While the circuit court was correct in holding that it had the power to amend a complaint on its own motion after the presentation of evidence, the court erred in not granting the parties the opportunity to present additional evidence on the complaint as amended. State v. Peterson, 104 Wis. 2d 616
, 312 N.W.2d 784
An amended pleading adding a separate claim by a different plaintiff related back to the date of filing the original complaint. Korkow v. General Casualty Co. of Wisconsin, 117 Wis. 2d 187
, 344 N.W.2d 108
Implied consent under sub. (2) requires that the parties understood that evidence was aimed at unpleaded issues. Even after a finding of no implied consent an “interests of justice" determination, which is essentially a determination of prejudice, must be made. Zobel v. Fenendael, 127 Wis. 2d 382
, 379 N.W.2d 887
(Ct. App. 1985).
Whether an amendment “relates back" to the original complaint date depends on whether the opposing party had notice of the claim from the original complaint. An insurer who insures more than one party involved in an accident does not, as a matter of law, have notice of separate claims under different policies from a complaint against one of its insureds, but it may have notice of a claim against more than one insured if they are covered by the same policy. Biggart v. Barstad, 182 Wis. 2d 421
, 513 N.W.2d 681
(Ct. App. 1994).
A plaintiff's response to a motion for a more definite answer, no matter how termed, cannot extinguish the right to amend within six months as a matter of course. Kox v. Center for Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, S.C., 218 Wis. 2d 93
, 579 N.W.2d 285
(Ct. App. 1998), 97-3045
An amended complaint that makes no reference to or incorporates any of the original complaint supersedes the original complaint when the amended complaint is filed in court. When such a complaint was filed prior to the time for answering the original complaint had run, it was improper to enter a default judgment on the original complaint. Holman v. Family Health Plan, 227 Wis. 2d 478
, 596 N.W.2d 358
“Changing the party" under sub. (3) can mean: 1) substitution of a new defendant for the present defendant; 2) addition of a defendant; 3) changing the stated capacity of the defendant; or 4) changing a misdescription or misnaming of the defendant. To add a party there must have existed a mistake concerning the identity of the proper party being added when the original pleading was filed. Identity includes an individual's name and physical characteristics that distinguish that person from another. Confusion about a person's role in a negligent act is not a question of identity and an amendment to include that person does not relate back. Estate of Hegarty v. Beauchaine, 2001 WI App 300
, 249 Wis. 2d 142
, 638 N.W.2d 355
Absent a showing of prejudice, the trial court did not erroneously exercise its discretion by sua sponte amending the pleadings to apply the evidence before it. Schultz v. Trascher, 2002 WI App 4
, 249 Wis. 2d 722
, 640 N.W.2d 130
The second sentence of sub. (3) refers only to a party against whom a claim is asserted and is not applicable in deciding under what circumstances a court may properly allow an amendment adding a plaintiff to relate back. Gross v. Woodman's Food Market, Inc., 2002 WI App 295
, 259 Wis. 2d 181
, 655 N.W.2d 718
“At any stage of the action" in sub. (1) is broad enough to include one week after a motion for summary judgment is granted. For a motion to amend a complaint filed after a motion for summary judgment has been granted, the party seeking to amend must present a reason for granting the motion that is sufficient to overcome the value of the finality of judgment. Why the party has not acted sooner, the length of time since the filing of the original complaint, the number and nature of prior amendments, and the nature of the proposed amendment are all relevant considerations, as is the effect on the defendant. Mach v. Allison, 2003 WI App 11
, 259 Wis. 2d 686
, 656 N.W.2d 766
If the original pleading was filed within the statute of limitations and the conditions of sub. (3) are met, the fact that a statute of limitations has expired between the filing of the summons and complaint and the motion to amend is not a reason to deny the motion. Town of Campbell v. City of La Crosse, 2003 WI App 247
, 268 Wis. 2d 253
, 673 N.W.2d 696
Despite being named in the original action, because a defendant was never served in the original action, that defendant could not have been a party to the original action. By including the defendant in the amended complaint, the plaintiffs added a new party, which runs afoul of the relation back provisions of sub. (3). When the statute of limitations on the claim expired prior to filing the amended claim, the claim was time barred. Bartels v. Rural Mutual Insurance Co., 2004 WI App 166
