WCJC Legislative Priorities
WCJC’s preferred approach is to develop and advance civil justice reforms working with the business community, elected officials and others who share our goals. Often, however, it is necessary to fight an aggressive anti-business agenda advanced by the plaintiffs’ bar that would weaken the state’s ability to attract new or keep existing businesses. WCJC has been successful at both promoting positive legislation and defeating harmful legislation.
The bills listed below are of particular importance and an analysis and links to key documents are provided by clicking the issue title. WCJC’s Tracking Report, prepared by the Hamilton Consulting Group, provides a status of all bills of interest to WCJC.
Rep. André Jacque (R-DePere) and Sen. Glenn Grothman (R-West Bend) introduced SB 13/AB 19, which provides transparency and prevents fraud in lawsuits involving personal injury trusts by creating certain discovery requirements during litigation. On March 27, the Governor signed AB 19 into law as 2013 Wisconsin Act 154.
Rep. Mike Kuglitsch (R-New Berlin) and Sen. Glenn Grothman (R-West Bend) have introduced legislation (SB 19/AB27) that provides greater transparency and oversight when the State of Wisconsin hires private plaintiffs’ attorneys on a contingency fee basis. The bill passed on a bipartisan basis, 23-10, and was signed by the Governor as 2013 Wis. Act 105 on Dec. 13, 2013.
Rep. André Jacque and Sen. Paul Farrow have introduced legislation (SB 22/AB 29) that will allow juries in personal injury cases to see all the evidence when determining the amount required to compensate a plaintiff for his or her past medical expenses.
Physician’s Duty of Informed Consent in Wisconsin: Overturning Jandre v. Wisconsin Injured Patients and Families Compensation Fund
AB 139/SB 137, authored by Rep. Jim Ott and Sen. Glenn Grothman, overturns a negative Wisconsin Supreme Court decision (Jandre v. Wisconsin Injured Patients and Families Compensation Fund) dealing with a physician’s duty of informed consent. The bill was signed by the Governor as 2013 Wis. Act 111 on Dec. 13, 2013.
AB 120/SB 192, authored by Rep. Erik Severson and Sen. Leah Vukmir, provides that a statement or conduct of a health care provider that expresses apology to a patient or patient’s relative or representative is not admissible as evidence of liability or as an admission against interest. Signed by the Governor as 2013 Wis. Act 242 on April 8, 2014.
In a defining effort, the Wisconsin Legislature, with Gov. Walker’s leadership, enacted sweeping civil justice reforms during the contentious 2011-12 Legislative Session. Landmark reforms relating to product liability, expert opinion testimony, risk contribution, and caps on punitive damages, among others, turned Wisconsin’s souring litigation and business climate into one of the most competitive jurisdictions in the country from a litigation standpoint. Click here to read WCJC’s in-depth summary of the reforms.
Tort Reform Update: Recently Enacted Legislative Reforms and State Court Challenges, written by WCJC’s Andy Cook was published by the Federalist Society for Law & Public Policy Studies in its January 2013 State Court Docket Watch.