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Notice of appeal from municipal court judgment may be served on opposing counsel by email

Village of Thiensville v. Conor B. Fisk, 2015AP576-FT, District 2, 8/26/15 (one-judge decision; ineligible for publication); case activity (including briefs)

Sending the opposing party with a copy of a notice of appeal by email attachment satisfied § 800.14(1)‘s requirement that the appellant “giv[e] the municipal judge and other party written notice of appeal within 20 days of the judgment or decision.”

After being convicted of an offense in municipal court Fisk filed a notice of appeal with the municipal court and, on the same day, attached a copy of the notice to an email he sent to the municipal prosecutor. The prosecutor convinced the circuit court that Fisk was required to use a method of delivery prescribed by § 801.14(2) and (4)—namely, hand-delivery, fax, or mail—prior to filing that notice with the court, and that the invalid service deprived the circuit court of jurisdiction. Not so, says the court of appeals:

¶3        Wisconsin Stat. § 800.14(1) places no requirements on the method of delivery for a written notice of appeal. That is not changed by the fact that Wis. Stat. § 801.14(2) and (4) has more specific service requirements generally applied to civil actions in circuit courts. See Wis. Stat. § 801.01(2) (Wis. Stat. chs. 801 to 847 govern procedure and practice “in circuit courts of this state in all civil actions … except where different procedure is prescribed by statute or rule”). We presume that when the legislature has excluded words from a statute, that it has excluded them for a purpose. C. Coakley Relocation Sys., Inc. v. City of Milwaukee, 2008 WI 68, ¶24 n.10, 310 Wis. 2d 456, 750 N.W.2d 900. The legislature did not prescribe in § 800.14(1) that written notice of an appeal of a municipal court judgment had to be delivered by hand, fax, or mail to the opposing party prior to being filed with the municipal court, and we will not do so here. Fisk provided written notice of his appeal to the Village pursuant to § 800.14(1) when he emailed a copy of that notice twenty days after the municipal court judgment. That is all that the law requires.

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