Wyoming Civil Court Records
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What are Wyoming Civil Court Records?
Wyoming civil court records are official documents containing information regarding the litigation processes of Wyoming civil courts. These documents are designed to provide an official account of civil suits filed within the jurisdiction of the state and are primarily generated and maintained by the clerk of courts of court in which the case was heard. They feature all information relevant to the case as well as details of court actions, motions and motion arguments, court appearances, witness testimonies, and the court’s final verdict including financial claims and court-issued rights. Interested members of the public may find Wyoming civil court records in the jurisdiction where the case was heard.
Types of Cases Heard by Wyoming Civil Courts
Cases entertained by Wyoming civil courts are usually pertaining to inter-person or organization related disputes. These cases are the result of complaints usually following a personal injury, property damage or contract breaches. Wyoming civil courts have jurisdiction over all civil cases filed within the state’s jurisdiction. The cases heard by civil courts include:
- Cases related to unlawful termination
- Breach of contract related cases
- Consumer complaints
- Landlord/tenant disputes, interpersonal and workplace disputes
- Negligence and battery
- Claims caused by character defamation such as slander and libel
- Tort, equitable claims
The Wyoming Civil Court System
Wyoming’s judicial system ascribes jurisdiction over the state’s civil cases to Wyoming District Courts and Wyoming Circuit courts. Both courts are also unified under the authority of the Wyoming Supreme Court, which serves as Wyoming’s court of last resort, providing centralized support to all state courts within its jurisdiction.
Based on their judicial authorities, Wyoming District Courts hear all civil cases in which the financial claim or amount in dispute is $7000 or more. On the other hand, Wyoming Civil Courts exercise jurisdiction over small claim cases and civil suits where the claim does not exceed $50,000. There are 8 judicial districts in Wyoming, each of which has one or more district and/or circuit courts. Civil cases are heard by the court in the jurisdiction where the complainant or defendant is domiciled. Upon receiving the suit, the defendant is informed and a pre-trial conference is scheduled in which both parties may opt to negotiate a settlement in the company of their legal representatives and under the supervision of a judge.
If unable to reach a compromise, the case proceeds to trial and is heard by a Wyoming-licensed judge. After the initial hearing, the plaintiff/defendant may appeal the court’s judgment in the state Supreme Court. Reviews made by the Supreme Court are final and binding.
What is Included in a Wyoming Civil Court Record?
Wyoming civil court records are designed to provide an objective, official account of the court’s legal processes. As such, these records typically include details of the place and date the original suit was filed, the response of the defendant to the original complaint, proceedings of the pre-trial hearing/conference (if deemed non-confidential), evidence filed by both parties, details of court actions, motions, court appearances, witness statements and testimonies as well as motion arguments.
In addition to the above, civil court records usually feature information pertaining to the court’s final judgment as well as the financial settlements granted (if applicable). Where court-issued rights are granted such as spousal support and alimony, child support, child custody, and child visitation, details and conditions of these rights may also be included. Also indicated are penalties issued by the court where either party is held in contempt during the court proceedings. Penalties may include jail terms, fines, community service or probationary conditions. Where the original verdict is the case is reviewed by an appellate court, the administrative arm of the court will include relevant updates to the court record.
Are Wyoming Civil Court Records Open to the Public?
As provided by Wyoming ‘s public record laws indicated in the Rules Governing Access to Court Records publication, all court records including civil court records are presumed open to public access unless otherwise authorized by a court or court-issued order. While the state of Wyoming supports the right of the public to access civil court case information, these rights are not absolute. Records sealed by court order or deemed confidential may only be made available to selected persons. Court records not available for public access are mentioned in Rule 6 of the public. They are as follows:
- All records indicated in Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 16–4–203(b) and (d)
- The personal and contact information of selected persons including juveniles, minors, and domestic violence protection order petitioners’ and their children’s identifying information
- Selected information pertaining to legal actions in which public offices are involved
- Guardianships and conservatorships records as well as records related to children in need of supervision proceedings and records from child abuse and neglect proceedings
- Details of the financial status of the parties involved as well as their social security numbers, financial bank account numbers, and credit card numbers
- Records pertaining to nolle pressed charges
- Records related to involuntary commitment to psychological evaluation and mental health assessments.
Other general civil court case information such as details of court orders, actions, motions and motion arguments, court appearances, and dispositions are usually available to the public. However, while public court records are accessible via online repositories the distribution of confidential/sealed court case information through online channels is restricted.
How do I Obtain Civil Court Records In Wyoming?
The state of Wyoming provides a variety of channels through which interested members of the public may access civil court records. The requesting party may access these records using state or third-party operated aggregate sites, by making in-person record requests to the custodian or by sending written requests to the courthouse where the case was heard. The requirements for accessing these court records may vary from court to court and may be impacted by the confidentiality of the record.