, 275 Wis. 2d 730
, 687 N.W.2d 84
The circuit court erroneously exercised its discretion by granting an after-verdict motion to amend the pleadings to include the plaintiff's new claim. There was no express or implied consent by the defendants to try the issues raised by the claim, and the circuit court did not properly apply the necessary balancing test when it allowed the amendment of the pleadings. Hess v. Fernandez, 2005 WI 19
, 278 Wis. 2d 283
, 692 N.W.2d 655
To avoid permitting prisoners to easily avoid the judicial screening requirement that is central to the purpose of former s. 802.05 (3), 2003 stats., prisoners may not amend their initial pleadings as a matter of course under sub. (1). A prisoner's amendment of an initial pleading is subject to the judicial screening requirement of former s. 802.05 (3), 2003 stats., and a court must review the proposed amended pleading under that subsection before granting the prisoner leave to amend. Lindell v. Litscher, 2005 WI App 39
, 280 Wis. 2d 159
, 694 N.W.2d 396
When the plaintiff timely named a defendant, who had been a predecessor company's employee, and an unknown defendant in a complaint, she did not give the successor company, who had never employed the named defendant, adequate notice that it would have to investigate and defend against her claims. Plaintiff's theory that there was sufficient constructive notice to the successor company to meet the notice requirements of sub. (3) failed. Dakin v. Marciniak, 2005 WI App 67
, 280 Wis. 2d 491
, 695 N.W.2d 867
Filing a new action is not an alternate way to amend a complaint. A lawsuit may be dismissed solely because there is already another action pending between the same parties for the same cause under s. 802.06 (2) (a) 10. A party may not circumvent a ruling it does not like in one case by filing a new action unless the second action is based on claims that could not have been brought in the first action. Aon Risk Services, Inc. v. Liebenstein, 2006 WI App 4
, 289 Wis. 2d 127
, 710 N.W.2d 175
. See also Barricade Flasher Service, Inc. v. Wind Lake Auto Parts, Inc., 2011 WI App 162
, 338 Wis. 2d 144
, 807 N.W.2d 697
In sub. (2), “tried" requires a trial. Arbitration is not a trial and an amendment to conform to evidence produced in arbitration is not allowed. Thom v. OneBeacon Insurance Co., 2007 WI App 123
, 300 Wis. 2d 607
, 731 N.W.2d 657
Plaintiff's amended claim did not relate back under sub. (3) when the plaintiff passenger's original claim was against the insurer of the driver of the vehicle for coverage under an underinsured motorist provision for the negligence of a third-party driver and the amended claim was against the same insurer under the same policy for the negligence of the insurer's insured. Thom v. OneBeacon Insurance Co., 2007 WI App 123
, 300 Wis. 2d 607
, 731 N.W.2d 657
Once the circuit court issued an order dismissing a complaint in its entirety and the plaintiff appealed that final order, the circuit court no longer had jurisdiction over the case. The court of appeals decision to reverse and remand would have restored the circuit court's jurisdiction if the decision had not been appealed, but when the defendant petitioned the supreme court and was granted review, the court of appeals also lost jurisdiction. When the supreme court reversed the court of appeals affirming the circuit court's dismissal, neither the circuit court nor the court of appeals had authority to grant leave to amend the complaint without a clear directive from the supreme court. Tietsworth v. Harley-Davidson, Inc., 2007 WI 97
, 303 Wis. 2d 94
, 735 N.W.2d 418
In the absence of a remand order in the mandate line or some other clear directive from the appellate court ultimately deciding the appeal, a trial court whose judgment or final order has been affirmed by the appellate court on the merits has no authority to reopen the case for an amended complaint. Tietsworth v. Harley-Davidson, Inc., 2007 WI 97
, 303 Wis. 2d 94
, 735 N.W.2d 418
To amend a pleading within six months of when the original summons and complaint are filed, a party must only serve the amended pleading upon the parties within that time frame. The amended pleading must then be filed within a reasonable time after service. Schuett v. Hanson, 2007 WI App 226
, 305 Wis. 2d 729
, 741 N.W.2d 292
