Archive for the ‘Editorials’ Category
A new report from the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform has identified several issues the Wisconsin Civil Justice Council is working to fix in Wisconsin as critical to improving the nation’s business climate.
The New Lawsuit Ecosystem: Trends, Targets and Players, “examines the developing lawsuit “ecosystem” and areas of litigation of most concern to the business community. The report examines the trends and players in six key litigation areas, offers insights into new emerging liability threats, and explores the growing alliance between state attorneys general and the plaintiffs’ bar.”
Lisa A. Rickard, president of the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform (ILR), issued the following statement applauding Governor Scott Walker for signing into law the Transparency in Private Attorney Contracting Act (AB 27). The law promotes transparency and limits contingency fees when the State of Wisconsin hire outside private plaintiffs’ lawyers. (more…)
The Fall 2013 edition of The Third Branch, a quarterly publication of the Director of State Courts Office, is now available.
One of many topics covered in this issue is the 35th anniversary of the creation of the Wisconsin Court of Appeals.
Building off of the historic reforms signed into law in 2011-12, Gov. Scott Walker on Friday, December 13 signed three more important civil justice reforms into law. Below is a summary of each bill signed into law by Gov. Walker:
- Transparency in Private Attorney Contracting (AB 27): Authored by Rep. Mike Kuglitsch (R-New Berlin) and Sen. Glenn Grothman (R-West Bend), AB 27 reins in excessive attorneys’ fees by setting tiers for contingency fees as a percent of recovered amounts ranging from 25% to 5%. Transparency is achieved through the requirement that a copy of the executed fee contract be posted online. In addition, the private attorney must maintain time records and keep detailed records of expenses, disbursements, etc. for four years after the contract terminates.
- Physician’s Duty of Informed Consent: Overturning Jandre v. Wisconsin Injured Patients and Families Compensation Fund (AB 139): Authored by Rep. Jim Ott (R-Mequon) and Sen. Glenn Grothman (R-West Bend), AB 139 protects Wisconsin physicians and hospitals from unnecessary and costly lawsuits. Passed on a bipartisan vote, AB 139 overturns a Wisconsin Supreme Court decision and clarifies the proper standard for physicians when informing patients of alternate medical modes of treatment and about the benefits and risks of those treatments.
- Lemon Law Reforms (AB 200): Authored by Rep. Bill Kramer (R-Waukesha) and Sen. Jerry Petrowski (R-Marathon), AB 200 removes Wisconsin’s previously dubious reputation of having the worse lemon law in the nation. The new law makes a number of changes, including: 1) eliminating mandatory double damages, 2) adding time for manufacturers to deliver a comparable vehicle, 3) reducing the statute of limitations, 4) adding a good faith requirement, and 5) clarifying what it means for a vehicle to be out of service.
“The Wisconsin Civil Justice Council thanks Gov. Walker for his continued commitment to enhancing the state’s litigation climate and making Wisconsin a more attractive place to start and grow a business,” said Bill G. Smith, WCJC President and State Director of the National Federation of Independent Business.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has published an opinion piece by WCJC officers Bill G. Smith and Scott Manley explaining why SB 13/AB 19, which provides transparency and prevents fraud in lawsuits involving personal injury trusts by creating certain discovery requirements during litigation, is good for Wisconsin businesses. (more…)
On January 27, 2011, Gov. Walker signed into law 2011 Wisconsin Act 2, which contained numerous civil liability reforms supported by the Wisconsin Civil Justice Council. One of the most important pieces of this legislation was the adoption of the Daubert standards for the admission of expert opinion evidence, bringing Wisconsin in line with the entire federal system and a majority of states.
Thanks to Act 2, Wis. Stat. § 907.02 now requires experts to be qualified by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education. Testimony must be based upon sufficient facts or data, it must be the product of reliable principles and methods, and the witness must apply the principles and methods reliably to the facts of the case.
While it is clear that Daubert is now the absolute standard for expert testimony going forward, a recent court of appeals decision highlights the fact that there are still a limited number of cases in which it may not be applied because those cases were ongoing before the new law (Act 2) went into effect. (more…)
The Wisconsin Civil Justice Council has been the vanguard of the civil justice reform movement in Wisconsin since its 2009 formation. The many reforms championed by WCJC over the past three years will be highlighted by the American Tort Reform Association (ATRA) at its Annual Legislative Conference for State Coalition Leaders this fall.
The U.S. House of Representatives is voting today on the bi-partisan Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency (FACT) Act, which would require asbestos trust claimants to disclose certain information about relief they have sought before pursuing litigation. (more…)
Christian Schneider’s most recent piece in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel exposes the questionable legal action Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.) is taking to seek remedy for her lung cancer – suing 70 companies that she believes contributed to her exposure to asbestos when she was a child while not mentioning she has been a smoker for 40 years. As Schneider explains, lawsuits like this threaten the solvency of trusts set up to compensate actual asbestos victims by firms that went bankrupt, while also placing a burden on solvent companies. (more…)