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What are Wyoming Small Claims Cases and Class Action Lawsuits?

Wyoming makes provisions to allow individuals, organizations, or any other entity to demand reparations for any injury suffered due to the actions or inaction up to $6,000. The circuit court has jurisdiction over small claims cases, and cases from this court can be appealed to the district court.

Under Rule 23 of the Wyoming Rules of Civil Procedure, a class action is a collective lawsuit where a group of people can seek justice at the same time. Persons who have been affected by tax deduction, employment action, environmental hazards, amongst others, can file for small claims and action in Wyoming.

Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching more straightforward, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for a specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:

  • The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
  • The location or assumed location of the document or person involved

Third-party sites are independent of government sources and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party websites may vary.

What Cases are Heard by Small Claims Courts in Wyoming?

The circuit court in Wyoming hears small claim cases such as;

  • Monetary Disputes: These types of cases usually involve unpaid debts or breach of contract.
  • Property Disputes: Involves trespassing on someone’s property or causing damages to another person’s property.
  • Landlord and Tenant Disputes: Issues over rent or other deposits are sorted in the small claims court.
  • Employment Action: Employees who have been maltreated in terms of payment or other areas can sue the employer in the small claims court for compensation.

What is a Class Action Lawsuit in Wyoming?

A class-action lawsuit is a litigation effort by many individuals against a defendant to redress for similar injuries, following Rule 23 of the Wyoming Rules of Civil Procedure. A class-action case involves a group of people who all claim to have suffered a similar injury, and the damage is too small for each claim to be worthwhile.

How do I File a Claim in a Wyoming Small Claims Court?

Parties who wish to file for small claims will need to complete the Small Claims Affidavit and send it to the circuit court clerk. The form will include the defendant’s full address, the nature of the claim, the amount due in damages or recovery, and a statement that a demand for payment has been made and refused. The court will charge a filing fee of $10.00 as well. After the affidavit has been filed, the court will serve a summons to the defendant and order a court appearance.

Do I Need a Small Claims Lawyer?

There is no requirement by law that dictates that either side must possess an attorney during a small claims case. The person, partnership, or corporation involved in the dispute can choose to represent themselves throughout the entire process. Nevertheless, an attorney works to provide legal counsel during the process, and both parties are eligible to obtain an attorney as legal representation during the process. Suppose one party engages the services of an attorney during the process, the other party is eligible to file a continuance to obtain an attorney for themselves if one was not previously present.

How do Class Action Lawsuits Work in Wyoming?

A process to start a class-action lawsuit begins when a person appointed as the lead plaintiff for a group of plaintiffs files a complaint to the district court. The complaint contains relevant information to the lawsuit such as the name of the plaintiff, the class of the individuals who will be covered by the lawsuit, the name of the defendant, the name of the court along with its jurisdiction, the class action allegations which details the claims of the plaintiff against the defendant and the demand of the plaintiff for reparation for the claims made. After filing the petition, the court will serve a copy to the defendant, who must respond. The answer to the complaint contains a list of the plaintiff’s allegations and the defendant’s response to each, along with a request to the court for relief from the consequences of the lawsuit.

Following Rule 23 of the Wyoming Rules of Civil Procedure, a class-action lawsuit has to be certified by the court for it to proceed. After receiving both the plaintiff’s and the defendant’s statements, the court will decide if to or if not to certify the class action based on the validity of the claims. If the court certifies the plaintiff’s claim, the court will issue a Brief of Certification, which will allow the motion of the plaintiff to move forward. This is the start of a class-action lawsuit. Following certification, a process called discovery ensues in which the attorneys of the plaintiff can request documents from the defendant. The documents obtained are to be used to prove the allegations leveled against the defendant. After this, a trial follows or a settlement on the part of the defendant. The court will notify the members involved in the class-action lawsuit of the settlement of the case and the eligible compensation. A class-action lawsuit is a complicated legal matter and, as such, can take a long time to resolve. A class-action lawsuit can last between nine months to over two years, depending on the magnitude of the suit.

Is a Class Action Better Than a Single Party Suit?

A class-action lawsuit is not inherently better than a single person suit, but it is the most viable option when similar claims for injury from large numbers of people exist. A class-action lawsuit will allow for the disposal of all the individual claims at once. A class-action case is usually the preferable method of legal redress as a single person suit might be impractical to handle due to the individual claim being relatively minor.

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