The deposition of a witness other than a medical expert, whether or not a party, may be used by any party for any purpose if the court finds any of the following:
That the witness is at a greater distance than 30 miles from the place of trial or hearing, or is out of the state, and will not return before the termination of the trial or hearing, unless it appears that the absence of the witness was procured by the party offering the deposition.
That the witness is unable to attend or testify because of age, illness, infirmity or imprisonment.
That the party offering the deposition has been unable to procure the attendance of the witness by subpoena.
Upon application and notice, that exceptional circumstances exist that make it desirable, in the interest of justice and with due regard to the importance of presenting the testimony of witnesses orally in open court, to allow the deposition to be used.
The deposition of a medical expert may be used by any party for any purpose, without regard to the limitations otherwise imposed by this paragraph.
If only part of a deposition is offered in evidence by a party, an adverse party may require the party to introduce any other part which ought in fairness to be considered with the part introduced, and any party may introduce any other parts.
Substitution of parties pursuant to s. 803.10
does not affect the right to use depositions previously taken; and when an action in any court of the United States or of any state has been dismissed and another action involving the same subject matter is afterward brought between the same parties or their representatives or successors in interest, all depositions lawfully taken in the former action may be used in the latter as if originally taken therefor.
(2) Objections to admissibility.
Subject to sub. (3) (c)
and to s. 804.03 (2)
, objection may be made at the trial or hearing to receiving in evidence any deposition or part thereof for any reason which would require the exclusion of the evidence if the witness were then present and testifying.
(3) Effect of errors and irregularities in depositions. 804.07(3)(a)(a) As to notice.
All errors and irregularities in the notice for taking a deposition are waived unless written objection is promptly served upon the party giving the notice.
As to disqualification of officer.
Objection to taking a deposition because of disqualification of the officer before whom it is to be taken is waived unless made before the taking of the deposition begins or as soon thereafter as the disqualification becomes known or could be discovered with reasonable diligence.
Objections to the competency of a witness or to the competency, relevancy, or materiality of testimony are not waived by failure to make them before or during the taking of the deposition, unless the ground of the objection is one which might have been obviated or removed if presented at that time.
Errors and irregularities occurring at the oral examination in the manner of taking the deposition, in the form of the questions or answers, in the oath or affirmation, or in the conduct of parties, and errors of any kind which might be obviated, removed, or cured if promptly presented, are waived unless seasonable objection thereto is made at the taking of the deposition.
Objections to the form of written questions submitted under s. 804.06
are waived unless served in writing upon the party propounding them within the time allowed for serving the succeeding cross or other questions and within 5 days after service of the last questions authorized.
As to completion and return of deposition.
Errors and irregularities in the manner in which the testimony is transcribed or the deposition is prepared, signed, certified, sealed, endorsed, transmitted, filed, or otherwise dealt with by the officer under ss. 804.05
are waived unless a motion to suppress the deposition or some part thereof is made with reasonable promptness after such defect is, or with due diligence might have been, ascertained.
Sup. Ct. Order, 67 Wis. 2d 585, 673 (1975); 1975 c. 218
; Sup. Ct. Order, 73 Wis. 2d xxxi (1976); 1983 a. 192
; Sup. Ct. Order, 130 Wis. 2d xxix (1986); 1993 a. 112
; 1995 a. 225
Judicial Council Committee's Note, 1976: Section 804.07 (2) is taken from F.R.C.P. 32 (b). The reference in sub. (2) to “sub. (3) (d)" is changed to read “sub. (3) (c)" to correspond with subdivision (d) (3) in F.R.C.P. 32 (b). [Re Order effective Jan. 1, 1977]
Effective date note
Judicial Council Note, 1986: Sub. (1) (e) is amended to reflect the fact that depositions need not be filed except upon order of the court. See s. 804.05 (7) (a). [Re Order eff. 7-1-86]
Under subs. (2) and (3) (c) 1., a hearsay objection was not waived by the failure to object at deposition. Strelecki v. Firemans Ins. Co. of Newark, 88 Wis. 2d 464
, 276 N.W.2d 794
The defendant's evidentiary deposition of its doctor expert taken subsequent to the plaintiff's discovery deposition of the doctor did not prevent the plaintiff's use of the discovery deposition at trial. Martin v. Richards, 176 Wis. 2d 339
, 500 N.W.2d 691
(Ct. App. 1993).
