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Wisconsin Rules of Civil Procedure

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No, however process servers must be authorized by the county court in which he or she is serving. Visit ServeNow.com’s Become a Process Server page for more information.

Wisconsin Process Serving Requirements

An authenticated copy of the summons may be served by any adult resident of the state where service is made who is not a party to the action. Service shall be made with reasonable diligence.

Wisconsin Rules of Civil Procedure

Please note that lobbyists are active in the state of Wisconsin and laws concerning civil procedure and process serving can change. Therefore the information listed below may have been amended. For updated process serving legislation, please visit the Wisconsin Courts web site.

801.095 Summons form.

The summons shall be substantially in one of the forms specified in subs. (1) to (4). The applicable form depends on the type of service and on whether a complaint is served with the summons, in accordance with s. 801.09. The forms are:

STATE OF WISCONSIN CIRCUIT COURT: _ COUNTY A. B. Address City, State Zip Code File No._, , Plaintiff vs. S U M M O N S C. D. Address _(Case Classification Type): _ (Code No.) City, State Zip Code, Defendant

THE STATE OF WISCONSIN, To each person named above as a Defendant: You are hereby notified that the Plaintiff named above has filed a lawsuit or other legal action against you. The complaint, which is attached, states the nature and basis of the legal action.

Within 45 days of receiving this summons, you must respond with a written answer, as that term is used in chapter 802 of the Wisconsin Statutes, to the complaint. The court may reject or disregard an answer that does not follow the requirements of the statutes. The answer must be sent or delivered to the court, whose address is _
, and to _, Plaintiff’s attorney, whose address is _. You may have an attorney help or represent you.

If you do not provide a proper answer within 45 days, the court may grant judgment against you for the award of money or other legal action requested in the complaint, and you may lose your right to object to anything that is or may be incorrect in the complaint. A judgment may be enforced as provided by law. A judgment awarding money may become a lien against any real estate you own now or in the future, and may also be enforced by garnishment or seizure of property.



NOTE: Sub. (1) is shown as affected by two acts of the 1997 legislature and as merged by the revisor under s. 13.93 (2) (c).

  • Personal service; no complaint attached.
STATE OF WISCONSIN CIRCUIT COURT:
_ COUNTY A. B. Address City, State Zip Code File No._, , Plaintiff vs. S U M M O N S C. D. Address : __ (Code No.) City, State Zip Code, Defendant

THE STATE OF WISCONSIN, To each person named above as a Defendant:

You are hereby notified that the Plaintiff named above has filed a lawsuit or other legal action against you.

Within 45 days of receiving this summons, you must respond with a written demand for a copy of the complaint. The demand must be sent or delivered to the court, whose address is _
, and to _, Plaintiff’s attorney, whose address is _. You may have an attorney help or represent you.

If you do not demand a copy of the complaint within 45 days, the court may grant judgment against you for the award of money or other legal action requested in the complaint, and you may lose your right to object to anything that is or may be incorrect in the complaint. A judgment may be enforced as provided by law. A judgment awarding money may become a lien against any real estate you own now or in the future, and may also be enforced by garnishment or seizure of property.

Dated:
, __ (year)
A. B., Plaintiff or E. F., Plaintiff’s Attorney



NOTE: Sub. (2) is shown as affected by two acts of the 1997 legislature and as merged by the revisor under s. 13.93 (2) (c). STATE OF WISCONSIN CIRCUIT COURT: _ COUNTY A. B. Address City, State Zip Code File No._, , Plaintiff vs. S U M M O N S C. D. Address _(Case Classification Type): _ (Code No.) City, State Zip Code, Defendant

THE STATE OF WISCONSIN, To each person named above as a Defendant:

You are hereby notified that the Plaintiff named above has filed a lawsuit or other legal action against you. The complaint, which is also served upon you, states the nature and basis of the legal action.