Despite the fact that additional plaintiffs added by an amended complaint were making the same legal claims against the defendant, that did not give the defendant sufficient notice as to the specific factual occurrences with respect to the additional victims or any notice that these victims would even be making a claim for their injuries. As such, the amended complaint adding the plaintiffs did not relate back to the original complaint. Barnes v. WISCO Hotel Group, 2009 WI App 72
, 318 Wis. 2d 537
, 767 N.W.2d 352
Relation back of an amendment to add a party depends on what the party to be added knew or should have known, not on the plaintiff's knowledge or timeliness in seeking to amend the pleading. A prospective defendant who legitimately believed that the limitations period had passed without any attempt to sue him or her has a strong interest in repose. But repose would be a windfall for a prospective defendant who understood, or who should have understood, that he or she escaped suit during the limitations period only because the plaintiff misunderstood a crucial fact about his or her identity. Tews v. NHI, LLC, 2010 WI 137
, 330 Wis. 2d 389
, 793 N.W.2d 860
When the plaintiff's original complaint asserted claims against a roller rink business but did not assert any claims against the building owner, the building owner should not have expected to be added as a defendant pursuant to sub. (3) because it had no role in owning, operating, or managing the rink business. For this same reason, the plaintiff did not make a “mistake" with respect to the addition of the building owner as the plaintiff knew that the business operator was a separate entity from the building owner for nearly a year before the statute of limitations expired. As such, the plaintiff's claim against the building owner did not relate back to the original complaint. Wiley v. M.M.N. Laufer Family Limited Partnership, 2011 WI App 158
, 338 Wis. 2d 178
, 807 N.W.2d 236
The doctrine that pleadings should be deemed amended to conform to the evidence only applies when evidence related to the issue has been presented at trial. At the pleadings stage, the applicable statute is s. 802.02 (1). Soderlund v. Zibolski, 2016 WI App 6
, 366 Wis. 2d 579
, 874 N.W.2d 561
Although the complaint in this case was devoid of any reference to a cause of action for civil liability theft under s. 895.446, the circuit court properly determined that the defendant had ample notice of the plaintiff's claim for statutory theft based upon the defendant's agreement to instruct the jury on civil liability theft, and the submission of a special verdict question on the issue of the defendant's theft under that statute to the jury. Estate of Miller v. Storey, 2016 WI App 68
, 373 Wis. 2d 643
, 896 N.W.2d 360
If a plaintiff was required to join a party holding a “constituent part” of a cause of action under s. 803.03 (2) (a) but failed to do so, then the unjoined subrogation, derivative, or assigned claims were deemed timely when made by the other party by virtue of the sub. (3) relation-back doctrine—as long as such claims were asserted in the original action. However, if the plaintiff was not required to join the other party's cause of action under s. 803.03 (2) (a)—i.e., the other party's claims did not arise by subrogation, derivation, or assignment, and therefore were not part of the plaintiff's claim in chief—the other party's claims do not relate back to the date of the original filing and are time-barred. Town of Burnside v. City of Independence, 2016 WI App 94
, 372 Wis. 2d 802
, 889 N.W.2d 186
Calendar practice. 802.10(1)(1)
This section applies to all actions and special proceedings except appeals taken to circuit court; actions seeking the remedy available by certiorari, habeas corpus, mandamus, prohibition, and quo warranto; actions in which all defendants are in default; provisional remedies; and actions under ss. 49.90
and s. 66.0114
and chs. 48
, and proceedings under chs. 851
Scheduling and planning.
Except in categories of actions and special proceedings exempted under sub. (1)
, the circuit court may enter a scheduling order on the court's own motion or on the motion of a party. The order shall be entered after the court consults with the attorneys for the parties and any unrepresented party. The scheduling order may address any of the following:
The time, not more than 30 days after entry of the order, to determine the mode of trial, including a demand for a jury trial and payment of fees under s. 814.61 (4)
The limitation, control and scheduling of depositions and discovery, including the identification and disclosures of expert witnesses, the limitation of the number of expert witnesses and the exchange of the names of expert witnesses.
