25 per page).  Copies of the forms can be viewed in a “Rental Termination Notices” binder in the Clerk of Court lobby.

  • Form 327 -  28-Day Notice Terminating Tenancy
  • Form 328 -   5-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Vacate
  • Form 329 -   5-Day Notice to Vacate – Nuisance
  • Form 330 -   5-Day Notice to Correct Breach or Vacate
  • Form 767 -  14-Day Notice Terminating Tenancy for Breach of Rental Agreement
  • Form 768 -  14-Day Notice Terminating Tenancy for Failure to Pay Rent
  • Form 107 -   Affidavit of Service for Notice Terminating Tenancy
  • Form 108 -   Itemization of Damages
  • Form 109 -   Publication Notice

    NOTICE:  These forms are made available as a convenience to you.  We cannot provide any guidance or legal advice regarding which notice you should use….you need to make that determination based on your specific situation.

TEXT MESSAGE REMINDERS

You can now sign up to receive text message reminders for upcoming court hearings. 
Drop off or mail completed form to Clerk of Court office.
           ·Messages will be sent at 6:00 p.m. two days prior to any scheduled court activity
           ·Messages will not be sent on holidays or weekends
           ·Ad Hoc messaging can be done by court staff to advise parties of cancellations
           ·Text messages are supplemental notifications, provided as a convenience for customers
             who elect the service

FORMS / DOCUMENTS / PROCEDURES

Address Change (Manitowoc County form) used to accomplish new mail service; additional mail fee required 

Small Claims Summons & Complaint (SC-500) 

Declaration of Non-Military Service (GF-175) to provide information on defendant's military status

Answer and Counterclaim (SC-5200V) for defendant to provide formal reply to small claims complaint
or to make a counterclaim against plaintiff

Interpreter Request  (GF-149) to identify a party's need for an interpreter for a specific language 

Itemization of Damages (Manitowoc County form)  to itemize claim being made by plaintiff for unpaid rent and
damages in conjunction with an eviction action

Basic Guide to Wisconsin Small Claims Actions (SC-6000V)

Small Claims Procedural Information (Manitowoc County document)

Small Claims Service Information (SC-6050V) describes common methods of service available and service time limits 
-
Affidavit of Mailing (SC-5130V) to document, under oath, mail service of documents on another party
-Affidavit of Service - Eviction (SC-5100) to document service of process by a third party for an eviction action
-Affidavit of Service of SC-500 (Non-Eviction) Individual/Sole Proprietorship/Partnership (SC-5120) to
   document  service of process by a third party in a non-eviction action on an individual, a sole proprietorship,
   or a partnership
-Affidavit of Service of SC-500 (Non-Eviction) Corporation or Limited Liability Company (SC-5110) to
   document service of process by a third party on a corporation or limited liability company

Motion for Contempt (SC-507A) to initiate a proceeding to enforce the Order for Financial Disclosure Statement

Order for Hearing on Contempt (SC-507B) order scheduling hearing for enforcement of Order for Financial Disclosure

Motion to Reopen Small Claims Judgment  (SC-515A) for plaintiffs or defendants who failed to appear at a small
claims hearing even though they had notice of the hearing; form allows parties to request a hearing to reopen the default judgment

Order to Reopen Small Claims Judgment (SC-515B) order for hearing to reopen default judgment

Petition to Answer or to Reopen Small Claims Judgment (SC-511) for defendants who claim that actual noticeby mail of the summons and complaint did not occur; form allows defendant to petition to reopen judgment or get additional time to answer complaint

Satisfaction of Judgment  (GF-129) used to satisfy a lien or judgment

Stipulated Judgment of Dismissal  (Manitowoc County instructions and form)

Demand for Trial   (SC-517) when you disagree with a Commissioner's decision, demand a trial before a circuit court judge within 10 business days of commissioner hearing (oral decision) or within 15 calendar days of the mailing of a written decision

Request for Writ of Restitution  (Manitowoc County form)

Writ of Restitution (SC-512) to direct Sheriff to remove defendant from property, and  if applicable, supervise removal of defendant's property from the property in question

More Small Claims Forms (wicourts.gov) forms are available in both PDF and Word format; also view Form Summaries for brief description of purpose and use of the form.

LINKS

The Wisconsin Way  (Landlord/tenant resource) publication

Manitowoc County Local Court Rules for county specific small claims procedure information