Interrogatories to parties. 804.08(1)
Availability; procedures for use. 804.08(1)(a)(a)
Except as provided in s. 804.015
, any party may serve upon any other party written interrogatories to be answered by the party served, or, if the party served is a public or private corporation or a limited liability company or a partnership or an association or a governmental agency or a state officer in an action arising out of the officer's performance of employment, by any officer or agent, who shall furnish such information as is available to the party. Interrogatories may, without leave of court, be served upon the plaintiff after commencement of the action and upon any other party with or after service of the summons and complaint upon that party.
Each interrogatory shall be answered separately and fully in writing under oath, unless it is objected to, in which event the reasons for objection shall be stated in lieu of an answer. The answers are to be signed by the person making them, and the objections signed by the attorney making them. The party upon whom the interrogatories have been served shall serve a copy of the answers, and objections if any, within 30 days after the service of the interrogatories, except that a defendant may serve answers or objections within 45 days after service of the summons and complaint upon that defendant. The court may allow a shorter or longer time. The party submitting the interrogatories may move for an order under s. 804.12 (1)
with respect to any objection to or other failure to answer an interrogatory.
Interrogatories may relate to any matters which can be inquired into under s. 804.01 (2)
, and the answers may be used to the extent permitted by chs. 901
An interrogatory otherwise proper is not necessarily objectionable merely because an answer to the interrogatory involves an opinion or contention that relates to fact or the application of law to fact, but the court may order that such an interrogatory need not be answered until after designated discovery has been completed or until a pretrial conference or other later time.
(3) Option to produce business records.
If the answer to an interrogatory may be determined by examining, auditing, compiling, abstracting, or summarizing a party's business records, including electronically stored information, and if the burden of deriving or ascertaining the answer will be substantially the same for either party, the responding party may answer by:
specifying the records that must be reviewed, in sufficient detail to enable the interrogating party to locate and identify them as readily as the responding party could; and (b) giving the interrogating party a reasonable opportunity to examine and audit the records and to make copies, compilations, abstracts, or summaries.
Sup. Ct. Order, 67 Wis. 2d 585, 676 (1975); 1975 c. 218
; 1993 a. 112
; 1997 a. 133
; Sup. Ct. Order No. 09-01
, 2010 WI 67, filed 7-6-10, eff. 1-1-11.
Judicial Council Note, 2010: The meaning of the term “electronically stored information" is described in the Judicial Council Note following Wis. Stat. § 804.09.
Section 804.08 (3) is taken from F.R.C.P. 33(d). Portions of the Committee Note of the federal Advisory Committee on Civil Rules are pertinent to the scope and purpose of s. 804.08 (3): Special difficulties may arise in using electronically stored information, either due to its form or because it is dependent on a particular computer system. Rule 33(d) allows a responding party to substitute access to documents or electronically stored information for an answer only if the burden of deriving the answer will be substantially the same for either party. Rule 33(d) states that a party electing to respond to an interrogatory by providing electronically stored information must ensure that the interrogating party can locate and identify it “as readily as can the party served," and that the responding party must give the interrogating party a “reasonable opportunity to examine, audit, or inspect" the information. Depending on the circumstances, satisfying these provisions with regard to electronically stored information may require the responding party to provide some combination of technical support, information on application software, or other assistance. The key question is whether such support enables the interrogating party to derive or ascertain the answer from the electronically stored information as readily as the responding party. A party that wishes to invoke Rule 33(d) by specifying electronically stored information may be required to provide direct access to its electronic information system, but only if that is necessary to afford the requesting party an adequate opportunity to derive or ascertain the answer to the interrogatory. In that situation, the responding party's need to protect sensitive interests of confidentiality or privacy may mean that it must derive or ascertain and provide the answer itself rather than invoke Rule 33(d). [Re Order effective Jan. 1, 2011]
When the cost of discovery was several times greater than the claim for damages, a protective order against discovery was appropriate. Vincent & Vincent, Inc. v. Spacek, 102 Wis. 2d 266
, 306 N.W.2d 85
(Ct. App. 1981).
