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Head of Attorneys Group Expects Challenge to Liability Suit Bill

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MADISON, Wis. (WTAQ) - The head of a group that represents trial lawyers expects a court challenge to a new Wisconsin law that limits damages in liability lawsuits.

Governor Scott Walker is about to sign the measure, after both houses of the Legislature approved it last week. It would apply to all lawsuits filed at least 10 days after the bill is signed – even if the plaintiffs were injured before the bill was approved.

But that’s unconstitutional, according to Mike End of the Wisconsin Association of Justice. He cites a 2001 State Supreme Court ruling which said that David Matthies could sue for higher damages that were in effect at the time he was hurt – even though the Legislature had voted to reduce damage limits by the time he got around to filing his lawsuit.

Governor’s spokesman Cullen Werwie says Walker’s advisers are certain that the current measure will pass constitutional muster.

Meanwhile, personal injury lawyers are scrambling to file pending lawsuits before the new damage limits take effect. Attorney Rob Jaskulski says he must protect clients’ rights based on whatever investigations are done to this point.

Milwaukee County has had 36 personal injury lawsuits filed so far this month – up from 28 on the same date a year ago.

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