Government Immunity for Safe Place Statute Violations. Cabush. Wis. Law. Oct. 1999.
Fighting City Hall: Municipal Immunity in Wisconsin. Pollack. Wis. Law. Dec. 2000.
A county shall be liable for injury to person or property by a mob or riot therein except when cities are liable. Within a city, the city shall be liable for such injury except that within a 1st class city the city shall not be liable for any such injury occurring upon the interstate freeway system or in or upon grounds, buildings or other improvements owned by a county and designated for stadium or airport purposes and appurtenant uses. A 1st class city's immunity from liability in providing or failing to provide police services upon the freeway system or in or upon such grounds, buildings or other improvements shall be as provided under s. 893.80 (6)
Claim therefor must be filed within 6 months thereafter. Such claim may be allowed in whole or in part, as other claims, and procedure to enforce shall be as for other claims.
The city or county may recover all such claims and costs paid by it, against any and all persons engaged in inflicting the injury.
No person shall recover hereunder when the injury was occasioned or in any manner aided, sanctioned, or permitted by that person or caused by that person's negligence, nor unless that person shall have used all reasonable diligence to prevent the same, and shall have immediately notified the mayor or sheriff after being apprised of any threat of or attempt at such injury. Every mayor or sheriff receiving such notice shall take all legal means to prevent injury, and if that officer shall refuse or neglect to do so, the party injured may elect to hold that officer liable by bringing action against that officer within 6 months of the injury.
This section shall not apply to property damage to houses of ill fame when the owner has notice that they are used as such.
History: 1979 c. 34
; 1981 c. 314
; 1991 a. 316
; 1999 a. 150
; Stats. 1999 s. 893.81.
This section does not render a city a wrongdoer, since liability is imposed without fault, and an insurer who has paid for riot damage cannot recover on a theory of subrogation. Interstate Fire & Casualty Co. v. Milwaukee, 45 Wis. 2d 331
, 173 N.W.2d 187
An insurer cannot recover against a city for money paid out for mob damage on a subrogation theory. American Insurance Co. v. Milwaukee, 51 Wis. 2d 346
, 187 N.W.2d 142
Liability for riot damages; subrogation against municipalities for riot damage claims. 1971 WLR 1236.
Claims against state employees; notice of claim; limitation of damages. 893.82(1)
The purposes of this section are to:
Provide the attorney general with adequate time to investigate claims which might result in judgments to be paid by the state.
Provide the attorney general with an opportunity to effect a compromise without a civil action or civil proceeding.
Place a limit on the amounts recoverable in civil actions or civil proceedings against any state officer, employee or agent.
"Civil action or civil proceeding" includes a civil action or civil proceeding commenced or continued by counterclaim, cross claim or 3rd-party complaint.
"Claimant" means the person or entity sustaining the damage or injury or his or her agent, attorney or personal representative.
"Damage" or "injury" means any damage or injury of any nature which is caused or allegedly caused by the event. "Damage" or "injury" includes, but is not limited to, any physical or mental damage or injury or financial damage or injury resulting from claims for contribution or indemnification.
"State officer, employee or agent" includes any of the following persons:
An officer, employee or agent of any nonprofit corporation operating a museum under a lease agreement with the state historical society.
A volunteer health care provider who provides services under s. 146.89
, for the provision of those services.
A behavioral health provider, health care provider, pupil services provider, or substance abuse prevention provider who provides services under s. 250.042 (4)
and a health care facility on whose behalf services are provided under s. 250.042 (4)
, for the provision of those services.
A member of the board of governors created under s. 619.04 (3)
, a member of a committee or subcommittee of that board of governors, a member of the injured patients and families compensation fund peer review council created under s. 655.275 (2)
, and a person consulting with that council under s. 655.275 (5) (b)
No claimant may bring an action against a state officer, employee or agent unless the claimant complies strictly with the requirements of this section.
Except as provided in sub. (5m)
, no civil action or civil proceeding may be brought against any state officer, employee or agent for or on account of any act growing out of or committed in the course of the discharge of the officer's, employee's or agent's duties, and no civil action or civil proceeding may be brought against any nonprofit corporation operating a museum under a lease agreement with the state historical society, unless within 120 days of the event causing the injury, damage or death giving rise to the civil action or civil proceeding, the claimant in the action or proceeding serves upon the attorney general written notice of a claim stating the time, date, location and the circumstances of the event giving rise to the claim for the injury, damage or death and the names of persons involved, including the name of the state officer, employee or agent involved. Except as provided under sub. (3m)
, a specific denial by the attorney general is not a condition precedent to bringing the civil action or civil proceeding.
If the claimant is a prisoner, as defined in s. 801.02 (7) (a) 2.
