History: 1979 c. 323
Judicial Council Committee's Note, 1979: This section is previous s. 893.18 (6) renumbered for more logical placement in restructured ch. 893. [Bill 326-A]
This section applies only if the action is of a type that does not fall under any other statute of limitations. State v. Holland Plastics Co. 111 Wis. 2d 497
, 331 N.W.2d 320
When every day of violation of a statute constitutes a separate violation, a cause of action accrues on each day of an alleged violation. State v. Chrysler Outboard Corp. 219 Wis. 2d 130
, 580 N.W.2d 203
Notwithstanding s. 990.06
, an action for the establishment of the paternity of a child shall be commenced within 19 years of the date of the birth of the child or be barred.
History: 1971 c. 21
; 1979 c. 323
; 1979 c. 355
; 1979 c. 357
; Stats. 1979 s. 893.88; 1983 a. 447
This section did not revive a time-barred paternity action. In re Paternity of D. L. T., 137 Wis. 2d 57
, 403 N.W.2d 434
This section, limiting only an action for the establishment of paternity, does not preclude a motion for the purpose of determining paternity in a probate proceeding. DiBenedetto v. Jaskolski, 2003 WI App 70
, 261 Wis. 2d 723
, 661 N.W.2d 869
Action for injury resulting from improvements to real property. 893.89(1)(1)
In this section, “exposure period" means the 7 years immediately following the date of substantial completion of the improvement to real property.
Except as provided in sub. (3)
, no cause of action may accrue and no action may be commenced, including an action for contribution or indemnity, against the owner or occupier of the property or against any person involved in the improvement to real property after the end of the exposure period, to recover damages for any injury to property, for any injury to the person, or for wrongful death, arising out of any deficiency or defect in the design, land surveying, planning, supervision or observation of construction of, the construction of, or the furnishing of materials for, the improvement to real property. This subsection does not affect the rights of any person injured as the result of any defect in any material used in an improvement to real property to commence an action for damages against the manufacturer or producer of the material.
Except as provided in pars. (b)
, if a person sustains damages as the result of a deficiency or defect in an improvement to real property, and the statute of limitations applicable to the damages bars commencement of the cause of action before the end of the exposure period, the statute of limitations applicable to the damages applies.
If, as the result of a deficiency or defect in an improvement to real property, a person sustains damages during the period beginning on the first day of the 5th year and ending on the last day of the 7th year after the substantial completion of the improvement to real property, the time for commencing the action for the damages is extended for 3 years after the date on which the damages occurred.
An action for contribution is not barred due to the accrual of the cause of action for contribution beyond the end of the exposure period if the underlying action that the contribution action is based on is extended under par. (b)
This section does not apply to any of the following:
A person who commits fraud, concealment or misrepresentation related to a deficiency or defect in the improvement to real property.
A person who expressly warrants or guarantees the improvement to real property, for the period of that warranty or guarantee.
An owner or occupier of real property for damages resulting from negligence in the maintenance, operation or inspection of an improvement to real property.
Damages that were sustained before April 29, 1994.
Except as provided in sub. (4)
, this section applies to improvements to real property substantially completed before, on or after April 29, 1994.
This section does not affect the rights of any person under ch. 102
Bleachers at a high school football stadium qualified as an improvement to real property because they were a permanent addition to real property that enhanced its capital value, involved the expenditure of labor and money, and were designed to make the property more useful or valuable. That an improvement can be removed without harming the real property will not necessarily indicate that the item is not an improvement to real property. The more pertinent inquiry is whether the item can be readily dissembled and moved. Kohn v. Darlington Community Schools, 2005 WI 99
, 283 Wis. 2d 1
, 698 N.W.2d 794
This section does not violate Article I, Section 9, the right to remedy clause of the Wisconsin Constitution nor the guarantees of equal protection in the federal and state constitutions. Kohn v. Darlington Community Schools, 2005 WI 99
, 283 Wis. 2d 1
, 698 N.W.2d 794
This section bars safe place claims under s. 101.11 resulting from injuries caused by structural defects, 10 years after a structure is substantially completed, as opposed to safe place claims resulting from injuries caused by unsafe conditions associated with the structure. Mair v. Trollhaugen Ski Resort, 2006 WI 61
, 291 Wis. 2d 132
, 715 N.W.2d 598