Within 45 days after
, __ (year), you must respond with a written answer, as that term is used in chapter 802 of the Wisconsin Statutes, to the complaint. The court may reject or disregard an answer that does not follow the requirements of the statutes. The answer must be sent or delivered to the court, whose address is , and to , Plaintiff’s attorney, whose address is _. You may have an attorney help or represent you.

If you do not provide a proper answer within 45 days, the court may grant judgment against you for the award of money or other legal action requested in the complaint, and you may lose your right to object to anything that is or may be incorrect in the complaint. A judgment may be enforced as provided by law. A judgment awarding money may become a lien against any real estate you own now or in the future, and may also be enforced by garnishment or seizure of property.

Dated: , (year)
A. B., Plaintiff or E. F., Plaintiff’s Attorney



NOTE: Sub. (3) is shown as affected by two acts of the 1997 legislature and as merged by the revisor under s. 13.93 (2) (c).

801.095 – ANNOT. NOTE: 1999 Wis. Act 32 mistakenly stated “40 days” rather than “45 days” in the 3rd full paragraph of the form. The form is printed here with the correct number. Legislation is pending that confirms that no change to the 3rd paragraph of the form was intended.

STATE OF WISCONSIN CIRCUIT COURT: _ COUNTY A. B. Address City, State Zip Code File No._, , Plaintiff vs. S U M M O N S C. D. Address _(Case Classification Type): _ (Code No.) City, State Zip Code, Defendant THE STATE OF WISCONSIN, To each person named above as a Defendant: You are hereby notified that the plaintiff named above has filed a lawsuit or other legal action against you. Within 45 days after , __ (year), you must respond with a written demand for a copy of the complaint. The demand must be sent or delivered to the court, whose address is , and to , Plaintiff’s attorney, whose address is _. You may have an attorney help or represent you.

If you do not demand a copy of the complaint within 45 days, the court may grant judgment against you for the award of money or other legal action requested in the complaint, and you may lose your right to object to anything that is or may be incorrect in the complaint. A judgment may be enforced as provided by law. A judgment awarding money may become a lien against any real estate you own now or in the future, and may also be enforced by garnishment or seizure of property.

Dated: , (year)
A. B., Plaintiff or E. F., Plaintiff’s Attorney



NOTE: Sub. (4) is shown as affected by two acts of the 1997 legislature and as merged by the revisor under s. 13.93 (2) (c).

History: 1983 a. 323; Sup Ct. Order, 171 Wis. 2d xix (1992); 1997 a. 187, 250; 1999 a. 32; s. 13.93(2) (c).

801.10 Summons, by whom served.

History: Sup. Ct. Order, 67 Wis. 2d 585, 600 (1975); 1975 c. 218; Sup. Ct. Order, 92 Wis. 2d xiii (1979).

Judicial Council Committee’s Note, 1979: Sub. (2) is amended to clarify that the individual who serves the summons on behalf of the plaintiff under the procedures in the Wisconsin Rules of Civil Procedure must indicate on the copy of the summons served both the time and date of service. There is presently a lack of uniformity of interpretation in Wisconsin of the term “time” in 801.10 (2). Some jurisdictions interpret it to include time and date of service while other jurisdictions interpret it as only the date of service. Clarifying that both the time and date of service must be indicated in the serving of the summons will insure that this potentially valuable information is noted on the served copy of every summons in Wisconsin. Sub. (4) (a) is amended to also apply the requirement for indicating time and date of service to the affidavits and certificates of service used when proof of service is challenged. [Re Order effective Jan. 1, 1980]

Case Notes:

801.11 Personal jurisdiction, manner of serving summons for.

A court of this state having jurisdiction of the subject matter and grounds for personal jurisdiction as provided in s. 801.05 may exercise personal jurisdiction over a defendant by service of a summons as follows: 1m. In the presence of a competent adult, currently residing in the abode of the defendant, who shall be informed of the contents of the summons; or
  1. Pursuant to the law for the substituted service of summons or like process upon defendants in actions brought in courts of general jurisdiction of the state in which service is made.
  1. If with reasonable diligence the defendant cannot be served under par. (a) or (b), service may be made by publication of the summons as a class 3 notice, under ch. 985, and by mailing. If the defendant’s post-office address is known or can with reasonable diligence be ascertained, there shall be mailed to the defendant, at or immediately prior to the first publication, a copy of the summons and a copy of the complaint. The mailing may be omitted if the post-office address cannot be ascertained with reasonable diligence.
  2. In any case, by serving the summons in a manner specified by any other statute upon the defendant or upon an agent authorized by appointment or by law to accept service of the summons for the defendant.

