Civil Justice Bills Headed to the Floor

The Wisconsin Assembly has scheduled a floor vote on three civil justice bills for Wednesday, May 8.

Personal Injury Trust Claims Transparency (AB 19): The purpose of this legislation is to provide transparency and prevent fraud involving personal injury trusts by creating certain discovery requirements during litigation. Numerous types of personal injury trusts have been created under the federal bankruptcy code and state laws to ensure that injured people can be properly compensated. In some instances, plaintiffs who file (or could file) claims with these personal injury trusts may also seek compensation for their injuries through a second channel – lawsuits against solvent defendants (i.e., businesses) in the courts. The ability of plaintiffs to seek multiple recoveries – without any transparency regarding these multiple recoveries – is what this bill addresses. Click here to read a Wall Street Journal editorial discussing a similar law enacted in Ohio.

Transparency in Private Attorney Contracting (TIPAC) (AB 27): The interests of private plaintiffs’ attorneys are not always aligned with the interests of a state and its citizens. Private plaintiffs’ attorneys who are given complete control of litigation may seek settlements and judgments that maximize their profit rather than the benefit to a state and its citizens. And private attorneys have received excessive fees for their work on behalf of states in some cases. This legislation ensures that consumers, victims, and taxpayers receive their fair share of any recovery. Click here to read a Wall Street Journal article discussing similar legislation that has been enacted in other states.

Physician Informed Consent (AB 139): This legislation overturns a negative Wisconsin Supreme Court decision (Jandre v. Wisconsin Injured Patients and Families Compensation Fund) dealing with a physician’s duty of informed consent.

For more information about each of these bills, see WCJC’s website. Please contact Bob Fassbender or Andy Cook with any questions.