Key Takeaways:

  • Civil trials in small claims court can last anywhere between an hour and two days. In a regular case, trials are seldom less than 2 full days.
  • You can appeal a verdict of a case in Wisconsin, though you may not be successful.
  • It is very unlikely that any court will allow you to start a new lawsuit on a matter that you have already lost in court, rather than an appeal.
  • If you are served with a Summons and Complaint or any other court document, you absolutely have to reply and serve an Answer in response. If you are unsure about how to do so, you should consult with an attorney. Most summonses have time limits, so you should be careful to adhere to them.
  • When looking for a civil law attorney, the three most important things to look out for are: Experience, your ability to develop a rapport with the attorney, and your ability to agree on terms of billing.

In small claims court, a trial could conceivably take less than a whole day. However, in a regular case, a trial is very seldom less than 2 days, and some can take multiple weeks.

I had a single-day jury trial only once in my career. All of my other jury trials have been at least two days long, and I had one that went the better part of two weeks.

High-profile cases tend to last even longer than two weeks. That was the case in the Johnny Depp-Amber Heard trial. However, two weeks is the longest I’ve ever been to trial personally.

That gives you some idea of why it’s so expensive to go to trial, because you are paying for a lawyer to be working more or less every waking minute of the day for multiple days, perhaps multiple weeks. The lawyer also has to do preparation for trial, which can take even longer than the actual time spent in trial itself.

Can I Appeal A Verdict Of A Civil Case In Wisconsin Or Do I File A New Lawsuit If I Lose In Civil Court?

The simple answer to the first question is that yes, you can appeal the verdict of a civil case in Wisconsin. Whether you have any reasonable chance of success on appeal is a different question.

In most cases, there is a good reason why the party that lost in the trial court actually lost, and why the party that won actually won. So, I would almost never tell anybody that the odds for a different result are greater than 50% on appeal.

That having been said, judges do make mistakes. Sometimes a mistake is so clear that an appeal is likely to result in a different outcome. Other times, the mistakes were debatable, and the appeal is not a sure thing by any means, but it does have a significantly greater than zero chance of leading to a different result.

So, the appeal is often worth taking either to try to get a different result or to leave room for negotiation with the winning party.

As for filing a new lawsuit if you lose your initial lawsuit, you almost certainly will not be able to do so. Litigation is very expensive and time-consuming, and the courts rightly look askance at people’s attempts to rehash something that they’ve already brought to court before

I Was Served With A Summons, Complaint, Or Other Document In Wisconsin. Do I Have To Respond? If So, How Do I Answer And When Do I Need To?

You absolutely have to answer and respond to any legal document that you are served in Wisconsin. I occasionally run into people who, despite the clear phrasing of the summons, don’t seem to understand the concept. It never works out well for those people.

I would, of course, urge that if you have been served with a Summons and Complaint, you contact a lawyer as soon as possible.

Typically, one answers a Summons and Complaint by filing a written document called an Answer within a specified time. That is something a lawyer can do for you. You could try to do it yourself, but you have to be careful, because if you do it wrong or do it at the wrong time, you may lose by default.

As for the question of long you have to answer, the deadline should be specified in the summons—though sometimes, even lawyers make mistakes and put the wrong deadline in there. The deadline could be as short as three weeks (or less) under certain circumstances. So, it’s important to act promptly when you get served.

What Should I Be Looking For In A Civil Law Attorney?

I would say that when you are looking for a civil law attorney, experience would be the most important thing to keep an eye out for.

You should also look for somebody who you have a good rapport with, and you may be able to figure that out just by talking to them for 15 minutes or so, to see if you feel comfortable talking to that person.

But I would say, experience and a good relationship are the two most important things, aside from the ability to reach a mutually acceptable fee arrangement.

For more information on the Timeline Of A Civil Trial In The State Of WI, 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.
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