WASHINGTON, D.C., March 23, 2018– The American Tort Reform Association (ATRA) today applauded Wisconsin lawmakers’ final passage of a multi-part legal reform package that includes very important reforms to the […]
WASHINGTON, D.C., March 23, 2018– The American Tort Reform Association (ATRA) today applauded Wisconsin lawmakers’ final passage of a multi-part legal reform package that includes very important reforms to the state’s discovery and class action laws. A.B. 773 passed the Assembly on February 22nd by a vote of 60-34 and the Senate on March 20th by a vote of 18-14. The House then concurred in the Senate amendments on March 22nd.
“ATRA applauds those lawmakers, including the sponsor, Assemblyman Mark Born, who have worked tirelessly to craft this legislation and their efforts to try to make the legal system fairer by leveling the playing field for defendants in the state of Wisconsin. The Wisconsin Civil Justice Council also played an integral role in pushing this bill across the finish line.” said Tiger Joyce, president of ATRA. “It is our hope that this legislation will put an end to plaintiff’s lawyers shaking down companies and forcing settlements through these ridiculous fishing expeditions.”
The reforms in A.B. 773 will establish cost-benefit and proportionality requirements for discovery to prevent litigants from abusing the discovery process to leverage a higher potential settlement or engage in a “fishing expedition.” It also includes a key provision that provides that certain categories of electronically stored information do not need to be produced during discovery, unless required by court order.
Additionally, the reforms would align Wisconsin’s class action statute with Federal Rule 23, providing much needed clarity and consistency not found under Wisconsin’s current law.
Finally, A.B. 773 requires mandatory disclosure of third party litigation financing, statute of limitations reform for certain causes of action, changes to the statute of repose in certain cases, changes to interest rates on untimely payment of insurance claims, and provisions related to audits of unclaimed property.
“Over the past few years, Wisconsin has proved to be a strong leader in civil justice reform and this hearing further exemplifies the state’s commitment to the cause,” said Joyce. “We fully expect Governor Scott Walker to sign this bill and we commend him for his continued leadership on legal reform issues in the state.”
The American Tort Reform Association, based in Washington, D.C., is the only national organization dedicated exclusively to tort and liability reform through public education and the enactment of legislation. Its members include nonprofit organizations and small and large companies, as well as trade, business and professional associations from the state and national level, all dedicated to a civil justice system that is predictable, fair, and efficient so that abuse is limited and the rule of law prevails.