Final Disposition of 2009-2010 Legislation

Assembly Bills

Links Summary/Status

AB 938

Colon

History

Trial Bifurcation

Summary: Provides that if a trial court bifurcates a trial with respect to a claim for interest that is allegedly due on insurance proceeds that were not timely paid, all claims must be heard by the same jury.

Status: Introduced April 6, 2010 and referred to the Assembly committee on Judiciary and Ethics; Public hearing held April 20; Failed to pass.

AB 894

Roys

History

Abusive Work Environment

Summary: Would allow an employee to file a civil lawsuit for being subjected to an “abusive work environment.” Would allow an aggrieved employee to seek the following relief: reinstatement, removal of the person who engaged in the abusive conduct giving rise to the unlawful employment practice from the aggrieved employee’s work area, medical expenses, back pay, front pay, compensation for emotional distress, punitive damages, and reasonable costs and attorney fees.

Status: Introduced Mar. 24, 2010 and referred to the Assembly committee on Labor; Public hearing held April 7; Failed to pass.

AB 815

Richards

History

Discovery of Patient Records in Civil Actions

Summary: Makes changes to the scope of, and procedure for, discovery in civil cases where the mental or physical condition of a party is in issue. The court may order the claimant to undergo one physical,mental, or vocational examination, unless the defending party shows good cause for the claimant to undergo more than one examination. A claimant may introduce evidence obtained from the examination or inspection, regardless of whether the defending party seeks to introduce the evidence.

Status: Introduced Mar. 9, 2010 and referred to the Assembly committee on Judiciary and Ethics; Public hearing April 6; Failed to pass.

AB 710

Benedict

History

Condolence by a Health Care Provider

Summary: Provides that a statement, gesture, or conduct of a health care provider that expresses apology, condolence, compassion, benevolence, or sympathy to a patient, patient’s relative, or representative is not admissible into evidence or subject to discovery in any civil action or administrative hearing regarding the health care provider as evidence of liability or as an admission against interest.

Status: Introduced Feb. 9, 2010; Referred to committee on Judiciary and Ethics; Public hearing held Feb. 23. Failed to pass.

AB 480

Berceau

History


Civil Cause of Action for Gender Related Violence

Summary: This bill creates a civil cause of action for a person who suffers physical, emotional, or economic harm as a result of a gender−based act. A gender−based act is committed, at least in part, on the basis of the victim’s gender or a physical intrusion that is sexual in nature and under coercive conditions.

A victim must commence a civil action  within seven years after the gender−based act occurs or, if the victim is under the age of 18, within seven years after the victim’s 18th birthday. A victim who prevails may recover damages for emotional distress, punitive damages, and investigation or litigation costs, including attorney fees.

Status: Introduced Oct. 6, 2009; Referred to Committee on Corrections and the Courts. Passage recommended by committee (8-2) Feb. 16, 2010. Passed the Assembly with amendments [AA5 and AA6]. Referred to the Senate committee on Judiciary, Corrections, Insurance, Campaign Finance reform and Housing on Mar. 8; Passage recommended (4-1) on Mar. 17. Failed to pass.

AB 453

Parisi

History

WCJC Testimony

Statute of Limitations – Sexual Assault of a Child

Summary: Removed the statute of limitation for bringing an action for sexual assault of a child if the victim if over the age of 35.

Status: Introduced Sept. 25, 2009; Referred to Committee on Children and Families. Public hearing held Oct. 21; Voted out of committee (6-2) Oct. 29;

AB 367

Hixson

History

WCJC Testimony

Prohibiting Credit Histories for Employment Purposes

Summary: Prohibits employment discrimination based credit history. The bill provides a narrow exception where circumstances of an individual’s credit history are “substantially related to the circumstances of a particular job or licensed activity” and where the employment “depends on the bondability of the individual and the individual may not be bondable due to his or her credit rating.” Would also allow an applicant to sue an employer that violates the law to seek punitive and compensatory damages of up to $300,000, including actual damages, court costs, and attorney fees.

Status: Introduced Aug. 12, 2009; Referred to Committee on Workforce Development; Public hearing held Aug. 27, 2009. Passage as amended recommended Apr. 16, 2010; Passed the Assembly (49-48). Failed to pass.

AB 354

Roys

History

Statute of Limitations for Intentional Torts

Summary: Increases statute of limitations for intentional torts from two years to three years, similar to statute of limitations for negligence claims.

Status: Introduced on July 28, 2009; Referred to Committee on Judiciary and Ethics; Public hearing held Aug. 25, 2009; Voted  out of Committee on Sept. 9, 2009. Laid on the table Jan. 19, 2010.

AB 291

Richards

History

Medical Malpractice

Summary: Provides that a parent does have the right to recover for loss of society and companionship if the parent’s adult child is injured as the result of medical malpractice.

Status: Introduced June 2, 2009; Referred to Health and Healthcare Reform; Public hearing, July 14, 2009; Passed out of Committee (6-4), Sept. 9, 2009. Failed to pass.

AB 75

Jt. Committee on Fin.


State Budget.

Summary: Constitutes the executive budget act of the 2009 legislature.
.