, the prisoner may not commence the civil action or proceeding until the attorney general denies the claim or until 120 days after the written notice under sub. (3)
is served upon the attorney general, whichever is earlier. This subsection does not apply to a prisoner who commences an action seeking injunctive relief if the court finds that there is a substantial risk to the prisoner's health or safety.
Except as provided in par. (b)
, if the civil action or proceeding under sub. (3)
is based on contribution or indemnification, the event under sub. (3)
is the underlying cause of action, not the cause of action for contribution or indemnification, and, except as provided in sub. (5m)
, the 120-day limitation applies to that event.
If the claimant under par. (a)
establishes that he or she had no actual or constructive knowledge of the underlying cause of action at the time of the event under sub. (3)
, except as provided in sub. (5m)
, the 120-day limitation under sub. (3)
applies to the earlier of the following:
The date the cause of action for contribution or indemnification accrues.
The date the claimant acquired actual or constructive knowledge of the underlying cause of action.
The claimant has the burden of proving he or she had no actual knowledge of the underlying cause of action under this paragraph.
The notice under sub. (3)
shall be sworn to by the claimant and shall be served upon the attorney general at his or her office in the capitol by certified mail. Notice shall be considered to be given upon mailing for the purpose of computing the time of giving notice.
With regard to a claim to recover damages for medical malpractice, the time periods under subs. (3)
shall be 180 days after discovery of the injury or the date on which, in the exercise of reasonable diligence, the injury should have been discovered, rather than 120 days after the event causing the injury.
The amount recoverable by any person or entity for any damages, injuries or death in any civil action or civil proceeding against a state officer, employee or agent, or against a nonprofit corporation operating a museum under a lease agreement with the state historical society, including any such action or proceeding based on contribution or indemnification, shall not exceed $250,000. No punitive damages may be allowed or recoverable in any such action.
With respect to a state officer, employee or agent described in sub. (2) (d) 3.
, this section applies to an event causing the injury, damage or death giving rise to an action against the state officer, employee or agent, which occurs before, on or after April 25, 1990.
Judicial Council Committee's Note, 1979: This section is previous s. 895.45 renumbered for more logical placement in restructured ch. 893. The previous 90-day time period in which to file written notice of a claim against an employee of the state of Wisconsin has been increased to 120 days to make the time period consistent with the period for filing notice of claims with other governmental bodies allowed in s. 893.80. (See note following s. 893.80). [Bill 326-A]
The court had no jurisdiction over state employees alleged to have intentionally damaged the plaintiff when the complaint failed to comply with the notice of claim statute. Elm Park Iowa, Inc. v. Denniston, 92 Wis. 2d 723
, 286 N.W.2d 5
(Ct. App. 1979).
Noncompliance with the notice of injury statute barred suit even though the defendant failed to raise the issue in responsive pleadings. Mannino v. Davenport, 99 Wis. 2d 602
, 299 N.W.2d 823
The court properly granted the defendant's motion to dismiss since a notice of claim of injury was not served upon the attorney general within the 120 day limit. Ibrahim v. Samore, 118 Wis. 2d 720
, 348 N.W.2d 554
Substantial compliance with the requirements for the content of a notice under sub. (3) is sufficient to meet legislative intent. Daily v. UW-Whitewater, 145 Wis. 2d 756
, 429 N.W.2d 83
(Ct. App. 1988).
Sub. (3) does not create an exception for a plaintiff who is unaware that a defendant is a state employee. Renner vs. Madison General Hospital, 151 Wis. 2d 885
, 447 N.W.2d 97
(Ct. App. 1989).
Under an administrative-services-only state group insurance contract, the insurer is an agent of the state, and the plaintiff must comply with the notice provisions under this section to maintain an action. Smith v. Wisconsin Physicians Services, 152 Wis. 2d 25
, 447 N.W.2d 371
(Ct. App. 1989).
A possible finding that a state employee was acting as an apparent agent of a non-state hospital does not permit the maintenance of a suit against the state employee absent compliance with the notice requirements. Kashishian v. Port, 167 Wis. 2d 24
, 481 N.W.2d 227
Actual notice and lack of prejudice to the state are not exceptions to the 120-day notice requirement. Carlson v. Pepin County 167 Wis. 2d 345
, 481 N.W.2d 498
(Ct. App. 1992).
The certified mail requirement under sub. (5) is subject to strict construction. Kelley v. Reyes, 168 Wis. 2d 743
, 484 N.W.2d 388
(Ct. App. 1992).
Records relating to pending claims need not be disclosed under s. 19.35. Records of nonpending claims must be disclosed unless an in camera inspection reveals attorney-client privilege would be violated. George v. Record Custodian, 169 Wis. 2d 573
, 485 N.W.2d 460
(Ct. App. 1992).
