For Immediate Release: Wednesday, October 12, 2011
For More Information, Contact: Jane Garrott, (608) 257-5741

Three Bills from Governor’s Special Session Will Make Legal Environment More Difficult for Wisconsin Consumers

Governor Walker’s “Job Creation” Legislation is Tort “Reform” With No Jobs

MADISON, WI – Three bills introduced for the Governor’s Special Legislative Session for Job Creation would cut Wisconsin consumers’ abilities to receive interest on judgments, find consumer attorneys and seek damages from drug and medical device injuries.

“The special session called by Governor Walker is supposed to be about creating jobs for Wisconsin residents,” said Ed Vopal, president-elect of the Wisconsin Association for Justice (WAJ).  “But Special Session Assembly and Senate Bills 12, 13 and 14 are bad news for Wisconsin citizens.”

SS-SB & AB 12 will limit attorney fees for certain cases to three times the award – with certain exceptions – and effectively limit consumers’ ability to hire a lawyer for employment discrimination, lemon law, and other consumer cases.

SS-SB & AB 13 will provide legal immunity for medical device and drug manufacturers whose products have been approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration.  If passed, Wisconsin will be one of only two states to provide such corporate protections.

“Why do drug and medical device manufacturers, who are making money hand over fist, need protection from possible judgments on potential injuries to their Wisconsin customers?” Vopal said.

SS-SB & AB 14 will cut the amount of interest an individual may receive on a civil judgment in her/his favor to one percent plus the Prime Rate, despite the fact that banks, credit card companies and others may still receive the normal 12 percent interest.

“We oppose all three of these bills,” Vopal said. “They are thinly veiled attempts to reward large corporations and limit individuals’ rights to seek justice in the Wisconsin courtroom.”

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The Mission of the Wisconsin Association for Justice is to promote a fair and effective justice system - one that ensures justice for all, not just a privileged few.

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