The evident purpose of sub. (4) (b) is to give a party who has bargained for a warranty or guarantee the benefit of the warranty or guarantee period before the exposure period begins to run. The common council is the only entity authorized by statute to act on behalf of a city. Sub. (4) (b) does not need to explicitly state that a municipality must take “official action," because the only manner in which a municipality may lawfully act is already established by the statutes that govern it. Sub. (4) (b) does not extend to an “unofficial" warranty or guarantee that is unenforceable and does not provide an equitable estoppel exception to the running of the statute. Hocking v. City of Dodgeville, 2009 WI App 108
, 320 Wis. 2d 519
, 770 N.W.2d 761
When the design and construction of city streets caused a water drainage problem, the city's failure to alter the streets to remedy the problem was a not failure to “maintain" the streets under sub. (4) (c). The applicable common meaning of “maintenance" in this context is the labor of keeping something in a state of repair. Here there was no factual submission showing that the city did or failed to do something with respect to keeping the streets in repair that caused the water damage. Hocking v. City of Dodgeville, 2009 WI App 108
, 320 Wis. 2d 519
, 770 N.W.2d 761
The warranty specified in sub. (4) (b) is an express warranty; this means an implied warranty is not enough. City officials, such as employees and individual members of the common council, cannot, through representations that problems will be solved, bind the city to resolve those problems unless they act or make their representations with the authority to bind the city. Hocking v. City of Dodgeville, 2010 WI 59
, 326 Wis. 2d 155
, 785 N.W.2d 398
When an improvement to real property creates a nuisance, a party has 10 years from the substantial completion of that improvement to bring suit. Sub. (4) (c) applies when an improvement to real property is completed, but the owner or occupier is negligent in the maintenance, operation, or inspection of it, thus causing damage. It does not apply to proper maintenance of an improvement when it is the improvement itself that causes injury. Hocking v. City of Dodgeville, 2010 WI 59
, 326 Wis. 2d 155
, 785 N.W.2d 398
An easement agreement that expressly stated that the defendant sewer district agreed to construct and maintain an intercepting sewer in good order and condition and to indemnify and save harmless the plaintiff from all loss or injury to its property and persons due to such construction was an express warranty under
. Cianciola, LLP v. Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District, 2011 WI App 35
, 331 Wis. 2d 740
, 796 N.W.2d 806
This section provides that persons involved in improvements to real property may not be sued more than ten years after substantial completion of a project. The statute does not extend the time for bringing lawsuits that are otherwise time-barred by statutes of limitations. This section is a catch-all provision that imposes a time limit on many lawsuits relating to property improvements that are not otherwise time-barred within ten years after substantial completion. If a cause of action is time-barred by a statute of limitations before it would be barred under this section, that statute of limitations applies. Kalahari Development, LLC v. Iconica, Inc. 2012 WI App 34
, 340 Wis. 2d 454
, 811 N.W.2d 825
This section applies to claims against subsequent owners who were not involved in the actual improvement to the property. Expanding the class of claims exempt from the statute of repose under sub. (4) (c) to include not only unsafe conditions, but also structural defects of which an owner has notice would effectively swallow the rule because every improvement that is negligently designed could be considered an ongoing nuisance that the owner or operator negligently maintains by failing to correct. Crisanto v. Heritage Relocation Services, Inc. 2014 WI App 75
, 355 Wis. 2d 403
, 851 N.W.2d 771
The purpose of this section is to protect contractors who are involved in permanent improvements to real property. Daily repairs are not improvements to real property as that phrase is used in this section. Peter v. Sprinkmann Sons Corporation, 2015 WI App 17
, 360 Wis. 2d 411
, 860 N.W.2d 308
Although the accident in this case occurred well after the 10-year exposure period had expired, there was sufficient evidence in the record to support the trial court's findings that the defendant concealed and misrepresented changes in construction, thus triggering the fraud exception to the statue of repose. Wosinski v. Advance Cast Stone Co. 2017 WI App 51
, 377 Wis. 2d 596
, 901 N.W.2d 797
Bond; campaign financing; lobbying. 893.90(1)(1)
An action by the state or any of its departments or agencies or by any county, town, village, city, school district, technical college district or other municipal unit to recover any sum of money by reason of the breach of an official bond or the breach of a bond of any nature, whether required by law or not, given by a public officer or any agent or employee of a governmental unit shall be commenced within 3 years after the governmental unit receives knowledge of the fact that a default has occurred in some of the conditions of the bond and that it was damaged because of the default or be barred.
Judicial Council Committee's Note, 1979: This section is previous ss. 893.20 and 893.205 (3) renumbered for more logical placement in restructured ch. 893. [Bill 326-A]
Action for expenses related to a forest fire.
An action by a state or town under s. 26.14 (9) (b)
to recover expenses incurred in the suppression of a forest fire shall be commenced within 2 years of the setting of the fire or be barred.
