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A brief guide to understanding small claims cases

1. Complaint:
This document initiates a small claims action. The summons and complaint are completed by the plaintiff in a case. The plaintiff is the party bringing the claim to court. The complaint must set forth the claim for money, return of property, eviction, or personal injury damages that the plaintiff seeks to recover.

2. Answer and Counterclaim:
This document is completed by the defendant in a small claims action. It allows the defendant to complete a formal reply to claims made by the plaintiff in the complaint. Additionally, if the defendant also has a claim to file against the plaintiff, it may be included as a counterclaim in the case.

1. Complaint:
This document initiates a small claims action. The summons and complaint are completed by the plaintiff in a case. The plaintiff is the party bringing the claim to court. The complaint must set forth the claim for money, return of property, eviction, or personal injury damages that the plaintiff seeks to recover.

2. Answer and Counterclaim:
This document is completed by the defendant in a small claims action. It allows the defendant to complete a formal reply to claims made by the plaintiff in the complaint. Additionally, if the defendant also has a claim to file against the plaintiff, it may be included as a counterclaim in the case.

3. First Appearance/Return Date:
The first hearing in a small claims action. Depending on county rule, one or both parties must appear at this hearing. The parties may schedule the matter for mediation, additional conferences, or may schedule a contested trial date. Please consult a local attorney for the best practice in your county.

4. Trial:
A contested hearing where both parties may present witnesses, evidence, and arguments regarding the merits of their claims and defenses. Before attempting to handle a contested small claims case, please consider consulting with an attorney. Each county has a specific set of rules that must be followed and failure to comply may result in an adverse outcome or default judgment.

We serve the Wisconsin Fox Valley area and beyond including Appleton, Oshkosh, Green Bay, Waupaca, Chilton, Fond du Lac, Shawano and beyond.

To speak with an attorney on any Small Claims matter, Family Law / Divorce, or Criminal Defense, call Petit & Dommershausen at 920-739-9900.

Great outcomes don’t “just happen”.