Defenses and objection; when and how presented; by pleading or motion; motion for judgment on the pleadings.
Counterclaim and cross claim.
Amended and supplemental pleadings.
Alternative dispute resolution.
Ch. 802 Note
Chapter 802 was created by Sup. Ct. Order, 67 Wis. 2d 585
, 614 (1975), which contains explanatory notes. Statutes prior to the 1983-84 edition also contain these notes.
Pleadings allowed; form of motions. 802.01(1)
There shall be a complaint and an answer; a reply to a counterclaim denominated as such; an answer to a cross claim, if the answer contains a cross claim; a 3rd-party complaint, if a person who was not an original party is summoned under s. 803.05
, and a 3rd-party answer, if a 3rd-party complaint is served. No other pleading shall be allowed, except that the court may order a further pleading to a reply or to any answer.
An application to the court for an order shall be by motion which, unless made during a hearing or trial, shall be made in writing, shall state with particularity the grounds therefor, and shall set forth the relief or order sought. The requirement of writing is fulfilled if the motion is stated in a written notice of the hearing of the motion. Unless specifically authorized by statute, orders to show cause shall not be used.
Copies of all records and papers upon which a motion is founded, except those which have been previously filed or served in the same action or proceeding, shall be served with the notice of motion and shall be plainly referred to therein. Papers already filed or served shall be referred to as papers theretofore filed or served in the action. The moving party may be allowed to present upon the hearing, records, affidavits or other papers, but only upon condition that opposing counsel be given reasonable time in which to meet such additional proofs should request therefor be made.
Recitals in orders.
All orders, unless they otherwise provide, shall be deemed to be based on the records and papers used on the motion and the proceedings theretofore had and shall recite the nature of the motion, the appearances, the dates on which the motion was heard and decided, and the order signed. No other formal recitals are necessary.
The rules applicable to captions, signing and other matters of form of pleadings apply to all motions and other papers in an action, except that affidavits in support of a motion need not be separately captioned if served and filed with the motion. The name of the party seeking the order or relief and a brief description of the type of order or relief sought shall be included in the caption of every written motion.
When deemed made.
In computing any period of time prescribed or allowed by the statutes governing procedure in civil actions and special proceedings, a motion which requires notice under s. 801.15 (4)
shall be deemed made when it is served with its notice of motion.
(3) Demurrers and pleas abolished.
Demurrers and pleas shall not be used.
Sup. Ct. Order, 67 Wis. 2d 585, 614 (1975); Sup. Ct. Order, 104 Wis. 2d xi (1981); Sup. Ct. Order, 171 Wis. 2d xix (1992); 2005 a. 253
; 2007 a. 97
Judicial Council Committee's Note on sub. (1), 1981: See 1981 Note to s. 802.02 (4). [Re Order effective Jan. 1, 1982]
In the absence of an answer to a cross claim and in the absence of any other responsive pleadings, a court may deem facts alleged in the cross claim and submissions filed in connection with a summary judgment motion admitted for purposes of summary judgment. Daughtry v. MPC Systems, Inc. 2004 WI App 70
, 272 Wis. 2d 260
, 679 N.W.2d 808
General rules of pleading. 802.02(1)
Contents of pleadings.
A pleading or supplemental pleading that sets forth a claim for relief, whether an original or amended claim, counterclaim, cross claim or 3rd-party claim, shall contain all of the following:
A short and plain statement of the claim, identifying the transaction or occurrence or series of transactions or occurrences out of which the claim arises and showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.
A demand for judgment for the relief the pleader seeks.
Relief in the alternative or of several different types may be demanded. With respect to a tort claim seeking the recovery of money, the demand for judgment may not specify the amount of money the pleader seeks.
This subsection does not affect any right of a party to specify to the jury or the court the amount of money the party seeks.
(2) Defenses; form of denials.