Status: Introduced Feb. 17, 2009; Referred to Joint Finance Committee;These policies buried in the budget will drastically change Wisconsin’s litigation landscape. The entire scheme is designed to allow for more suits, with each suit entangling more so-called ‘deep pockets.”Joint and Several Liability: Anyone with equal or greater fault than the plaintiff can be held 100% responsible (“jointly and severally liable”), even if only 1% at fault. (AB 75, page 1605). Existing law requires a person to be at least 51% at fault before he or she can be held responsible for 100% of damages.

Combined Fault: A person or business that is less at fault than the plaintiff can be sued so long as the “combined” fault of all persons sued is equal or greater than the plaintiff. (AB 75, page 1605). Existing law requires the plaintiff to be less at fault than each defendant he or she is suing.

Jury instructions: The court must inform the jury how the jury’s findings on fault affect responsibility for damages; that is, to allow the jury to adjust fault determinations to maximize awards. (AB 75, page 1588) Existing law limits a jury’s duty to fact finding, consistent with over a hundred-year rule of jurisprudence.

AB 75

Jt. Committee on Fin.

History

Summary: Constitutes the executive budget act of the 2009 legislature.. Status: Introduced Feb. 17, 2009; Referred to Joint Finance Committee;Insurance: Mandates increased limits for auto insurance, requires “stacking,” and expands the “Underinsured Motor Vehicle” definition; also, prohibits reducing clauses, eliminates “hit and run” requirements, and prohibits ‘drive-other-car” provisions.

AB 31

Sinicki

History

Employment Discrimination (Companion to SB 20)

Summary: Authorizes the circuit court to order a person who commits employment discrimination to pay compensatory and punitive damages.

Status: Introduced Feb. 5, 2009; Referred to Labor; Public hearing held Apr. 8, 2009; Passage as amended recommended (5-3) Apr. 23, 2009; Laid on the table Apr. 28, 2009. Companion bill, SB 20, passed and enacted.

AB 23.

Schneider

History

Access to Court Conferences

Summary: Requires that all conferences held by the Supreme Court or court of appeals be open to the public.

Status: Introduced Feb. 5, 2009; Referred to Judiciary and Ethics. Failed to pass.

AB 22

.Schneider

History

Housing Discrimination

Summary: Prohibits discrimination in housing because of an arrest or conviction record that is more than three years old.

Status: Introduced Feb. 5, 2009; Referred to Financial Institutions; Failed to pass.

AB 6 .

Radcliffe

History

Tort Action in Real Estate Transactions (Companion to SB 9)

Summary: Reverses the decision in Below by providing that, in addition to any other remedies that are available, a purchaser in a residential real estate transaction may maintain an action in tort against the seller for intentional misrepresentation.

Status: Introduced Jan. 27, 2009; Referred to Consumer Protection; Public hearing held Feb. 12; Passage recommended (7-2) Feb. 19. Referred to Rules Feb. 27. Failed to pass.

Senate Bills

Links Summary/Status

SB 628

Sullivan

History

Discovery of Patient Records in Civil Actions

Summary: Makes changes to the scope of, and procedure for, discovery in civil cases where the mental or physical condition of a party is in issue. The court may order the claimant to undergo one physical,mental, or vocational examination, unless the defending party shows good cause for the claimant to undergo more than one examination. A claimant may introduce evidence obtained from the examination or inspection, regardless of whether the defending party seeks to introduce the evidence.

Status: Introduced Mar. 18, 2010; Referred to the Senate committee on Judiciary, Corrections, Insurance, Campaign finance Reform, and Housing; Public hearing held Apr. 8; Failed to pass.

SB 588

Wirch

History

Private Actions for Unsolicited Faxes

Summary: Creates a private cause of action against a person who violates the current limitations on unsolicited facsimile solicitations.

Status: Introduced Mar. 4, 2010 and referred to the Senate committee on Commerce, Utilities, Energy and Rail. Failed to pass.

SB 563

Miller

History

Statute of Limitations for Medical Malpractice

Summary: Extends wrongful death stature of limitations in cases dealing with medical malpractice. Seeks to overturn a recent Wisconsin Supreme Court decision, Estate of Genrich v. OHIC Ins. Co., which held that the time limit for a wrongful death action caused by medical malpractice is counted from the date of the deceased person’s injury instead of the date of death.

Status: Introduced Feb. 26 and referred to committee on Judiciary, Corrections, Insurance, Campaign Finance reform, and Housing; Public hearing held Apr. 1; Failed to pass.

SB 447

Lassa

History

False Claims

Summary: Allows private parties to file lawsuits on behalf of the state alleging that a person knowingly presented a false claim and deceived the state for the purpose of getting a false claim paid. The private party bringing the lawsuit is eligible to receive 15 to 25 percent of the amount recovered.

Status: Introduced Jan. 7, 2010 and referred to committee on Ethics Reform and Government Operations; Public hearing held Jan. 20; Passage as amended [SA1, SA2] recommended (5-0) Feb. 10; Referred to Joint Finance Feb. 23; Passage recommended as amended [SSA1] by Joint Finance (11-4) Apr. 20; Failed to pass.