The effective use of written interrogatories. Schoone and Miner, 60 MLR 29.
What You Need to Know: New Electronic Discovery Rules. Sankovitz, Grenig & Gleisner. Wis. Law. July 2010.
Production of documents and things and entry upon land for inspection and other purposes. 804.09(1)
A party may serve on any other party a request within the scope of s. 804.01 (2)
: a) to produce and permit the requesting party or its representative to inspect, copy, test or sample the following items in the responding party's possession, custody, or control: 1. any designated documents or electronically stored information, including writings, drawings, graphs, charts, photographs, sound recordings, images, and other data or data compilations stored in any other medium from which information can be obtained either directly or, if necessary, after translation by the responding party into a reasonably usable form; or 2. any designated tangible things; or b) to permit entry onto designated land or property possessed or controlled by the responding party, so that the requesting party may inspect, measure, survey, photograph, test, or sample the property or any designated object or operation on it.
Except as provided in s. 804.015
, the request may, without leave of court, be served upon the plaintiff after commencement of the action and upon any other party with or after service of the summons and complaint upon that party, and shall describe with reasonable particularity each item or category of items to be inspected. The request shall specify a reasonable time, place, and manner of making the inspection and performing the related acts. The request may specify the form or forms in which electronically stored information is to be produced.
The party upon whom the request is served shall serve a written response within 30 days after the service of the request, except that a defendant may serve a response within 45 days after service of the summons and complaint upon that defendant. The court may allow a shorter or longer time. The response shall state, with respect to each item or category, that inspection and related activities will be permitted as requested, unless the request is objected to, in which event the reasons for objection shall be stated. If objection is made to part of an item or category, the part shall be specified. The response may state an objection to a requested form for producing electronically stored information. If the responding party objects to a requested form, or if no form was specified in the request, the party shall state the form or forms it intends to use.
Unless otherwise stipulated or ordered by the court, these procedures apply to producing documents or electronically stored information:
A party shall produce documents as they are kept in the usual course of business or shall organize and label them to correspond to the categories in the request;
If a request does not specify a form for producing electronically stored information, a party shall produce it in a form or forms in which it is ordinarily maintained or in a reasonably usable form or forms; and
A party need not produce the same electronically stored information in more than one form.
The party submitting the request may move for an order under s. 804.12 (1)
with respect to any objection to or other failure to respond to the request or any part thereof, or any failure to permit inspection as requested.
(3) Persons not parties.
This rule does not preclude an independent action against a person not a party for production of documents and things and permission to enter upon land.
Sup. Ct. Order, 67 Wis. 2d 585, 678 (1975); 1975 c. 218
; 1997 a. 133
; Sup. Ct. Order No. 09-01
, 2010 WI 67, filed 7-6-10, eff. 1-1-11.
Judicial Council Note, 2010: Sections 804.09 (1) and (2) are modeled on F.R.C.P. 34(a) and (b). Portions of the Committee Note of the federal Advisory Committee on Civil Rules are pertinent to the scope and purpose of s. 804.09 (1) and (2): Rule 34(a) is amended to confirm that discovery of electronically stored information stands on equal footing with discovery of paper documents. The change clarifies that Rule 34 applies to information that is fixed in a tangible form and to information that is stored in a medium from which it can be retrieved and examined. A Rule 34 request for production of “documents" should be understood to encompass, and the response should include, electronically stored information unless discovery in the action has clearly distinguished between electronically stored information and “documents."
