State Senate Passes Two Civil Liability Reform Bills – Governor Expected to Sign

The Wisconsin Senate passed two civil liability reform bills on the last day of session. Most notable was AB 120, the health care provider “Apology” bill. This is legislation that the health care community has worked on for many years.

AB 120/SB 129 – (Inadmissibility of a statement of apology or condolence by a health care provider): AB 120/SB 129 (Rep. Severson/Sen. Vukmir) provides that a statement or conduct of a health care provider that expresses apology or condolence to a patient, patient’s relative or representative, is not admissible into evidence as evidence of liability or as an admission against interest. AB 120 was amended to provide that the bill’s provisions apply only to statements or gestures that are made, or conduct that occurs, before the commencement of a civil action, administrative hearing, disciplinary proceeding, mediation, or arbitration regarding the health care provider. The Senate passed the bill 19-14 (Democratic Senators Tim Cullen and Kathleen Vinehout joined all the Republicans, except for Senator Glenn Grothman).

AB 746 – (Limits on liability for persons offering agricultural tourism activities): AB 746 (Rep. Nerison) provides immunity from civil liability to an agricultural tourism provider for the death of or injury to a participant in an agricultural tourism activity under certain circumstances. The bill extends liability protection to the agricultural tourism provider if the participant’s death or injury occurs as a result of a risk inherent in the agricultural tourism activity and the agricultural tourism provider posts and maintains, in a clearly visible location at the entrance to the property or at the location of each agricultural tourism activity, a sign that contains a notice concerning the risk inherent in the agricultural tourism activity.  AB 746 passed the Senate unanimously and is headed to the Governor’s desk for his signature.