Wisconsin Democracy Campaign
Campaign Cash

GOP Bill Restricts Suits Against Businesses

Special interests supporting legal restrictions donated $14 million to Republican legislators.

By - Dec 5th, 2017 10:17 am
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Milwaukee County Courthouse. The original uploader was Sulfur at English Wikipedia [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons

Milwaukee County Courthouse. The original uploader was Sulfur at English Wikipedia [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons

Republican lawmakers are introducing a bill that would slash the amount of time that people have to file civil suits against businesses for injuries and other matters.

The measure is backed by a host of powerful special interests, including manufacturers, insurers, builders, agriculture, transportation, hospitals, and doctors, among others.

The proposal would cut the current statute of limitations for several types of civil lawsuits. The statute of limitation for lawsuits involving liability, fraud and injury to character would be reduced from six years to three years. The deadline for suing over injuries caused by property improvements would be cut from 10 years to six years.

During court proceedings, the proposal would also allow judges to choose attorneys in class action lawsuits and limit discovery.

The measure also lowers the interest rate insurers must pay on overdue claims from the current 12 percent to the prime loan rate plus one percent.

The proposal was authored by Reps. Mark Born, of Beaver Dam, and John Nygren, of Marinette, and Sens. Tom Tiffany, of Hazelhurst, and David Craig, of Big Bend, who say the measure would reduce legal costs for businesses.

Since January 2011, the special interests supporting the bill have contributed nearly $14.3 million to Republican legislators, who currently control the Assembly 63-35 and the Senate 19-13.

The proposal’s authors accepted a high percentage of their total large individual and political action committee fundraising since January 2011 from the special interests behind the bill.

Nygren received about $299,900, or 68 percent, of his total special interest contributions from the measure’s backers.

Tiffany accepted about $409,000, or 60 percent, of his total special interest contributions from the proposal’s supporters.

Craig received about $73,000, or 50 percent, of his total special interest contributions from the measure’s supporters.

Born received about $45,100, or 50 percent, of his total special interest contributions from the proposal’s backers.

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