Sub. (3) does not apply to claims for injunctive and declaratory relief. Lewis v. Sullivan, 188 Wis. 2d 157
, 524 N.W.2d 630
Sub. (5) requires a notice of claim to be sworn to and to include evidence showing that an oath or affirmation occurred. Kellner v. Christian, 197 Wis. 2d 183
, 539 N.W.2d 685
The discovery rule does not apply to sub. (3). The failure to apply the discovery rule to sub. (3) is not unconstitutional. Oney v. Schrauth, 197 Wis. 2d 891
, 541 N.W.2d 229
(Ct. App. 1995), 94-3298
The constitutional mandate of just compensation for a taking of property cannot be limited in amount by statute. A taking may result in the state's obligation to pay more than $250,000. Retired Teachers Association v. Employee Trust Funds Board, 207 Wis. 2d 1
, 558 N.W.2d 83
A state "agent" under sub. (3) means an individual and not a state agency. Miller v. Mauston School District, 222 Wis. 2d 540
, 588 N.W.2d 305
(Ct. App. 1998), 97-1874
A defendant is not relieved from filing a notice of claim under this section when a state employee also performs functions for a private employer. The notice of claim provisions are constitutional. Riccitelli v. Broekhuizen, 227 Wis. 2d 100
, 595 N.W.2d 392
This section does not provide an administrative remedy for purposes of filing a federal civil rights claim under 42 USC 1983 and therefore the failure to file a notice of claim under this section was not a failure to exhaust administrative remedies justifying denial of a petition. State ex rel. Ledford v. Circuit Court for Dane County, 228 Wis. 2d 768
, 599 N.W.2d 45
(Ct. App. 1999), 99-0939
The factors relevant to a master/servant relationship are relevant to deciding whether a person is a state employee under sub. (3). A state employee's affiliation with another entity does not vitiate his or her status as a state employee for purposes of sub. (3) as long as the act sued upon grows out of or was committed in the course of duties as a state employee. Lamoreux v. Oreck, 2004 WI App 160, 275 Wis. 2d 801
, 686 N.W.2d 722
Members of the Investment Board, Employee Trust Fund Board, Teachers Retirement Board, Wisconsin Retirement Board, Group Insurance Board, and Deferred Compensation Board are subject to the limitations on damages under this section and are entitled to the state's indemnification for liability under s. 895.46. OAG 2-06
This section provides no affirmative waiver of the state's immunity to suit, but forecloses suit when its procedures are not followed. The state has not waived its immunity under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act. Luder v. Endicott, 86 F. Supp. 2d 854
The injury caused by a misdiagnosis arises when the misdiagnosis causes greater harm than existed at the time of the misdiagnosis. Under sub. (6), discovery occurs when the plaintiff has information that would give a reasonable person notice of the injury, that is, of the greater harm caused by the misdiagnosis. McCulloch v. Linblade, 513 F. Supp 2d 1037
Highway defects. 893.83(1)(1)
Damages caused by highway defects; liability of municipality.
If damages happen to any person or his or her property by reason of the insufficiency or want of repairs of any highway that any town, city, or village is bound to keep in repair, the person sustaining the damages has a right to recover the damages from the town, city, or village. If the damages happen by reason of the insufficiency or want of repairs of a highway that any county by law or by agreement with any town, city, or village is bound to keep in repair, or that occupies any land owned and controlled by the county, the county is liable for the damages and the claim for damages shall be against the county. If the damages happen by reason of the insufficiency or want of repairs of a bridge erected or maintained at the expense of 2 or more towns, cities, villages, or counties, the action shall be brought against all of the towns, cities, villages, or counties that are liable for the repairs of the bridge. Upon recovery of judgment, the damages and costs shall be paid by the towns, cities, villages, or counties in the proportion in which they are liable for the repairs. The court may direct the judgment to be collected from each town, city, village, or county for its proportion only. The amount recoverable by any person for any damages so sustained shall not exceed $50,000. The procedures under s. 893.80
shall apply to the commencement of actions brought under this subsection. No action may be maintained to recover damages for injuries sustained by reason of an accumulation of snow or ice upon any bridge or highway, unless the accumulation existed for 3 weeks.
(2) Highway defects; liability of wrongdoer; procedure.
Whenever damages happen to any person or property by reason of any defect in any highway or other public ground, or from any other cause for which any town, city, village, or county would be liable, and such damages are caused by, or arise from, the wrong, default, or negligence thereof and of any person, or private corporation, such person or private corporation shall be primarily liable therefor. The town, city, village, or county may be sued with the person or private corporation so primarily liable. If the town, city, village, or county denies its primary liability and proves upon whom such liability rests, the judgment shall be against all of the defendants shown by the verdict or finding to be liable for the damages. Judgment against the town, city, village, or county shall not be enforceable until execution has been issued against the party found to be primarily liable and returned unsatisfied in whole or in part. On such return being made, the defendant town, city, village, or county shall be bound by the judgment. The unpaid balance shall be collected in the same way as other judgments.