A party shall state in short and plain terms the defenses to each claim asserted and shall admit or deny the averments upon which the adverse party relies. If the party is without knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief as to the truth of an averment, the party shall so state and this has the effect of a denial. Denials shall fairly meet the substance of the averments denied. The pleader shall make the denials as specific denials of designated averments or paragraphs, but if a pleader intends in good faith to deny only a part or a qualification of an averment, the pleader shall specify so much of it as is true and material and shall deny only the remainder.
(3) Affirmative defenses.
In pleading to a preceding pleading, a party shall set forth affirmatively any matter constituting an avoidance or affirmative defense including but not limited to the following: accord and satisfaction, arbitration and award, assumption of risk, contributory negligence, discharge in bankruptcy, duress, estoppel, failure of a condition subsequent, failure or want of consideration, failure to mitigate damages, fraud, illegality, immunity, incompetence, injury by fellow servants, laches, license, payment, release, res judicata, statute of frauds, statute of limitations, superseding cause, and waiver. When a party has mistakenly designated a defense as a counterclaim or a counterclaim as a defense, the court, if justice so requires, shall permit amendment of the pleading to conform to a proper designation. If an affirmative defense permitted to be raised by motion under s. 802.06 (2)
is so raised, it need not be set forth in a subsequent pleading.
(4) Effect of failure to deny.
Averments in a pleading to which a responsive pleading is required, other than those as to the fact, nature and extent of injury and damage, are admitted when not denied in the responsive pleading, except that a party whose prior pleadings set forth all denials and defenses to be relied upon in defending a claim for contribution need not respond to such claim. Averments in a pleading to which no responsive pleading is required or permitted shall be taken as denied or avoided.
(5) Pleadings to be concise and direct; consistency. 802.02(5)(a)(a)
Each averment of a pleading shall be simple, concise, and direct. No technical forms of pleading or motions are required.
A party may set forth 2 or more statements of a claim or defense alternatively or hypothetically, either in one claim or defense or in separate claims or defenses. When 2 or more statements are made in the alternative and one of them if made independently would be sufficient, the pleading is not made insufficient by the insufficiency of one or more of the alternative statements. A party may also state as many separate claims or defenses as the party has regardless of consistency and whether based on legal or equitable grounds. All statements shall be made subject to the obligations set forth in s. 802.05
(6) Construction of pleadings.
All pleadings shall be so construed as to do substantial justice.
Sup. Ct. Order, 67 Wis. 2d 585, 616 (1975); 1975 c. 218
; Sup. Ct. Order, 82 Wis. 2d ix (1978); Sup. Ct. Order, 104 Wis. 2d xi (1981); 1987 a. 256
; 1993 a. 486
See s. 806.01 (1) (c)
for effect of demand for judgment or want of such demand in the complaint in case of judgment by default.
See ss. 891.29
as to the effect of not denying an allegation in the complaint of corporate or partnership existence.
Judicial Council Committee's Note, 1977: Sub. (1) is amended to allow a pleading setting forth a claim for relief under the Rules of Civil Procedure to contain a short and plain statement of any series of transactions, occurrences, or events under which a claim for relief arose. This modification will allow a pleader in a consumer protection or anti-trust case, for example, to plead a pattern of business transactions, occurrences or events leading to a claim of relief rather than having to specifically plead each and every transaction, occurrence or event when the complaint is based on a pattern or course of business conduct involving either a substantial span of time or multiple and continuous transactions and events. The change is consistent with Rule 8 (a) (2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. [Re Order effective July 1, 1978]
Judicial Council Committee's Note, 1981: Sub. (4) has been amended and s. 802.07 (6) repealed to limit the circumstances in which a responsive pleading to a claim for contribution is required. A claim for contribution is a claim for relief under sub. (1) which normally requires an answer, reply or third-party answer. The amendment to sub. (4), however, eliminates this requirement where the party from whom contribution is sought has already pleaded all denials and defenses to be relied upon in defending the contribution claim. [Re Order effective Jan. 1, 1982]
Sub. (2) does not authorize denials for lack of knowledge or information solely to obtain delay. An answer that does so is frivolous under [former] s. 814.025 (3) (b). First Federated Savings Bank v. McDonah, 143 Wis. 2d 429
, 422 N.W.2d 113
(Ct. App. 1988).
