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Bill Would Raise Small Claims Limit

The Wisconsin Assembly Committee on Judiciary and Ethics heard testimony Tuesday on a bill raising the dollar limit in small claims court. (Assembly Bill 524)

The current dollar limit in small claims court is $5,000. The bill would raise it to $10,000 if the person bringing the action has commenced 20 or fewer actions in small claims. The filing fee would be increased to $33 (a 50% increase) to compensate the counties for the increased caseload.

However, the limit would remain $5,000 If the person bringing the action has commenced more than 20 such actions in small claims within the previous 365 days. The filing fee for these users would be raised to $44 (a 100% increase) so that frequent users pay a higher share of the court costs.

According to Committee Chairman Gary Hebl (D-Sun Prairie) who put forth the bill, the first tier ($10,000 limit) is designed for small business people and others who use small claims court only occasionally. The second tier ($5,000 limit) is designed for credit card companies, utility companies and other frequent users, such as large property management firms who use small claims court on a nearly constant basis.