Discoverable information often exists in both paper and electronic form, and the same or similar information might exist in both. The items listed in Rule 34(a) show different ways in which information may be recorded or stored. Images, for example, might be hard-copy documents or electronically stored information. The wide variety of computer systems currently in use, and the rapidity of technological change, counsel against a limiting or precise definition of electronically stored information. Rule 34(a)(1) is expansive and includes any type of information that is stored electronically. A common example often sought in discovery is electronic communications, such as e-mail. The rule covers — either as documents or as electronically stored information — information “stored in any medium," to encompass future developments in computer technology. Rule 34(a)(1) is intended to be broad enough to cover all current types of computer-based information, and flexible enough to encompass future changes and developments.
References elsewhere in the rules to “electronically stored information" should be understood to invoke this expansive approach.
Rule 34(b) provides that a party must produce documents as they are kept in the usual course of business or must organize and label them to correspond with the categories in the discovery request. The production of electronically stored information should be subject to comparable requirements to protect against deliberate or inadvertent production in ways that raise unnecessary obstacles for the requesting party. Rule 34(b) is amended to ensure similar protection for electronically stored information.
The amendment to Rule 34(b) permits the requesting party to designate the form or forms in which it wants electronically stored information produced. The form of production is more important to the exchange of electronically stored information than of hard-copy materials, although a party might specify hard copy as the requested form. Specification of the desired form or forms may facilitate the orderly, efficient, and cost-effective discovery of electronically stored information. The rule recognizes that different forms of production may be appropriate for different types of electronically stored information. Using current technology, for example, a party might be called upon to produce word processing documents, e-mail messages, electronic spreadsheets, different image or sound files, and material from databases. Requiring that such diverse types of electronically stored information all be produced in the same form could prove impossible, and even if possible could increase the cost and burdens of producing and using the information. The rule therefore provides that the requesting party may ask for different forms of production for different types of electronically stored information.
The rule does not require that the requesting party choose a form or forms of production. The requesting party may not have a preference. In some cases, the requesting party may not know what form the producing party uses to maintain its electronically stored information.
The responding party also is involved in determining the form of production. In the written response to the production request that Rule 34 requires, the responding party must state the form it intends to use for producing electronically stored information if the requesting party does not specify a form or if the responding party objects to a form that the requesting party specifies. Stating the intended form before the production occurs may permit the parties to identify and seek to resolve disputes before the expense and work of the production occurs. A party that responds to a discovery request by simply producing electronically stored information in a form of its choice, without identifying that form in advance of the production in the response required by Rule 34(b) runs a risk that the requesting party can show that the produced form is not reasonably usable and that it is entitled to production of some or all of the information in an additional form. Additional time might be required to permit a responding party to assess the appropriate form or forms of production.
The option to produce in a reasonably usable form does not mean that a responding party is free to convert electronically stored information from the form in which it is ordinarily maintained to a different form that makes it more difficult or burdensome for the requesting party to use the information efficiently in the litigation. If the responding party ordinarily maintains the information it is producing in a way that makes it searchable by electronic means, the information should not be produced in a form that removes or significantly degrades this feature. [Re Order effective Jan. 1, 2011]
What You Need to Know: New Electronic Discovery Rules. Sankovitz, Grenig & Gleisner. Wis. Law. July 2010.
Physical and mental examination of parties; inspection of medical documents. 804.10(1)
When the mental or physical condition, including the blood group or the ability to pursue a vocation, of a party is in issue, the court in which the action is pending may order the party to submit to a physical, mental or vocational examination. The order may be made on motion for cause shown and upon notice to all parties and shall specify the time, place, manner, conditions and scope of the examination and the person or persons by whom it is to be made.