Insurers must plead and prove their policy limits prior to a verdict to restrict the judgment to the policy limits. Price v. Hart, 166 Wis. 2d 182
, 480 N.W.2d 249
(Ct. App. 1991).
A claim for punitive damages on a tort claim is subject to sub. (1m) (a). A demand for a specific amount in violation of sub. (1m) (a) is a nullity. Apex Electronics Corp. v. Gee, 217 Wis. 2d 378
, 577 N.W.2d 23
The effect of the court striking a defendant's answer is that the defendant failed to deny the plaintiff's allegations and, therefore, is deemed to have admitted them. An insured's answers do not inure to an insurers benefit. Such a proposition is contrary to the direct action statute, s. 632.24. Estate of Otto v. Physicians Insurance Company of Wisconsin, Inc. 2007 WI App 192
, 305 Wis. 2d 198
, 739 N.W.2d 599
. Affirmed, 2008 WI 78
, 311 Wis. 2d 84
, 751 N.W.2d 805
Pleading special matters. 802.03(1)
It is not necessary to aver the capacity of a party to sue or be sued or the authority of a party to sue or be sued in a representative capacity or the legal existence of an organized association of persons that is made a party. If a party desires to raise an issue as to the legal existence of any party or the capacity of any party to sue or be sued or the authority of a party to sue or be sued in a representative capacity, the party shall do so by specific negative averment which shall include such supporting particulars as are peculiarly within the pleader's knowledge, or by motion under s. 802.06 (2)
(2) Fraud, mistake and condition of mind.
In all averments of fraud or mistake, the circumstances constituting fraud or mistake shall be stated with particularity. Malice, intent, knowledge, and other condition of mind of a person may be averred generally.
(3) Conditions precedent.
In pleading the performance or occurrence of conditions precedent in a contract, it shall not be necessary to state the facts showing such performance or occurrence, but it may be stated generally that the party duly performed all the conditions on his or her part or that the conditions have otherwise occurred or both. A denial of performance or occurrence shall be made specifically and with particularity. If the averment of performance or occurrence is controverted, the party pleading performance or occurrence shall be bound to establish on the trial the facts showing such performance or occurrence.
(4) Official document or act.
In pleading an official document or official act it is sufficient to aver that the document was issued or the act done in compliance with the law.
In pleading a judgment or decision of a domestic or foreign court, judicial or quasi-judicial tribunal, or of a board or officer, it is sufficient to aver the judgment or decision without setting forth matter showing jurisdiction to render it.
(6) Libel or slander.
In an action for libel or slander, the particular words complained of shall be set forth in the complaint, but their publication and their application to the plaintiff may be stated generally.
(7) Sales of goods, etc.
In an action involving the sale and delivery of goods or the performing of labor or services, or the furnishing of materials, the plaintiff may set forth and number in the complaint the items of the plaintiff's claim and the reasonable value or agreed price of each. The defendant by the answer shall indicate specifically those items defendant disputes and whether in respect to delivery or performance, reasonable value or agreed price. If the plaintiff does not so plead the items of the claim, the plaintiff shall deliver to the defendant, within 10 days after service of a demand therefor in writing, a statement of the items of the plaintiff's claim and the reasonable value or agreed price of each.
(8) Time and place.
For the purpose of testing the sufficiency of a pleading, averments of time and place are material and shall be considered like all other averments of material matter.
In an action for foreclosure of real property, the complaint may not name a tenant of residential real property as a defendant unless the tenant has a lien or ownership interest in the real property.
