MADISON – Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC) called on legislators to sign onto a key piece of legislation Thursday that would significantly reform Wisconsin’s civil justice system.
Senators Tom Tiffany (R-Hazelhurst) and Dave Craig (R-Big Bend) and Representatives Mark Born (R-Beaver Dam) and John Nygren (R-Marinette) circulated LRB 4700/1. The legislation makes numerous civil justice reforms that build on past successes and would continue to improve Wisconsin’s business climate.
“Wisconsin’s recent legal reforms have been critical to improving our business climate, but unfortunately, employers across the state still face an unwarrantedly high cost of litigation,” said WMC Senior Vice President of Government Relations Scott Manley. “The legislation introduced today will not only provide more certainty, it will reduce costs for state and local governments, consumers and businesses alike.”
In the last five years, Wisconsin dropped five spots to 20th in the nation for litigation climate, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. This negative perception could be reversed with the passage of these reforms.
The bill would:
- Create certainty and protect all parties in a lawsuit from unnecessarily high-costs associated with discovery
- Provide clarity and specificity to Wisconsin’s class action laws
- Protect consumers by capping lawsuit lending interest rates, fees, and disclosing terms.
- Streamline Wisconsin’s “generic” statute of limitations to promote efficiency and reduce costs by bringing Wisconsin closer in line with the rest of the nation
- Limit the Department of Revenue’s ability to enter into a contingent fee agreement with third party auditors when auditing businesses for unclaimed property
- Change the interest rate relating to overdue claim payments from a set 12 percent to prime plus one percent
WMC and the Wisconsin Civil Justice Council – a coalition of business groups and other organizations – applauded the reform package after its introduction.
“We thank Senators Tiffany and Craig and Representatives Born and Nygren for introducing these impactful and necessary reforms,” Manley added.
The deadline for legislators to sign on as co-sponsors is Wednesday, Dec. 6 at 5PM.
Wisconsin Civil Justice Council Members:
Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce
National Federation of Independent Business
Wisconsin Insurance Alliance
Wisconsin Builders Association
Other Board Members:
Associated Builders and Contractors of Wisconsin
Midwest Equipment Dealers Association
Midwest Food Products Association, Inc.
Wisconsin Automobile & Truck Dealers Association, Inc.
Wisconsin Dairy Business Association
Wisconsin Defense Counsel
Wisconsin Economic Development Association
Wisconsin Hospital Association
Wisconsin Medical Society
Wisconsin Motor Carriers Association
Wisconsin Petroleum Marketers & Convenience Store Association
Wisconsin Restaurant Association
Other Civil Liability Reform Groups:
Wisconsin Department of Justice
Institute for Legal Reform
American Tort Reform Association
Lawyers for Civil Justice
For more information, contact:
Nick Novak, 608.258.3400