The dates for conferences before trial, for a final pretrial conference and for trial.
The appropriateness and timing of summary judgment adjudication under s. 802.08
The advisability of ordering the parties to attempt settlement under s. 802.12
The need for adopting special procedures for managing potentially difficult or protracted actions that may involve complex issues, multiple parties, difficult legal questions or unusual proof problems.
The need for discovery of electronically stored information.
Any other matters appropriate to the circumstances of the case, including the matters under sub. (5) (a)
At a pretrial conference, the court may consider any matter that facilitates the just, speedy and inexpensive disposition of the action, including the matters under pars. (a)
and sub. (3) (a)
. At a pretrial conference, the court may consider and take appropriate action with respect to all of the following:
The formulation and simplification of the issues.
The elimination of frivolous claims or defenses.
The possibility of obtaining party admissions or stipulations that will avoid unnecessary proof.
Any pretrial rulings on the admissibility of evidence, including limitations on the use of expert testimony under s. 907.02
The identification of witnesses, exhibits and tangible demonstrative evidence.
The need and schedule for filing and exchanging pretrial briefs.
The dates for further conferences and for trial.
Authority of participants.
An attorney for each party participating in any pretrial conference shall have the authority to enter stipulations and to make admissions regarding all matters that the participants may reasonably anticipate may be discussed. The court may require that a party or the party's representative be present or reasonably available by telephone to consider possible settlement of the dispute.
Sup. Ct. Order, 67 Wis. 2d 585, 634 (1975); 1975 c. 218
; Sup. Ct. Order, 82 Wis. 2d ix (1978); 1979 c. 32
s. 92 (4)
; 1979 c. 89
; 1981 c. 289
; 1985 a. 29
s. 3202 (23)
; Sup. Ct. Order, 141 Wis. 2d xiii (1987); 1993 a. 486
; Sup. Ct. Order No. 95-04
, 191 Wis. 2d xxi (1995); 1999 a. 150
; 2001 a. 30
; 2005 a. 387
; Sup. Ct. Order No. 09-01
, 2010 WI 67, filed 7-6-10, eff. 1-1-11; 2011 a. 2
Judicial Council Note, 2010: Sub. (3) has been amended to encourage courts to be more active in managing electronic discovery. Pursuant to Wis. Stat. s. 805.06, the court also may appoint a referee to report on complex or expensive discovery issues, including those involving electronically stored information. [Re Order effective Jan. 1, 2011]
The trial court properly granted default judgment against a party failing to appear at a scheduling conference, but the damage amount was not supported by the record. Gaertner v. 880 Corp., 131 Wis. 2d 492
, 389 N.W.2d 59
(Ct. App. 1986).
Sub. (7) and s. 805.03 apply in criminal cases. A court has power to sanction a tardy attorney under these sections. Failure to delineate the reasons for the sanctions is an erroneous exercise of discretion. Anderson v. Circuit Court, 219 Wis. 2d 1
, 578 N.W.2d 633
The scheduling questionnaire used by the circuit court in this case was sufficient to satisfy former sub. (3), 2005 stats. The form was a convenient means to ascertain important scheduling information. Although the form consisted of a single sheet, it addressed many of the basic scheduling questions faced by a circuit court attempting to accommodate the potentially complex timing needs of several parties and their counsel. Hefty v. Strickhouser, 2008 WI 96
, 312 Wis. 2d 530
, 752 N.W.2d 820
The excusable neglect standard set forth in s. 801.15 (2) (a) does not apply to untimely motions to enlarge scheduling order deadlines. Rather, this section provides the applicable standards and procedures courts apply to such motions. Parker v. Wisconsin Patients Compensation Fund, 2009 WI App 42
, 317 Wis. 2d 460
, 767 N.W.2d 272
Alternative dispute resolution. 802.12(1)(a)
“Binding arbitration" means a dispute resolution process that meets all of the following conditions:
A neutral 3rd person is given the authority to render a decision that is legally binding.
