Can You Reopen a Wisconsin Small Claims Case After Default Judgment or Dismissal?

Probably, depending on how much time has elapsed.

When a defendant or plaintiff in a small claims case fails to follow certain court rules, the court may issue a default judgment against the defendant or dismiss the plaintiff’s case. This commonly happens when one of the parties fails to appear for a court hearing.  Whether you are the plaintiff or the defendant, you may file a motion to reopen the case within 12 months of the judgment of dismissal.  The Wisconsin Court System has created Form SC-515, which you may fill out and file as your motion to reopen the small claims case. After you file the motion, the court will determine whether there is good cause to reopen the case and notify you of its decision. Do not delay in filing this motion. If you wait, the court may be less likely to grant your request.

If you are a defendant and you did not learn about the small claims case until after the court entered a judgment, you may petition the court to reopen the case by filing Form SC-511. This form is used when a plaintiff claims he served you with the summons and complaint by mail, but you never received them. You must file the petition within one year of when the court entered a judgment against you. This form can only be used if you learned about the judgment within 15 days of filing the petition. As a result, it is important that you do not delay.

If you are interested in having an appeals lawyer assist you with having your Wisconsin small claims case reopened, please contact the Alderman law Firm today for your free consultation by calling 720-588-3529 (CO) or 608-620-3529 (WI).