Small Claims Procedure

Where Do I Get Forms to File a Lawsuit?

Small claims forms are available from the Clerk of Circuit Court's office in the Government Center. You can reach them by phone at 715-349-2147 or visit the Wisconsin State Courts website for more information.

Small Claims Action

A small claims action may be filed if the claim does not exceed $10,000. All eviction cases, regardless of damages claimed, as well as consumer credit replevins are filed in small claims court. You are responsible for presenting your own case. It is not necessary to have an attorney. Form SC-500 is the general summons and complaint used for most small claims.

Filing the Summons and Complaint

Both the Summons and the Complaint must be filed to begin a lawsuit. The original Summons and Complaint must be filed with the Clerk of Court. A case number and Return Date will be assigned at that time.

Service By Summons

For money-only Complaints, the Summons and Complaint can be served by mail for a fee of $2 per defendant, or by certified mail for a fee of $2 per defendant plus the cost of the certified mail only if the defendant lives in Burnett County. For all other situations, the Summons and Complaint must be personally served to the defendant by a sheriff, private process server, or any adult resident of the State who is not a party to the lawsuit. Service must be made eight days prior to the initial appearance (five days for an eviction) excluding weekends and holidays.


A copy of the Summons and Complaint should be personally served to the defendant or to a competent member of the defendant's household. If after reasonable diligence the defendant cannot personally be served, the plaintiff may call and ask for adjournment to allow for service by publication. Publication is accomplished by placing a notice in the legal section of a local newspaper for one week and mailing a copy of the summons and complaint to the defendant's last known address. Publication forms are available from the Clerk of Court office.