Sup. Ct. Order, 67 Wis. 2d 585, 619 (1975); 1975 c. 218
; 2009 a. 28
Sub. (8) subjects claims lacking averments of time to motions for a more definite statement and not to motions to dismiss for failure to state a claim. Schweiger v. Loewi & Co., Inc. 65 Wis. 2d 56
, 221 N.W.2d 882
The "American rule" of absolute judicial immunity from liability for libel or slander provides that writings made by an attorney of record in a pending lawsuit apply in this state if the statements made are relevant to the matters being considered and are made in a procedural context recognized as affording absolute privilege. Converters Equip. Corp. v. Condes Corp. 80 Wis. 2d 257
, 258 N.W.2d 712
When a libel action is based on conduct rather than words, sub. (6) is not applicable. Starobin v. Northridge Lakes Development Co. 94 Wis. 2d 1
, 287 N.W.2d 747
Sub. (2) does not prevent the trial court from amending the pleadings to conform with the evidence pursuant to s. 802.09 as long as the parties either consent or have the chance to submit additional proof. Maiers v. Wang, 192 Wis. 2d 115
, 531 N.W.2d 54
Sub. (2) requires specification of the time, place, and content of an alleged false representation. Allegations were too general that did not specify the particular individuals who made the representations and did not specify where, when, and to whom the representations were made. Friends of Kenwood v. Green, 2000 WI App 217
, 239 Wis. 2d 78
, 619 N.W.2d 271
Form of pleadings. 802.04(1)(1)
Every pleading shall contain a caption setting forth the name of the court, the venue, the title of the action, the file number, and a designation as in s. 802.01 (1)
. If a pleading contains motions, or an answer or reply contains cross claims or counterclaims, the designation in the caption shall state their existence. In the complaint the caption of the action shall include the standardized description of the case classification type and associated code number as approved by the director of state courts, and the title of the action shall include the names and addresses of all the parties, indicating the representative capacity, if any, in which they sue or are sued and, in actions by or against a corporation, the corporate existence and its domestic or foreign status shall be indicated. In pleadings other than the complaint, it is sufficient to state the name of the first party on each side with an appropriate indication of other parties. Every pleading commencing an action under s. 814.61 (1) (a)
or 814.62 (1)
and every complaint filed under s. 814.61 (3)
shall contain in the caption, if the action includes a claim for a money judgment, a statement of whether the amount claimed is greater than the amount under s. 799.01 (1) (d)
(2) Paragraphs; separate statements.
All averments of claim or defense shall be made in numbered paragraphs, the contents of each of which shall be limited as far as practicable to a statement of a single set of circumstances; and a paragraph may be referred to by number in all succeeding pleadings. Each claim founded upon a separate transaction or occurrence and each defense other than denials shall be stated in a separate claim or defense whenever a separation facilitates the clear presentation of the matters set forth. A counterclaim must be pleaded as such and the answer must demand the judgment to which the defendant supposes to be entitled upon the counterclaim.
(3) Adoption by reference; exhibits.
Statements in a pleading may be adopted by reference in a different part of the same pleading or in another pleading or in any motion. A copy of any written instrument which is an exhibit to a pleading is a part thereof for all purposes.
Sup. Ct. Order, 67 Wis. 2d 585, 621 (1975); 1975 c. 218
; Sup. Ct. Order, 171 Wis. 2d xix (1992); 1995 a. 27
; 2007 a. 97
Signing of pleadings, motions, and other papers; representations to court; sanctions. 802.05(1)
Every pleading, written motion, and other paper shall be signed by at least one attorney of record in the attorney's individual name, or, if the party is not represented by an attorney, shall be signed by the party. Each paper shall state the signer's address and telephone number, and state bar number, if any. Except when otherwise specifically provided by rule or statute, pleadings need not be verified or accompanied by affidavit. An unsigned paper shall be stricken unless omission of the signature is corrected promptly after being called to the attention of the attorney or party.
(2) Representations to court.