History: 1979 c. 323
Judicial Council Committee's Note, 1979: This section has been created to place into ch. 893 the statute of limitation for an action to recover expenses related to fighting a forest fire. See the note following s. 26.14 (9) (b). [Bill 326-A]
Action for contribution.
An action for contribution based on tort, if the right of contribution does not arise out of a prior judgment allocating the comparative negligence between the parties, shall be commenced within one year after the cause of action accrues or be barred.
History: 1979 c. 323
Judicial Council Committee's Note, 1979: This section is previous s. 893.22 (4) renumbered for more logical placement in restructured ch. 893. [Bill 326-A]
A claim for contribution accrues when payment is made. Milwaukee Mutual Insurance Co. v. Priewe, 118 Wis. 2d 318
, 348 N.W.2d 585
(Ct. App. 1984).
Action for certain damages related to mining. 893.925(1)(1)
A claim against the mining damage appropriation under s. 107.31
to recover damages for mining-related injuries shall be brought within 3 years of the date on which the death occurs or the injury was or should have been known.
An action to recover damages for mining-related injuries under s. 107.32
shall be brought within 3 years of the date on which the death or injury occurs unless the department of safety and professional services gives written notice within the time specified in this subsection that a claim has been filed with it under sub. (1)
, in which case an action based on the claim may be brought against the person to whom the notice is given within one year after the final resolution, including any appeal, of the claim or within the time specified in this subsection, whichever is longer.
In this subsection “
date of injury" means the date on which the evidence of injury, resulting from the act upon which the action is based, is sufficient to alert the injured party to the possibility of the injury. The injury need not be of such magnitude as to identify the causal factor.
History: 1979 c. 353
; Stats. 1979 s. 893.207; 1979 c. 355
; Stats. 1979 s. 893.925; 1995 a. 27
, 9116 (5)
; 2011 a. 32
Miscellaneous actions. 893.93(1)(1)
The following actions shall be commenced within 6 years after the cause of action accrues or be barred:
An action upon a claim, whether arising on contract or otherwise, against a decedent or against a decedent's estate, unless probate of the estate in this state is commenced within 6 years after the decedent's death.
The following actions shall be commenced within 3 years after the cause of action accrues or be barred:
An action upon a liability created by statute when a different limitation is not prescribed by law.
An action for relief on the ground of fraud. The cause of action in such case is not deemed to have accrued until the discovery, by the aggrieved party, of the facts constituting the fraud.
The following actions shall be commenced within 2 years after the cause of action accrues or be barred:
An action by a private party upon a statute penalty, or forfeiture when the action is given to the party prosecuting therefor and the state, except when the statute imposing it provides a different limitation.
An action to recover a forfeiture or penalty imposed by any bylaw, ordinance or regulation of any town, county, city or village or of any corporation or limited liability company organized under the laws of this state, when no other limitation is prescribed by law.
The following actions shall be commenced within one year after the cause of action accrues or be barred:
An action against a sheriff or other officer for the escape of a prisoner arrested or imprisoned on civil process.
An action by a drainage board for damages under s. 88.92 (2)
shall be commenced within 3 years after the drainage board discovers the fact, or with the exercise of reasonable diligence should have discovered the fact of the damage, whichever comes first, or be barred.