History: Sup. Ct. Order, 67 Wis.2d 585, 602 (1975); 1975 c. 218; 1977 c. 339 s. 43; 1979 c. 89, 102, 177; 1983 a. 192 s. 303 (2); 1985 a. 225; Sup. Ct. Order, 130 Wis.2d xix (1986); 1993 a. 112, 184, 265, 399, 491; 1997 a. 140. Cross-reference: As to service on corporation, see also s. 180.0504.

Judicial Council Note, 1986: Sub. (1) (b) is amended to permit substituted service upon residents of other states. Service upon nonresidents may be made either as provided for Wisconsin residents or in accordance with the substituted service rule of the state wherein service is made. [Re Order eff. 7-1-86]

There is no requirement in cases of substituted service that the affidavit recite that the process server used “reasonable diligence” in attempting to make personal service, but substituted service after 2 calls when defendant was not found, with no effort to learn where he was, was not sufficient to support jurisdiction. Heaston v. Austin, 47 Wis.2d 67, 176 N.W.2d 309.

Where a village is defendant, service is void if made upon the clerk’s wife in his absence. Town of Washington v. Village of Cecil, 53 Wis.2d 710, 193 N.W.2d 674.

The words “apparently in charge of the office” in (5) (a) refer to what is apparent to the process server. When a receptionist referred the process server to her superior, who did not send the server to the proper office, the server could serve him, particularly since the superior had accepted service of process in other actions without objection by the company. Keske v. Square D Co. 58 Wis.2d 307, 206 N.W.2d 189.

Where personal jurisdiction is challenged under the “long arm” statutes, the burden is on the plaintiff to prove prima facie the facts supporting jurisdiction. A plaintiff who relies on (5) is required to establish as a predicate that the defendant entered into some consensual agreement with the plaintiff which contemplated a substantial contact in Wisconsin. Afram v. Balfour, Maclaine, Inc. 63 Wis.2d 702, 218 N.W.2d 288.

Where affidavit of service under (5) (a) did not identify person served as one specified in (5) (a), no presumption of due service was raised. Danielson v. Brody Seating Co. 71 Wis.2d 424, 238 N.W.2d 531.

Where husband could have ascertained wife’s address by contacting any one of several relatives and in-laws, prerequisite “due diligence” for service by publication was not established, despite sheriff’s affidavit. West v. West, 82 Wis.2d 158, 262 N.W.2d 87.

County civil service commission is “body politic” under (4) (a) 7. Watkins v. Milwaukee County Civil Service Comm. 88 Wis.2d 411, 276 N.W.2d 775 (1979). Exact identity and job title of person upon whom service was made was not critical to issue of whether person was “apparently in charge of office” under (5) (a). Horrigan v. State Farm Ins. Co. 106 Wis.2d 675, 317 N.W.2d 474 (1982).

See note to 62.13, citing Gibson v. Racine Police & Fire Comm. 123 Wis.2d 150, 366 N.W.2d 144 (Ct. App. 1985).

“Reasonable diligence” under (1) discussed. Welty v. Heggy, 124 Wis.2d 318, 369 N.W.2d 763 (Ct. App. 1985).

Indian tribal sovereignty is not infringed by service of process in a state action made on tribal lands. Landerman v. Martin, 191 Wis.2d 788, 530 N.W.2d 62 (Ct. App. 1995).

Service of process on some of the partners in a general partnership is sufficient to properly commence a civil action against the partnership that will be binding on the partnership assets and the partners served. CH2M Hill, Inc. v. Black & Veatch, 206 Wis.2d 369, 557 N.W.2d 829 (Ct. App. 1996).