It is used only with the consent of all of the parties.
A contract or the neutral 3rd person determines the applicability of the rules of evidence.
“Direct negotiation" means a dispute resolution process that involves an exchange of offers and counteroffers by the parties or a discussion of the strengths and weaknesses or the merits of the parties' positions, without the use of a 3rd person.
“Early neutral evaluation" means a dispute resolution process in which a neutral 3rd person evaluates brief written and oral presentations early in the litigation and provides an initial appraisal of the merits of the case with suggestions for conducting discovery and obtaining legal rulings to resolve the case as efficiently as possible. If all of the parties agree, the neutral 3rd person may assist in settlement negotiations.
“Focus group" means a dispute resolution process in which a panel of citizens selected in a manner agreed upon by all of the parties receives abbreviated presentations from the parties, deliberates, renders an advisory opinion about how the dispute should be resolved and discusses the opinion with the parties.
“Mediation" means a dispute resolution process in which a neutral 3rd person, who has no power to impose a decision if all of the parties do not agree to settle the case, helps the parties reach an agreement by focusing on the key issues in a case, exchanging information between the parties and exploring options for settlement.
“Mini-trial" means a dispute resolution process that consists of presentations by the parties to a panel of persons selected and authorized by all of the parties to negotiate a settlement of the dispute that, after the presentations, considers the legal and factual issues and attempts to negotiate a settlement. Mini-trials may include a neutral advisor with relevant expertise to facilitate the process, who may express opinions on the issues.
“Moderated settlement conference" means a dispute resolution process in which settlement conferences are conducted by one or more neutral 3rd persons who receive brief presentations by the parties in order to facilitate settlement negotiations and who may render an advisory opinion in aid of negotiation.
“Nonbinding arbitration" means a dispute resolution process in which a neutral 3rd person is given the authority to render a nonbinding decision as a basis for subsequent negotiation between the parties after the parties present evidence and examine witnesses under the rules of evidence agreed to by the parties or determined by the neutral 3rd person.
“Settlement alternative" means any of the following: binding arbitration, direct negotiation, early neutral evaluation, focus group, mediation, mini-trial, moderated settlement conference, nonbinding arbitration, summary jury trial.
“Summary jury trial" means a dispute resolution process that meets all of the following conditions:
Attorneys make abbreviated presentations to a small jury selected from the regular jury list.
A judge presides over the summary jury trial and determines the applicability of the rules of evidence.
The parties may discuss the jury's advisory verdict with the jury.
The jury's assessment of the case may be used in subsequent negotiations.
A judge may, with or without a motion having been filed, upon determining that an action or proceeding is an appropriate one in which to invoke a settlement alternative, order the parties to select a settlement alternative as a means to attempt settlement. An order under this paragraph may include a requirement that the parties participate personally in the settlement alternative. Any party aggrieved by an order under this paragraph shall be afforded a hearing to show cause why the order should be vacated or modified. Unless all of the parties consent, an order under this paragraph shall not delay the setting of the trial date, discovery proceedings, trial or other matters addressed in the scheduling order or conference.
The parties shall inform the judge of the settlement alternative they select and the person they select to provide the settlement alternative. If the parties cannot agree on a settlement alternative, the judge shall specify the least costly settlement alternative that the judge believes is likely to bring the parties together in settlement, except that unless all of the parties consent, the judge may not order the parties to attempt settlement through binding arbitration, nonbinding arbitration or summary jury trial or through more than one of the following: binding arbitration, early neutral evaluation, focus group, mediation, mini-trial, moderated settlement conference, nonbinding arbitration, summary jury trial.
If the parties cannot agree on a person to provide the settlement alternative, the judge may appoint any person who the judge believes has the ability and skills necessary to bring the parties together in settlement.
If the parties cannot agree regarding the payment of a provider of a settlement alternative, the judge shall direct that the parties pay the reasonable fees and expenses of the provider of the settlement alternative. The judge may order the parties to pay into an escrow account an amount estimated to be sufficient to pay the reasonable fees and expenses of the provider of the settlement alternative.