Posts Tagged Small Claims Court

Small Claims Jurisdictional Limit Increased To $10,000

Wisconsin’s small claims jurisdictional limit was increased from $5,000 to $10,000 effective July 1, 2011.  This increase was included in Governor Walker’s 2011-2013 Budget Bill.

The jurisidictional limit for small claims in Wisconsin was set at $5,000 back in 1995 and has remained the same for 16 years.

I see this as a positive change for debt collectors and potentially landlords. 

All eviction actions — regardless of the amount of rent owed — must be brought in small claims court as small claims has exclusive jurisdiction of all eviction actions.  Because of this, a landlord is allowed to receive a judgment for past due rent well beyond $5,000.  So this jurisdictional change will not affect the amount of any past due rent judgement.  But until now, a landlord was limited to obtaining a judgment for $5,000 or less in small claims for any physical damages to the rental property caused by the tenant.  So this increase in small claims jurisdictional limit will be advantageous for landlords in such a situation.

Additionally, this change will also positively affect landlords bringing straight collection actions (which does not include a cause of action for eviction) against  ex-tenants that skipped out owing past-due rent and/or damages greater than $5,000.

Since most tenants are not collectible, I am not sure if this change will greatly affect landlords . . . but it certainly won’t  hurt them. 

It should be noted that this increase in the small claims jurisdictional amount does NOT apply to third-party complaints, personal injury lawsuits, or tort claims.

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Update On Who May Represent A LLC in Eviction Court: New Rules To Start September 1st

Those of you that have been following my blog are aware that Milwaukee County Small Claims Court has indicated that it will not allow non-attorneys to represent LLC’s in court in the near future.

My earlier posts on this topic can be read here and here.

A fellow board member from the AASEW informed me today that one of the owner’s of a property he manages was handed the notice that I reproduced in my earlier post (you can read it here here), as he was leaving small claims court.  The notice indicated that he would no longer be allowed to represent his LLC’s in small claims court as of September 1, 2009.

He indicated to the commisioner that handed him the notice that he was a full-time employee of the LLC and therefore can appear on behalf of the LLC in small claims court as allowed under Sec. 799.06(2) of the Wisconsin Statutes.  The court commissioner’s reply was something to the effect that, ” I see you down here [small claims court] a lot, and you have many LLC’s.  There is no way that you can be a full-time employee of all of them or you would have to work hundreds of hours per week.”

This issue seems to coming to a head very soon.  Unless you are a full-time employee of an LLC, and you have written records to prove this, it looks as if September 1, 2009, will be the deadline by which you will need to have made arrangements to have an attorney represent your LLC’s in Milwaukee County Small Claims Court or risk having your case either adjourned or dismissed.

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