Key Takeaways:

  • The best way to sue a company that is based in Wisconsin is usually to retain a Wisconsin-based attorney and sue in a Wisconsin Court.
  • In certain circumstances, it is possible for people from outside of Wisconsin to sue a Wisconsin-based company in their own state. However, this depends on the jurisdictional rules in your case.
  • In Wisconsin, you can sue for a maximum of $10,000 in Small Claims Court, except for tort (i.e., injury) cases, which cap at $5,000.
  • If you are suing a business in Wisconsin, you usually only have to appear in court if you have no attorney. The exception is if the case goes to trial, and you are called as a witness.
  • Technically, civil courts can solve any issues that are not criminal. That largely means disputes over property, money, and sometimes both hurt bodies and hurt feelings. Civil courts cannot make people like each other, but they can decide right or wrong and assign damages.
  • Civil claims have statutes of limitations, so it’s usually best to file sooner rather than later.
  • Civil cases do NOT have to go to trial in Wisconsin, and most do not.

Typically, the easiest way to sue a company that is based in Wisconsin is to retain a lawyer in Wisconsin and sue the company in a court in Wisconsin.

Depending on the sort of case that you have, it is conceivable that you may be able to sue a Wisconsin company in your own state. That just depends on the jurisdictional rules involved.

However, the easiest way to file a lawsuit and enforce a judgment if you are successful in the lawsuit is to go to court where the company is located in Wisconsin.

How Much Can You Sue For In A Small Claims Court In Wisconsin?

Typically, you can sue for a maximum of $10,000 in small claims court in Wisconsin.

However, in cases involving torts—which is a fancy word that largely means injuries—the limit is only $5,000.

Will I Have To Appear In Person If I File A Lawsuit Against A Business In Wisconsin?

If you don’t have a lawyer in your lawsuit against a business in Wisconsin, you definitely will have to appear in person.

If you have a lawyer in your lawsuit against a business in Wisconsin, you quite likely will never have to appear in person.

The exception to that rule is if the case does go all the way to trial. If the case goes to full trial, you will likely be called as a witness if it’s your case, and so you’ll have to appear and tell your side of the story. It’s possible that it wouldn’t be the case, but most likely you would be a witness if the case ever went to trial.

However, if a case resolves before trial, the lawyer will almost certainly be able to do everything for you without you having to come to Wisconsin.

What Sort Of Issues Can Be Resolved Through Civil Litigation?

In theory, virtually anything can be resolved through civil litigation.

You obviously can’t have somebody prosecuted for a crime through civil litigation, as that’s what the criminal courts are for. But all sorts of other issues involving money and issues involving property—whether it’s real estate, a vehicle, or any other piece of movable property—can be solved in Civil Court. I’ve had cases involving cars, motor homes, firearms, valuable jewelry, and things of that sort.

Some sorts of issues involving either hurt bodies or hurt feelings can possibly be resolved through civil litigation as well. The courts can’t force people to like each other, for better or for worse. They can, however, cause money to change hands. They can tell people who is right and who is wrong and can assign damages.

But there is no way that any court can definitively reconcile people’s emotions if they are committed not to be reconciled.

How Long Do I Have To File A Civil Claim In Wisconsin?

The length of time that you have in which to file a civil claim in Wisconsin varies widely depending on what kind of case you have.

In some matters, there may be certain things that have to be done to preserve the claim, within just a few months from whenever the claim arises.

An example might be a claim for discrimination. In discrimination cases, you have less than a year to act on the claim, and if you fail to take the necessary actions in terms of filing a charge with either the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or the Equal Rights Division of the State Government, you may be out of luck in less than a year.

In other kinds of civil cases, the answer is that you typically have multiple years to file your claim. But, that can be as little as 3 years, or as long as 10 – depending on the type of case.

One of the things that a lawyer can and will tell you when you get involved is that it’s almost always better to act sooner rather than later when it comes to civil claims.

Every year I have a client who comes in on something or the other who just waited too long and missed the relevant statute of limitations. Often, when you do that, there is nothing I can do to really help you. Hire a lawyer sooner rather than later.

Does My Civil Case Have To Go To Trial In Wisconsin?

No, in fact, most cases don’t go to trial, in Wisconsin or elsewhere.

I would say that well over 90% of cases resolve one way or another prior to trial. There are several ways for a case to resolve before trial.

The most common way for a case to resolve prior to trial is through a settlement. In this method, the parties negotiate either directly or through a mediator and reach an agreed-upon settlement that resolves a case before trial.

Another way that cases sometimes resolve before trial is that one side or the other brings a Motion to Dismiss or a Motion for Summary Judgment. Those motions essentially involve one side going before the Court and asking the Court to rule that there are no credible issues in the case. If the Court agrees, then it will usually dismiss the case.

Typically, those motions are brought by defendants who think that the case against them has no merit. If the Court agrees, it may dismiss the case before a trial.

Sometimes the plaintiff may have a case so strong that the plaintiff moves the Court to rule in the plaintiff’s favor without a trial, because the plaintiff is just so clearly right that there is no viable defense.

Actually going to trial happens far less than 10% of the time.

For more information on Suing A WI Based Company From Out Of State, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (920) 759-8114 today.

T. Wickham Schmidt, Esq. A Professional Service Corporation

If You Have More Questions About Your Case.
Call Wick Today (920) 759-8114

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