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), 1985 stats. 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 insurer's benefit. Such a proposition is contrary to the direct action statute, s. 632.24. Estate of Otto v. Physicians Insurance Co. of Wisconsin, Inc., 2007 WI App 192
, 305 Wis. 2d 198
, 738 N.W.2d 599
The plain language of sub. (3) indicates that affirmative defenses, except the ten enumerated defenses in s. 802.06 (2) (a), must be raised in a responsive pleading. Lentz, 195 Wis. 2d 457
(Ct. App. 1995), is overruled because it allows a defendant to initially raise by motion an affirmative defense not listed in s. 802.06 (2). Maple Grove Country Club Inc. v. Maple Grove Estates Sanitary District, 2019 WI 43
, 386 Wis. 2d 425
, 926 N.W.2d 184
A complaint's success does not depend on accurate labeling, but that does not mean a court may treat causes of action and remedies as if they are the same thing. A cause of action is distinguished from a remedy which is the means or method whereby the cause of action is effectuated. This distinction is important, especially at the summary judgment stage, because the court must determine whether the alleged facts comprise one or more causes of action. Tikalsky v. Friedman, 2019 WI 56
, 386 Wis. 2d 757
, 928 N.W.2d 502
Under sub. (5) (b), a party may plead claims for relief in the alternative. Claims pleaded in the alternative need not be consistent with one another. Nevertheless, a plaintiff may recover under only one of those claims. If there is a contract between the parties, the plaintiff may recover in contract but not in equity. In this case, when a contract existed and the jury awarded damages for its breach, the plaintiff could not also collect damages for unjust enrichment based on the same underlying conduct or subject matter. Mohns Inc. v. BMO Harris Bank National Ass'n, 2021 WI 8
, 395 Wis. 2d 421
, 954 N.W.2d 339
Threshold Issues in State Court Civil Litigation. Hoffer. Wis. Law. Jan. 2019.
What Is Wisconsin's Pleading Standard? Nusslock. Wis. Law. Sept. 2019.
Pleadings, discovery, and damages in certain personal injury actions. 802.025(1)(a)
“Asbestos trust" means a trust, qualified settlement fund, compensation fund, or claims facility created as a result of an administrative or legal action, bankruptcy, agreement, or other settlement or pursuant to 11 USC 524
(g) or 49 USC 40101
, that is intended to provide compensation to claimants alleging personal injury claims as a result of harm, also potentially compensable in the immediate action, for which the entity creating the trust, qualified settlement fund, compensation fund, or claims facility is alleged to be responsible.
“Personal injury claim" means any claim for damages, loss, indemnification, contribution, restitution or other relief, including punitive damages, that is related to bodily injury or another harm, including loss of consortium, society, or companionship, loss of support, personal injury or death, mental or emotional injury, risk or fear of disease or other injury, or costs of medical monitoring or surveillance and that is allegedly caused by or related to the claimant's exposure to asbestos. “Personal injury claim" includes a claim made by or on behalf of the person who claims the injury or harm or by or on behalf of the person's representative, spouse, parent, minor child, or other relative. “Personal injury claim" does not include a claim compensable by the injured patients and families compensation fund or a claim for compensatory benefits pursuant to worker's compensation or veterans benefits.
“Trust claims materials" means all documents and information relevant or related to a pending or potential claim against an asbestos trust. “Trust claims materials" include claims forms and supplementary materials, proofs of claim, affidavits, depositions and trial testimony, work history, and medical and health records.
“Trust governance document" means any document that determines eligibility and payment levels, including claims payment matrices, trust distribution procedures, or plans for reorganization, for an asbestos trust.
Within 45 days after March 29, 2014, or within 45 days after joinder of issues in an action subject to this section, whichever is later, the plaintiff shall provide to all parties a sworn statement identifying each personal injury claim he or she has filed or reasonably anticipates filing against an asbestos trust. The statement for each claim shall include the name, address, and contact information for the asbestos trust, the amount claimed by the plaintiff, the date that the plaintiff filed the claim, the disposition of the claim and whether there has been a request to defer, delay, suspend, or toll the claim against the asbestos trust.
Within 60 days after March 29, 2014, or within 60 days after joinder of issues in an action subject to this section, whichever is later, the plaintiff shall provide to all parties all of the following:
For each personal injury claim he or she has filed against an asbestos trust, a copy of the final executed proof of claim, all trust documents, including trust claims materials, trust governance documents, any documents reflecting the current status of the claim and, if the claim is settled, all documents relating to the settlement of the claim.
A list of each personal injury claim he or she reasonably anticipates filing against an asbestos trust, including the name, address, and contact information for the asbestos trust, and the amount he or she anticipates claiming against the trust.