Judicial Council Committee's Note, 1979:
This section has been created to place in one location within restructured ch. 893 various miscellaneous statutes of limitation for easier reference and use. Sub. (1) (a) is previous s. 893.19 (4). Sub. (1) (b) is previous s. 893.19 (7). Sub. (1) (c) is previous s. 893.19 (9). Sub. (1) (d) is previous s. 893.19 (10). Sub. (2) (a) is previous s. 893.21 (1) with a comma placed after the word “penalty" in order to have the section accurately reflect the decision in Grengs v. 20th Century Fox Film Corporation, 232 F.2d 325
(1956). Sub. (2) (b) is previous s. 893.21 (4). Sub. (3) (a) is previous s. 893.22 (1). Sub. (3) (b) is previous s. 893.22 (3). [Bill 326-A]
If the complaint does not allege the requisite elements for a cause of action based on fraud, s. 893.19 (7) [now s. 893.93 (1) (b)] does not apply. Estate of Demos, 50 Wis. 2d 262
, 184 N.W.2d 117
A complaint alleging employment discrimination on the basis of sex and seeking back-pay damages is an action upon a liability created by statute, and in the absence of any other applicable limitation, the 6-year limitation of s. 893.19 (4) [now s. 893.93 (1) (a)] applies. Yanta v. Montgomery Ward & Co., Inc. 66 Wis. 2d 53
, 224 N.W.2d 389
When unreasonable delay in bringing suit prejudices the defendant because of the death of a key witness, laches will bar suit even if the s. 893.19 (7) [now s. 893.93 (1) (b)] statute of limitations does not. Schafer v. Wegner, 78 Wis. 2d 127
, 254 N.W.2d 193
Complaints under the open meetings law are not brought in the individual capacity of the plaintiff but on behalf of the state, subject to the 2-year statue of limitations under sub. (2). Leung v. City of Lake Geneva, 2003 WI App 129
, 265 Wis. 2d 674
, 666 N.W.2d 104
Sub. (1) (a) does not apply to a professional disciplinary proceeding, the focus of which is to monitor and supervise the performance of a person who has been granted the privilege of a license in this state. Krahenbuhl v. Wisconsin Dentistry Examining Board, 2004 WI App 147
, 275 Wis. 2d 626
, 685 N.W.2d 591
Claims for injury caused by an Archdiocese's alleged fraudulent misrepresentation that the Archdiocese did not know that priests it assigned had histories of sexually abusing children and did not know the priests were dangerous to children were independent claims based on the Archdiocese's alleged knowledge of the priests' prior sexual molestation of children and the Archdiocese's intent to deceive children and their families and not derivative of the underlying sexual molestations by the priests. The date of the accrual of the fraud claims was when the plaintiffs discovered or, in the exercise of reasonable diligence, should have discovered that the Archdiocese's alleged fraud was a cause of their injuries. John Doe v. Archdiocese of Milwaukee, 2007 WI 95
, 303 Wis. 2d 34
, 734 N.W.2d 827
It is not necessary that a defrauded party have knowledge of the ultimate fact of fraud. What is required is that it be in possession of such essential facts as will, if diligently investigated, disclose the fraud. The burden of diligent inquiry is upon the defrauded party as soon as he or she has such information as indicates where the facts constituting the fraud can be discovered. John Doe v. Archdiocese of Milwaukee, 2007 WI 95
, 303 Wis. 2d 34
, 734 N.W.2d 827
The 6-year limitations period found in sub. (1) (a) applies to actions under the Uniform Fiduciaries Act, s. 112.01. Willowglen Academy-Wisconsin, Inc. v. Connelly Interiors, Inc. 2008 WI App 35
, 307 Wis. 2d 776
, 746 N.W.2d 570
The limitation period under sub. (1) (b) was tolled when the victim had “sufficient knowledge to make a reasonable person aware of the need for diligent investigation." Stockman v. La Croix, 790 F.2d 584
A cause of action under sub. (1) (b) accrues on the discovery of the fraud. Discovery occurs when the party has knowledge that would cause a reasonable person to make sufficient inquiry to discover the fraud. Owen v. Wangerin, 985 F.2d 312
Section 551.59 (5) applies to actions arising out of sales of securities under SEC rules, rather than s. 893.19 (7) [now s. 893.93 (1) (b)]. Kramer v. Loewi & Co., Inc. 357 F. Supp. 83
Section s. 893.21 (1) [now s. 893.93 (2) (a)] did not control an action by the EEOC charging discrimination in employment when the statute limited only acts brought by a “private party" and the EEOC is a federal agency enforcing public policy. Equal Employment Opportunity Comm. v. Laacke & Joys Co. 375 F. Supp. 852
Section 893.19 (4), 1977 stats. [now s. 893.93 (1) (a)] governs civil rights actions. Minor v. Lakeview Hospital, 421 F. Supp. 485
Section 893.19 (4) [now s. 893.93 (1) (a)] governed an action under federal law against an oil refiner for compensatory damages for alleged overcharges. Section 893.21 (1) [now s. 893.93 (2) (a)] governed an action for treble damages. U. S. Oil Co., Inc. v. Koch Refining Co. 497 F. Supp. 1125
The defendant in a civil rights action was estopped from pleading the statute of limitations when its own fraudulent conduct prevented the plaintiff from timely filing suit. Bell v. City of Milwaukee, 498 F. Supp. 1339
Discovery occurs when the plaintiff has information that would constitute the basis for an objective belief as to his or her injury and its cause. The degree of certainty that constitutes sufficient knowledge is variable, depending on the particular facts and circumstances of the plaintiff. With corporate players, a different quantum of expertise and knowledge is in play. Wisconsin courts have recognized that ignorance is a less compelling excuse for corporate enterprises in the context of the discovery rule. KDC Foods, Inc. v. Gray, Plant, Mooty, Mooty & Bennett, P.A., et al., 763 F.3d 743