Wanezek, Jaekels, Daul & Babcock, S.C. Attorneys at Law — Founded 1908

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GOVERNOR SCOTT WALKER SIGNS TORT REFORM BILL INTO LAW

On January 27, 2011, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker signed a tort reform bill into law as 2011 Wisconsin Act 2. The bill will apply to actions that are filed on or after the Act’s effective date (which would be the day after the Act’s publication date). Publication can occur any time from the day that the governor signs a bill to not more than 10 working days later. Governor Walker intends for the bill to take effect immediately.

 The bill has sparked heated debate throughout the legal communities in Wisconsin. The Wisconsin Defense Counsel, an association of litigation defense attorneys, have praised the bill. The Wisconsin Association for Justice, an association of litigation plaintiff’s attorneys, have oppossed the bill.

The new Act will bring major changes to Wisconsin’s current litigation system. For all plaintiffs that commence lawsuits for personal injuries after the effective date of the Act, punitive damages will be capped at two times the amount of compensatory damages awarded or $200,000.00, whichever is greater. Critics state that this new stringent standard will make it more difficult to obtain punitive damages in lawsuits against drunk drivers who kill or injure others. However, the legislature amended the Act to make the punitive damages cap inapplicable to lawsuits related to operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated. In addition, the Act will impose a higher standard for the admissability of expert witnesses in state courts. Under the Act, courts will be required to follow the federal rule called the Daubert standard. Also, the Act prevents reports by state regulators from being used in civil and criminal cases. There are also several other provisions including a limit to noneconomic damages for medical malpractice in nursing homes to $750,000.00.

The Act will apply to all cases filed after the effective date including those cases where the plaintiff was injured before the effective date. This could create a possible constitutional challenge to those who were injured prior to the law taking effect. In any event, plaintiff attorneys are rushing to file lawsuits on behalf of their injured clients in order to avoid the punitive damages cap.

The passage of this Act should result in a more predictable litigation climate in Wisconsin by eliminating extremely high damage awards.

FAMILY LAW PRACTICE OVERVIEW

We offer compassionate and caring legal representation for those people encountering legal issues relating to their families. We understand the stress and uncertainty you may have when you are ready to involve a lawyer with some of your most private family matters. At Wanezek & Jaekels, we strive to make you feel as comfortable as possible during that process to make a difficult time in your life run as smooth as possible.

At Wanezek & Jaekels, Attorney Greg J. Babcock has extensive experience handling various family law cases. Every family law issue that you may be facing, Attorney Babcock can assist you and provide you with excellent representation. Attorney Babcock handles a variety of family law issues including:

  • Divorce
  • Post Judgment Modifications
  • Child Custody / Visitation Rights
  • Child Support
  • Spousal Support/Maintenance
  • Property Division
  • Paternity
  • Marital Property Agreements
  • Termination of Parental Rights and Adoptions
  • Harassment Restraining Orders and Domestic Abuse Restraining Orders
  • Foster Parents’ Rights
  • Juvenile Rights

Attorney Babcock also serves as a Guardian ad litem in family cases. As a Guardian ad litem, Attorney Babcock will represent the best interests of children in various proceedings. In that capacity, Attorney Babcock has gained invaluable experience and knowledge when it relates to the children’s interests and needs which has allowed him provide even better representation for our clients.

If you are looking for any attorney to help you and provide you with guidance you need, contact us and ask for Attorney Babcock.

Tags: Family Law

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