Bills on Notice of Claim, Pleading Procedures Moving in the Legislature

Two bills that would make changes to Wisconsin procedures for service of certain documents are moving in the Wisconsin Legislature. The bills, authored by Rep. Ron Tusler (R-Harrison) and Sen. Fred Risser (D-Madison), passed the Assembly in June. The Senate Committee on Insurance, Financial Services, Government Oversight & Courts held a public hearing on the bills on July 16.

AB 58/SB 62 would allow personal service of a notice of claim against a state, officer, employee, or agent. Current law (Wis. Stat. § 893.82(5)) requires notice of claim by certified mail in order to bring such an action. The bill comes after the 2016 Wisconsin Supreme Court decision Sorenson v. Batchelder, which held that a plaintiff who had delivered a notice of claim to the attorney general via personal service did not strictly comply with the law, thus invalidating the claim.

AB 59/SB 63 would allow certain pleadings and other papers to be served by e-mail, if the attorney has consented in writing to accept service by e-mail. The bill does not allow service by e-mail for initial pleadings.

With the bills passing the Assembly on bipartisan votes, it is likely they will move forward in the Senate this fall. The next dates available for Senate floor sessions are September 17-26.

Wisconsin Defense Counsel is continuing to monitor the bills as they move through the Legislature.