The plaintiff shall supplement the information and materials he or she provides under pars. (a)
within 30 days after the plaintiff files an additional claim or receives additional information or documents related to any claim he or she makes against an asbestos trust.
Trust claims materials and trust governance documents are admissible in evidence. No claims of privilege apply to trust claims materials or trust governance documents.
A defendant in a personal injury claim may seek discovery against an asbestos trust identified under sub. (2)
. The plaintiff may not claim privilege or confidentiality to bar discovery, and the plaintiff shall provide consents or other expression of permission that may be required by the asbestos trust to release information and materials sought by the defendant.
(4) Defendant's identification of additional or alternative asbestos trusts. 802.025(4)(a)
If any defendant identifies an asbestos trust not named by the plaintiff against which the defendant reasonably believes the plaintiff should file a claim, upon motion by the defendant, the court shall determine whether to order the plaintiff to file a claim against the asbestos trust. The defendant shall provide all documentation it possesses or is aware of in support of the motion.
The court shall establish a deadline for filing a motion under par. (a)
. The court shall ensure that any deadline established pursuant to this paragraph affords the parties an adequate opportunity to investigate the defendant's claims.
If the court orders the plaintiff to file a claim with the asbestos trust, the court shall stay the immediate action until the plaintiff swears or affirms that he or she has filed the claim against the asbestos trust and the plaintiff provides to the court and to all parties a final executed proof of claim and all other trust claims materials relevant to each claim the plaintiff has against an asbestos trust.
The court may allow additional time for discovery or may stay the proceedings for other good cause shown.
Not less than 30 days prior to trial, the court shall enter into the record a trust claims document that identifies each personal injury claim the plaintiff has made against an asbestos trust.
(5) Use of trust claim materials at trial.
Trust claim materials that are sufficient to entitle a claim to consideration for payment under the applicable trust governance documents may be sufficient to support a jury finding that the plaintiff may have been exposed to products for which the trust was established to provide compensation and that such exposure may be a substantial factor in causing the plaintiff's injury that is at issue in the action.
If a verdict is entered in favor of the plaintiff in an action subject to this section and the defendant is found to be 51 percent or more causally negligent or responsible for the plaintiff's entire damages under s. 895.045 (1)
or (3) (d)
, the plaintiff may not collect any amount of damages until after the plaintiff assigns to the defendant all pending, current, and future rights or claims he or she has or may have for a personal injury claim against an asbestos trust.
If a verdict is entered in favor of the plaintiff in an action subject to this section and the defendant is found to be less than 51 percent causally negligent or responsible for the plaintiff's entire damages under s. 895.045 (1)
or (3) (d)
, the plaintiff may not collect any amount of damages until after the plaintiff assigns to the defendant all future rights or claims he or she has or may have for a personal injury claim against an asbestos trust.
(7) Failure to provide information; sanctions.
A plaintiff who fails to timely provide all of the information required under sub. (2)
is subject to ss. 802.05
, and 895.044
History: 2013 a. 154
; 2015 a. 195
Pleading special matters. 802.03(1)(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., 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 Equipment 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. Meiers 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
The heightened pleading standard set forth by sub. (2) for claims of fraud does not apply to claims made under s. 100.18. Hinrichs v. DOW Chemical Co., 2020 WI 2
, 389 Wis. 2d 669
, 937 N.W.2d 37
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
Limited scope representation permitted — process. 802.045(1)(1)
An attorney's role in an action may be limited to one or more individual proceedings or issues in an action if specifically so stated in a notice of limited appearance filed and served upon the parties prior to or simultaneous with the proceeding. Providing limited scope representation of a person under this section does not constitute a general appearance by the attorney for purposes of s. 801.14
(2) Notice of limited appearance.
The notice of limited appearance shall contain the following information:
The name and the party designation of the client.
The specific proceedings or issues within the scope of the limited representation.
A statement that the attorney will file a notice of termination upon completion of services.
A statement that the attorney providing limited scope representation shall be served with all documents while providing limited scope representation.
Contact information for the client including current address and phone number.
(4) Termination of limited appearance.
At the conclusion of the representation for which a notice of limited appearance has been filed, the attorney's role terminates without further order of the court upon the attorney filing with the court, and serving upon the parties, a notice of the termination of limited appearance. A notice of termination of limited appearance shall contain all of the following information:
A statement that the attorney has completed all services within the scope of the notice of limited appearance.
A statement that the attorney has completed all acts ordered by the court.
A statement that the attorney has served the notice of termination of limited appearance on all parties, including the client.
Contact information for the client including current address and phone number.