SB 337

Coggs

History

Civil Action for Gender-based Act

Summary: Creates a new civil cause of action for a person who suffers physical, emotional, or economic harm as a result of a gender−based act. Imposes a seven-year statute of limitations (most other intentional tort claims must be brought within three years). A plaintiff who prevails in a civil action for a gender−based act may recover damages for emotional distress, punitive damages, and investigation or litigation costs, including attorney fees.

Status: Introduced Oct. 8, 2009 and referred to committee on Judiciary, Corrections, Insurance, Campaign Finance reform, and Housing. Public hearing held Feb. 18, 2010. Voted out of committee (4-1) as amended by SA2 and SA3 on Mar. 4. Failed to pass.

SB 319

Lassa

History

Statute of Limitations

Summary: Provides a three-year reviver window for plaintiffs to file childhood sexual abuse claims, regardless of the previous expiration of the statute of limitations; eliminates the applicable statute of limitations prospectively.

Status: Introduced Sept. 30, 2009; Referred to committee on Judiciary, Corrections, Insurance, Campaign Finance Reform, and Housing; Public hearing Jan. 12, 2010. Failed to pass.

SB 275

Taylor

History

Employment Discrimination

Summary: Allows job applicants and employees to sue employers and seek punitive and compensatory damages if an employer “discriminates” against them based on that person’s credit history.

Status: Introduced Aug. 26,2009 and referred to committee on Labor, Elections and Urban Affairs; Public hearing held Dec. 15; Failed to pass.

SB 218

Erpenbach

History

Violations of Restrictions on Telephone Solicitations

Summary: Increases the penalty for restrictions on telephone solitiations from $100 to a minimum of $1,000 and a maximum penalty of $10,000. The bill also allows a person who suffers damages as the result of another person’s violation to bring an action for injunctive relief and recover $500 for each violation and award the prevailing plaintiff attorney fees.

Status: Introduced May 26, 2009; Public hearing July 22, 2009. Voted out of committee (5-0) Aug. 14; Passed the Senate Sept. 15 and referred to the Assembly committee on Consumer Protection; Public hearing held Nov. 4; Voted out of committee (7-2) as amended[AA1] on Mar. 2, 2010. Passed the Assembly Apr. 22.

SB 203

Plale

History

WCJC Testimony

Medical Malpractice

Summary: Provides that a parent does have the right to recover for loss of society and companionship if the parent’s adult child is injured as the result of medical malpractice.

Status: Introduced May 14, 2009; Referred to Committee on Judiciary, Corrections, Insurance, Campaign Finance Reform, and Housing; Public hearing held Aug. 18, 2009. Reported out of committee Sept. 16 (3-2) Sept. 16; Passed the Senate Jan. 19, 2010. Referred to the Assembly. Failed to pass.

SB 196

Lassa

History

Statute of Limitations – Family/Medical Leave Act

Summary: Extends the time limit for filing a complaint under the state family and medical leave law to two years or, if the violation was willful, three years after the event.

Status: Introduced May 7, 2009; Referred to committee on Judiciary, Corrections, Insurance, Campaign Finance Reform, and Housing; Failed to pass.

SB 182

Sullivan

History

Intentional Tort Statute of Limitations

Summary: Increases the time limit for bringing an action for intentional tort from two to three years.

Status: Introduced May 4, 2009; Referred to committee on Judiciary, Corrections, Insurance, Campaign Finance Reform, and Housing; Public hearing held Aug. 18, 2009. Reported out of committee (5-0) Sept. 16; Passed the Senate Oct. 20; Passed the Assembly (62-32) Jan. 19, 2010; Signed by the Governor as 2009 Wis. Act 120 on Feb. 11, 2010.

SB 20.Hansen

History

Employment Discrimination (Companion to SB 20)

Summary: Authorizes the circuit court to order a person who commits employment discrimination to pay compensatory and punitive damages.

Status: Introduced Jan. 28, 2009; Referred to Judiciary, Corrections, Insurance, Campaign Finance Reform, and Housing; Withdrawn and rereferred to committee on Labor, Elections and Urban Affairs Feb. 5; Public hearing held Mar. 12; Passage as amended recommended (3-2) Apr. 14. Passed the Senate (18-15) Apr. 28; Passed the Assembly (51-47) Apr. 29; Signed by the Governor on June 8 as 2009 Wis. Act. 20.

. SB 9


Erpenbach

History

Tort Action in Real Estate Transactions (Companion to AB 6)

Summary: Reverses the decision in Below by providing that, in addition to any other remedies that are available, a purchaser in a residential real estate transaction may maintain an action in tort against the seller for intentional misrepresentation.

Status: Introduced Jan. 21, 2009; Referred to Judiciary, Corrections, Insurance, Campaign Finance Reform, and Housing; Public hearing Feb. 5; Passage recommended (5-0) Feb. 11; Passed the Senate Feb. 24; Referred to Assembly committee on Consumer Protection; Withdrawn and referred to committee on Rules Mar. 17; Passed the Assembly (69-28) Mar. 26; Signed by the Governor as 2009 Wis. Act 4 on Apr. 9, 2009.