Key Civil Justice Reforms Introduced

Date: January 17, 2018

Legislation has been introduced that would address one of the most pressing civil litigation challenges – the escalating transactional costs relating to civil discovery.  The complexity and high transaction costs of civil lawsuits can be especially challenging expenses for small business owners whether they are a plaintiff or defendant.

Assembly Bill 773, introduced by Representative Mark Born (Beaver Dam), and Senate Bill 645, introduced by Senator Dave Craig (Big Bend), includes provisions that will help reduce litigation costs, increase fairness, and improve predictability of Wisconsin’s civil justice system.

These proposals will protect Wisconsin businesses by aligning the state’s civil procedures for discovery and class actions to the corresponding federal rules, and reduce litigation costs by addressing abusive discovery practices.  Other provisions include:

  • Regulate lawsuit lending to protect consumers from lawsuit lending practices that pay on those injured and unable to work or who may otherwise have substantial medical bills.
  • Revise statute of limitations to establish consistency and align Wisconsin’s liability laws with state’s that have significantly lower limits.
  • Prohibit the Department of Revenue from entering into a contingent fee agreement with third parties to engage in an audit relating to the state’s Unclaimed Property Law.
  • Adjust the interest rate insurers must pay on overdue claims from 12 percent to the prime loan rate plus one percent.

Bill G. Smith, NFIB State Director, and President of the Wisconsin Civil Justice Council, said “Governor Walker has included lawsuit reform as a key policy initiative of his Small Business Agenda because he is acutely aware that litigation costs can destroy a small business.”

“NFIB is pleased to support legislation that will reduce litigation costs for small business, modernize civil court procedures, and help eliminate abusive discovery practices,” concluded Smith.

Related Content: Small Business News | Legal | Wisconsin

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