In any action brought to recover damages for personal injuries, the court shall also order the claimant, upon such terms as are just, to give to the other party or any physician named in the order, within a specified time, consent and the right to inspect any X-ray photograph taken in the course of the diagnosis or treatment of the claimant. The court shall also order the claimant to give consent and the right to inspect and copy any hospital, medical or other records and reports that are within the scope of discovery under s. 804.01 (2)
No evidence obtained by an adverse party by a court-ordered examination under sub. (1)
or inspection under sub. (2)
shall be admitted upon the trial by reference or otherwise unless true copies of all reports prepared pursuant to such examination or inspection and received by such adverse party have been delivered to the other party or attorney not later than 10 days after the reports are received by the adverse party. The party claiming damages shall deliver to the adverse party, in return for copies of reports based on court-ordered examination or inspection, a true copy of all reports of each person who has examined or treated the claimant with respect to the injuries for which damages are claimed.
This subsection applies to examinations made by agreement of the parties, unless the agreement expressly provides otherwise. This subsection does not preclude discovery of a report of an examining physician or the taking of a deposition of the physician in accordance with any other statute.
Upon receipt of written authorization and consent signed by a person who has been the subject of medical care or treatment, or in case of the death of such person, signed by the personal representative or by the beneficiary of an insurance policy on the person's life, the physician or other person having custody of any medical or hospital records or reports concerning such care or treatment, shall forthwith permit the person designated in such authorization to inspect and copy such records and reports. Any person having custody of such records and reports who unreasonably refuses to comply with such authorization shall be liable to the party seeking the records or reports for the reasonable and necessary costs of enforcing the party's right to discover.
Sup. Ct. Order, 67 Wis. 2d 585, 680 (1975); 1975 c. 218
; 1993 a. 424
; 1995 a. 345
Although a personal injury claimant's counsel attended a stipulated independent medical examination without court order or the defendant's knowledge, the trial court did not abuse its discretion in refusing to limit cross-examination of the physician since the presence of counsel was not prejudicial and the court order could have been obtained under Whanger
guidelines. Karl v. Employers Insurance of Wausau, 78 Wis. 2d 284
, 254 N.W.2d 255
The trial court may order a claimant to consent to the release and inspection of health care records and reports of treatment received prior to the claimed injury if the requester shows that the records may reasonably lead to discovery of admissible evidence and the claimant has an opportunity to assert physician-patient privilege. Ambrose v. General Cas. Co. 156 Wis. 2d 306
, 456 N.W.2d 642
(Ct. App. 1990).
Medical records discovery in Wisconsin personal injury litigation. 1974 WLR 524.
Avoiding E-Discovery Traps. Kehoe & Rummelhoff. Wis. Law. June 2011.
Requests for admission. 804.11(1)(a)(a)
Except as provided in s. 804.015
, a party may serve upon any other party a written request for the admission, for purposes of the pending action only, of the truth of any matters within the scope of s. 804.01 (2)
set forth in the request that relate to statements or opinions of fact or of the application of law to fact, including the genuineness of any documents described in the request. Copies of documents shall be served with the request unless they have been or are otherwise furnished or made available for inspection and copying. The request may, without leave of court, be served upon the plaintiff after commencement of the action and upon any other party with or after service of the summons and complaint upon that party.
Each matter of which an admission is requested shall be separately set forth. The matter is admitted unless, within 30 days after service of the request, or within such shorter or longer time as the court may allow, the party to whom the request is directed serves upon the party requesting the admission a written answer or objection addressed to the matter, signed by the party or attorney, but, unless the court shortens the time, a defendant shall not be required to serve answers or objections before the expiration of 45 days after service of the summons and complaint upon the defendant. If objection is made, the reasons therefor shall be stated. The answer shall specifically deny the matter or set forth in detail the reasons why the answering party cannot truthfully admit or deny the matter. A denial shall fairly meet the substance of the requested admission, and when good faith requires that a party qualify an answer or deny only a part of the matter of which an admission is requested, the party shall specify so much of it as is true and qualify or deny the remainder. An answering party may not give lack of information or knowledge as a reason for failure to admit or deny unless the party states that he or she had made reasonable inquiry and that the information known or readily obtainable by the party is insufficient to enable the party to admit or deny. A party who considers that a matter of which an admission has been requested presents a genuine issue for trial may not, on that ground alone, object to the request; the party may, subject to s. 804.12 (3)
deny the matter or set forth reasons why the party cannot admit or deny it.