By presenting to the court, whether by signing, filing, submitting, or later advocating a pleading, written motion, or other paper, an attorney or unrepresented party is certifying that to the best of the person's knowledge, information, and belief, formed after an inquiry reasonable under the circumstances, all of the following:
The paper is not being presented for any improper purpose, such as to harass or to cause unnecessary delay or needless increase in the cost of litigation.
The claims, defenses, and other legal contentions stated in the paper are warranted by existing law or by a nonfrivolous argument for the extension, modification, or reversal of existing law or the establishment of new law.
The allegations and other factual contentions stated in the paper have evidentiary support or, if specifically so identified, are likely to have evidentiary support after a reasonable opportunity for further investigation or discovery.
The denials of factual contentions stated in the paper are warranted on the evidence or, if specifically so identified, are reasonably based on a lack of information or belief.
If, after notice and a reasonable opportunity to respond, the court determines that sub. (2)
has been violated, the court may impose an appropriate sanction upon the attorneys, law firms, or parties that have violated sub. (2)
or are responsible for the violation in accordance with the following:
802.05(3)(a)1.1. `By motion.'
A motion for sanctions under this rule shall be made separately from other motions or requests and shall describe the specific conduct alleged to violate sub. (2)
. The motion shall be served as provided in s. 801.14
, but shall not be filed with or presented to the court unless, within 21 days after service of the motion or such other period as the court may prescribe, the challenged paper, claim, defense, contention, allegation, or denial is not withdrawn or appropriately corrected. If warranted, the court may award to the party prevailing on the motion reasonable expenses and attorney fees incurred in presenting or opposing the motion. Absent exceptional circumstances, a law firm shall be held jointly responsible for violations committed by its partners, associates, and employees.
2. `On court's initiative.'
On its own initiative, the court may enter an order describing the specific conduct that appears to violate sub. (2)
and directing an attorney, law firm, or party to show cause why it has not violated sub. (2)
with the specific conduct described in the court's order.
Nature of sanction; limitations.
A sanction imposed for violation of this rule shall be limited to what is sufficient to deter repetition of such conduct or comparable conduct by others similarly situated. Subject to the limitations in subds. 1.
, the sanction may consist of, or include, directives of a nonmonetary nature, an order to pay a penalty into court, or, if imposed on motion and warranted for effective deterrence, an order directing payment to the movant of some or all of the reasonable attorney fees and other expenses incurred as a direct result of the violation subject to all of the following:
Monetary sanctions may not be awarded against a represented party for a violation of sub. (2) (b)
Monetary sanctions may not be awarded on the court's initiative unless the court issues its order to show cause before a voluntary dismissal or settlement of the claims made by or against the party that is, or whose attorneys are, to be sanctioned.
When imposing sanctions, the court shall describe the conduct determined to constitute a violation of this rule and explain the basis for the sanction imposed.
A court shall review the initial pleading as soon as practicable after the action or special proceeding is filed with the court if the action or special proceeding is commenced by a prisoner, as defined in s. 801.02 (7) (a) 2.
The court may dismiss the action or special proceeding under par. (a)
without requiring the defendant to answer the pleading if the court determines that the action or special proceeding meets any of the following conditions:
The action or proceeding is frivolous, as determined by a violation of sub. (2)
The action or proceeding is used for any improper purpose, such as to harass, to cause unnecessary delay or to needlessly increase the cost of litigation.
The action of proceeding seeks monetary damages from a defendant who is immune from such relief.
The action or proceeding fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.
If a court dismisses an action or special proceeding under par. (b)
the court shall notify the department of justice or the attorney representing the political subdivision, as appropriate, of the dismissal by a procedure developed by the director of state courts in cooperation with the department of justice.
The dismissal of an action or special proceeding under par. (b)
does not relieve the prisoner from paying the full filing fee related to that action or special proceeding.
(5) Inapplicability to discovery. Subsections (1)
do not apply to disclosures and discovery requests, responses, objections, and motions that are subject to ss. 804.01