History: 2003 a. 214
NOTE: 2003 Wis. Act 214
, which affected this section, contains extensive explanatory notes.
The plaintiff's oral notice to the chief of police, who said he would file a report, and direct contact and negotiation with the city's insurer, within 120 days, was sufficient compliance to sustain an action for damages against the city. Harte v. City of Eagle River, 45 Wis. 2d 513
, 173 N.W.2d 683
A spouse's action for loss of consortium is separate and has a separate dollar limitation from the injured spouse's claim for damages. Schwartz v. Milwaukee, 54 Wis. 2d 286
, 195 N.W.2d 480
Shoveling snow from a sidewalk to create a mound along the curb does not create an unnatural or artificial accumulation that renders a city liable. Kobelinski v. Milwaukee & Suburban Transport Corp. 56 Wis. 2d 504
, 202 N.W.2d 415
This section creates a secondary liability on a municipality or county for highway defects that cause damage only when the act or default of another tortfeasor also contributes to the creation of the defect. Dickens v. Kensmoe, 61 Wis. 2d 211
, 212 N.W.2d 484
Ice resulting from improper drainage of runoff water is an artificial accumulation outside the 3-week limitation. An insurance policy did not waive the recovery limitation under this section. Sambs v. Brookfield, 66 Wis. 2d 296
, 224 N.W.2d 582
City liability arising from snow and ice on sidewalks is determined under the standard of whether, under all the circumstances, the city was unreasonable in allowing the condition to continue. Circumstances to be considered include location, climactic conditions, accumulation, practicality of removal, traffic on the sidewalk, and intended use of the sidewalk by pedestrians. Schattschneider v. Milwaukee & Suburban Transport Corp. 72 Wis. 2d 252
, 240 N.W.2d 182
The allegedly negligent placement of an arterial stop sign by a city does not constitute a highway defect within the meaning of this section. Weiss v. Milwaukee, 79 Wis. 2d 213
, 255 N.W.2d 496
When the plaintiff fell due to a depression in a street enclosed as a temporary sidewalk, the city, not the indemnitor contractor, was primarily liable since the contractor did no excavation in the street and its enclosing of the street did not cause the defect. Webster v. Klug & Smith, 81 Wis. 2d 334
, 260 N.W.2d 686
Failure to warn of a rubble pile beyond the dead end of a road was not actionable under this section. Foss v. Town of Kronenwetter, 87 Wis. 2d 91
, 273 N.W.2d 801
(Ct. App. 1978).
An insurance policy was construed to waive the recovery limitations this section. Stanhope v. Brown County, 90 Wis. 2d 823
, 280 N.W.2d 711
Recovery limitations under this section are constitutional. Sambs v. City of Brookfield, 97 Wis. 2d 356
, 293 N.W.2d 504
This section does not impose liability for failure to cut roadside vegetation. Estridge v. City of Eau Claire, 166 Wis. 2d 684
, 480 N.W.2d 513
(Ct. App. 1991).
Immunity under this section does not exist for injuries resulting from ice on a stairway connecting 2 sidewalks. Henderson v. Milwaukee County, 198 Wis. 2d 748
, 543 N.W.2d 544
(Ct. App. 1995).
If a plaintiff's injuries occurred by reason of insufficiency or want of repairs of any highway, a governmental entity is not afforded immunity under s. 893.80 (4). Morris v. Juneau County, 219 Wis. 2d 543
, 579 N.W.2d 690
A person other than a municipality with any lability for a defect is primarily liable for the entire resulting judgment. If a contractor settles with the injured party for less than the amount of the ultimate award, the municipality is not liable for the balance. VanCleve v. City of Marinette, 2002 WI App 10, 250 Wis. 2d 121
, 639 N.W.2d 792
Under this section, a municipality may not be held primarily liable, and there can be neither joint, nor primary, liability on the municipality's part if any other party has any liability. Municipal liability is successive and is only for the damages and costs that the party with primary liability is unable to pay. VanCleve v. City of Marinette, 2003 WI 2, 258 Wis. 2d 80
, 655 N.W.2d 113
A municipality's liability is triggered only if execution has been issued against the party with primary liability and returned unsatisfied. By entering into a settlement and release with a defendant found by a jury to be liable, a plaintiff indirectly waives any right to hold the municipality secondarily liable because the release prevents taking a judgment against and executing upon the primarily liable defendant. VanCleve v. City of Marinette, 2003 WI 2, 258 Wis. 2d 80
, 655 N.W.2d 113