The party who has requested the admissions may move to determine the sufficiency of the answers or objections. Unless the court determines that an objection is justified, it shall order that an answer be served. If the court determines that an answer does not comply with this section, it may order either that the matter is admitted or that an amended answer be served. The court may, in lieu of these orders, determine that final disposition of the request be made at a pretrial conference or at a designated time prior to trial. Section 804.12 (1) (c)
applies to the award of expenses incurred in relation to the motion.
(2) Effect of admission.
Any matter admitted under this section is conclusively established unless the court on motion permits withdrawal or amendment of the admission. The court may permit withdrawal or amendment when the presentation of the merits of the action will be subserved thereby and the party who obtained the admission fails to satisfy the court that withdrawal or amendment will prejudice the party in maintaining the action or defense on the merits. Any admission made by a party under this section is for the purpose of the pending action only and is not an admission for any other purpose nor may it be used against the party in any other proceeding.
Sup. Ct. Order, 67 Wis. 2d 585, 682 (1975); 1975 c. 218
; 1977 c. 447
; 1983 a. 192
; Sup. Ct. Order No. 95-04
, 191 Wis. 2d, xxi (1995); 1997 a. 133
The trial court erred in ruling that requests for admissions were limited to matters not denied in the pleadings. Schmid v. Olsen, 111 Wis. 2d 228
, 330 N.W.2d 547
Summary judgment can be based upon a party's failure to respond to a request for admissions, even if an admission would be dispositive of the entire case. Bank of Two Rivers v. Zimmer, 112 Wis. 2d 624
, 334 N.W.2d 230
A negligence claim's total value was not a proper subject of a request for admission. Kettner v. Milwaukee Mutual Insurance Co. 146 Wis. 2d 636
, 431 N.W.2d 737
(Ct. App. 1988).
A court may permit withdrawal of admissions if both statutory conditions under sub. (2) are met, but it is not required to do so. A court may consider a party's history of discovery abuse when deciding whether to permit withdrawal or amendment of admissions, when determining prejudice under sub. (2) and when otherwise exercising the court's authority to control the orderly and prompt processing of a case. Mucek v. Nationwide Communications, Inc. 2002 WI App 60
, 252 Wis. 2d 426
, 643 N.W.2d 98
The prejudice contemplated by sub. (2) is not simply that a party obtaining the admissions would be worse off without the admissions. Prejudice in maintaining the action or defense on the merits relates to the difficulty a party may face in proving its case, e.g., caused by the unavailability of key witnesses, because of the sudden need to obtain evidence with respect to the questions previously answered by the admissions. The fact that a trial must be adjourned, or that the time for discovery must be enlarged, does not necessarily mean that the non-moving party will suffer prejudice in maintaining the action or defense on the merits. A party will not be prejudiced in maintaining a defense on the merits if they are placed in the same position they would have been in had the admissions not been mistakenly made. Luckett v. Bodner, 2009 WI 68
, 318 Wis. 2d 423
, 769 N.W.2d 504
It is the burden of the party obtaining the admissions to demonstrate that withdrawal or amendment of the admissions will prejudice that party in maintaining their defense on the merits. Under sub. (2), excusable neglect is not a prerequisite for withdrawal or amendment of an admission. A court must consider the effect upon the litigation and prejudice to the resisting party, rather than focusing on the moving party's excuses for an erroneous admission. Luckett v. Bodner, 2009 WI 68
, 318 Wis. 2d 423
, 769 N.W.2d 504
Requests For Admissions in Wisconsin Civil Procedure: Civil Litigation's Double-Edged Sword. Kinsler. 78 MLR 625.
Failure to make discovery; sanctions. 804.12(1)(1)
Motion for order compelling discovery.
A party, upon reasonable notice to other parties and all persons affected thereby, may apply for an order compelling discovery as follows: