Summary Review of Court Systems -
Structure of Civil Courts
Wyoming Civil Courts are divided between circuit and district courts. The circuit and district courts are organized into nine (9) judicial districts, which cover one or more counties.
Basis of Jurisdiction
District courts are Wyoming’s court of general jurisdiction. District Courts have jurisdiction of all civil cases, where the amount in controversy exceeds $50,000. Wyoming District Courts also preside over all domestic relations, criminal, juvenile, and probate cases. District court decisions can be appealed to the Wyoming Supreme Court as a matter of right.
Circuit Courts are limited jurisdiction courts. Circuit courts’ civil case jurisdiction is limited to $50,000 maximum amount in controversy. Circuit Courts also handle all small claims cases under $7,500. Due to the limitation of the amount in controversy, Circuit Court rules only allow limited discovery and have quick trial settings. Circuit Courts also handle all forceable entry and detainer matters, misdemeanor criminal matters, domestic abuse protective orders, and criminal arraignment and bail hearings for district court criminal cases. Circuit Court decisions may be appealed to the district court.
Wyoming established a chancery court on January 1, 2020, for resolution of commercial, business, and trust cases seeking declaratory or injunctive relief and actions seeking money recovery over $50,000 that arise from claims including breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, derivative actions, the Uniform Commercial Code, and the Uniform Trust Code. The chancery court is still in the formation process, having been established by the Wyoming Legislature in October of 2019. The chancery court is expected to be open and available to begin taking cases in the late fall of 2020.
There is no requirement to mediate before filing an action in district court. A contract provision requiring mediation or requiring the parties to submit to mandatory arbitration is enforceable.
Wyoming courts have a mandatory mediation rule, which requires a court to order the parties to participate in alternative dispute resolution at the request of either party. As a matter of practice, almost all courts, as a part of the case management order, require that the parties engage in alternative dispute resolution before the trial.
- Business Litigation
- Construction Law
- Hospitality & Retail
- Insurance Law
- International Law and Corporate Transactions Business Guides
- Labor & Employment
- Product Liability & Complex Torts
- Professional Liability
- Transportation Law
- Workers' Compensation