Admission of service by an assistant attorney general or a clerk specifically designated for that purpose by the attorney general will constitute service of process within the meaning of (3). 63 Atty. Gen. 467.

See note to 801.05, citing Chilcote v. Shertzer, 372 F Supp. 86.

NOTE: Section 801.11 (7) was repealed by 1997 Wis. Act 140. Corrective legislation is pending.

801.13 Summons; when deemed served.

A summons is deemed served as follows:

805.07 Subpoena.

Issuance and Service.

Subpoenas shall be issued and served in accordance with ch. 885. A subpoena may also be issued by any attorney of record in a civil action or special proceeding to compel attendance of witnesses for deposition, hearing or trial in the action or special proceeding.

Subpoena Requiring the Production of Material.

Protective Orders.

Upon motion made promptly and in any event at or before the time specified in the subpoena for compliance therewith, the court may (a) quash or modify the subpoena if it is unreasonable and oppressive or (b) condition denial of the motion upon the advancement by the person in whose behalf the subpoena is issued of the reasonable cost of producing the books, papers, documents, or tangible things designated therein.

Form.

SUBPOENA STATE OF WISCONSIN

(Handwritten Signature)

Attorney for

(identify party) (or other official title) (Address) (Telephone Number)

Substituted Service.

A subpoena may be served in the manner provided in s. 885.03 except that substituted personal service may be made only as provided in s. 801.11 (1) (b) and except that officers, directors, and managing agents of public or private corporations or limited liability companies subpoenaed in their official capacity may be served as provided in s. 801.11 (5) (a).

(6) Motions under sub. (3) may be heard as prescribed in s. 807.13. History: Sup. Ct. Order, 67 Wis.2d 585, 697 (1975); 1979 c. 110; Sup. Ct. Order, 141 Wis.2d xiii (1987); 1987 a. 155; 1993 a. 112; Sup. Ct. Order, No. 95-09, 195 Wis.2d xiii (1996); 1997 a. 250.

Judicial Council Note, 1988: Sub. (6) [created] allows motions for protective orders to be heard by telephone conference. [Re Order effective Jan. 1, 1988] Judicial Council Note, 1995: Sub. (2) (b) requires notice of third-party discovery subpoenas in order to preserve the right of other parties to move to quash them. Court may quash under (3) only subpoena to compel production of tangible things, not subpoena to compel attendance of witnesses. State v. Gilbert, 109 Wis.2d 501, 326 N.W.2d 744 (1982).

885.01 Subpoenas, who may issue.

The subpoena need not be sealed, and may be signed and issued as follows:

History: 1971 c. 164; 1973 c. 272, 305, 336; 1977 c. 29 s. 1650m (4); 1977 c. 305; 1979 c. 34; 1989 a. 56; 1993 a. 486; 1997 a. 191. Cross-reference: See s. 805.07 concerning issuance of subpoenas by attorneys of record. See note to 71.74, citing State v. Beno, 99 Wis.2d 77, 298 N.W.2d 405 (Ct. App. 1980). See note to 120.13, citing Racine Unified School Dist. v. Thompson, 107 Wis.2d 657, 321 N.W.2d 334 (Ct. App. 1982). See note to 227.46, citing 68 Atty. Gen. 251.

885.02 Form of subpoena.

SUBPOENA STATE OF WISCONSIN Given under my hand this _ day of _, ___ (year)

885.03 Service of subpoena.

Any subpoena may be served by any person by exhibiting and reading it to the witness, or by giving the witness a copy thereof, or by leaving such copy at the witness’s abode.

885.04 Municipal judge; subpoena served in state.

A subpoena to require attendance before a municipal judge may be served anywhere in the state if authorized by the municipal judge, and shall require the attendance of any witness so served. History: 1977 c. 305.History: 1993 a. 486.

You should contact an Wisconsin Process Server if you have specific questions about Process Serving in Wisconsin.