Accessing Wyoming Civil Court Records In-person
In-person court record requests are especially recommended for persons seeking access to full-court case information given the state’s restriction to electronic record access. To obtain records in person, the requesting party is required to visit the courthouse where the case was filed and meet the eligibility requirements of the record custodian. Record requests can be completed with several quick steps.
- Find the Record Custodian
Given that civil cases in Wyoming are usually heard by the various district or circuit courts within the state, court case records are generated and managed by the court’s various clerks. In order to make in-person record requests for civil court records, the requesting party must proceed by locating the judicial district in which the case was tried. The location of a record may also be impacted by the most current status of the case, and where a verdict has been reviewed by an appellate court, the record will likely be updated and managed by the administrative arm of the court. However, records of cases that have been deemed ‘closed’ will be in the custody of the clerk of courts in the courthouse where the case was heard. The addresses and contact information of the various district and circuit courts in the state can be obtained on the District Court Location or Circuit Court Location page.
- Gather The Required Information
Most record custodians have unique requirements for accessing court records depending on the record of interest. As such, requesters are advised to contact the court clerk’s office subsequent to confirming the judicial district where the case was heard. Generally, the requesting party is required to provide any information required to facilitate record searches including the full name of the parties involved, as well as the case file number, docket number or appellate file number of the record. In addition, requestors may have to provide general case information to ease record searches including the full names of the litigant(s) of one or both parties as well as the approximate date on which the suit was originally filed.
- Request the Record
Prior to visiting a courthouse to request a record, requestors are generally advised to schedule their visit with the record custodian beforehand. However, all in-person requests must be made to the office of the court clerk during official working hours. Where the record of interest is not confidential and the requesting party does not require authentication of the document, requestors may be allowed to self-serve using public access terminals available in the courthouse. If the request being made is for a certified or confidential record, requestors will be provided with a request form with which to indicate information relevant for the search.
- Provide Identification & Fee Requirements
In addition to providing information to facilitate record searches, requestors may also be required to pay a nominal fee to cover search and copy costs, as well as present a government-issued photo ID in order to prove their eligibility to access a record. Where the record is confidential, requestors must present a court order authorizing their access in addition to the ID and fees.
Accessing Wyoming Civil Court Record Via Mail
The Wyoming state judiciary also allows interested members of the public access to civil court records via U.S. mail. Depending on the record and the judicial district where the case was heard, the requirements for accessing court records via mail may vary. As such, requestors are advised to contact the record custodian for information regarding the process before making a request. These specificities notwithstanding, requestors are generally required to prepare a written request containing:
- General information regarding the civil suit, including the approximate date the case was filed
- The type of record required
- Identifying information of the parties involved
- The case file number of the record of interest
- Information regarding the litigants of either or both parties—i.e. their names and/or state bar numbers
- The personal and contact information of the requesting party
In addition to the above, some record custodians may request additional information or requirements for accessing the record of interest. This may include the requestors ID, a cheque or money order payment of the applicable fees and a stamped, self-addressed envelope.
Accessing Wyoming Civil Court Records Online
The Wyoming Judicial Branch provides a variety of online resources with which interested members of the public can access civil court records remotely or using the court’s public terminals. Each district and circuit court within the jurisdiction of the state maintains a repository that houses records relevant to its own judicial district. However, the state operates a centralized E-filing system that maintains records generated by the state’s appellate courts.
The District Court Location or Circuit Court Location pages may be used to obtain information regarding various circuit and district courts as well as their respective online resources. However, the Wyoming Appellate E-Filing tool is featured on the Wyoming Judicial Branch website. The tool may be used to obtain appellate court generated records by conducting case searches, issue searches, and participant searches.
To search for a record by case number, users will be required to provide the case number of the record of interest, the status of the case and the approximate date on which the record was docketed.
Issue searches can be conducted using the case subtype information, and details of the issue (i.e. adoption, abuse/neglect, etc.). To find a record by its participant, the requestor must provide the full name of one or both of the parties involved or the name of the company, if applicable.
In addition to the above, publicly available records are accessible from some third-party websites. These websites offer the benefit of not being limited by geographical record availability and can often serve as a starting point when researching a specific or multiple records. To find a record using the search engines on these sites, interested parties must provide:
- The name of someone involved providing it is a not a juvenile
- The assumed location of the record in question such as a city, county, or state name
- Third-party sites are not government-sponsored websites, and record availability may differ from official channels
Accessing Sealed Civil Court Records in Wyoming
While the state of Wyoming supports the right of the public to view or obtain copies of civil court records, this right is not absolute. Some records/information may be sealed or deemed confidential following requests from the parties involved or court order. To access sealed court records, the requesting party must meet specific eligibility requirements.
Given the restrictions on the distribution of confidential records all requests for sealed or confidential records must be made in-person to the office of the record custodian. All requests for confidential records require a court order or subpoena. This must be issued by a Wyoming licensed judge. However, a subpoena will only be issued if the requested record(s) have been proven to be legally or financially relevant. In selected cases, the requesting party may be required to obtain written consent from the subject(s) of the record to access the document.