814.04(1) (1) Attorney fees.
814.04(1)(a)(a) When the amount recovered or the value of the property involved is greater than the maximum amount specified in s. 799.01 (1) (d), attorney fees shall be $500; when it is equal to or less than the maximum amount specified in s. 799.01 (1) (d), but is $1,000 or more, attorney fees shall be $300; when it is less than $1,000, attorney fees shall be $100. In all other cases in which there is no amount recovered or that do not involve property, attorney fees shall be $300.
814.04(1)(c) (c) No attorney fees may be taxed on behalf of any party unless the party appears by an attorney other than himself or herself.
814.04(2) (2) Disbursements. All the necessary disbursements and fees allowed by law; the compensation of referees; a reasonable disbursement for the service of process or other papers in an action when the same are served by a person authorized by law other than an officer, but the item may not exceed the authorized sheriff's fee for the same service; amounts actually paid out for certified and other copies of papers and records in any public office; postage, photocopying, telephoning, electronic communications, facsimile transmissions, and express or overnight delivery; the electronic filing fee prescribed in s. 801.18 (7) (c); depositions including copies; plats and photographs, not exceeding $100 for each item; an expert witness fee not exceeding $300 for each expert who testifies, exclusive of the standard witness fee and mileage which shall also be taxed for each expert; and in actions relating to or affecting the title to lands, the cost of procuring an abstract of title to the lands. Guardian ad litem fees shall not be taxed as a cost or disbursement.
814.04(4) (4) Interest on verdict. Except as provided in s. 807.01 (4), if the judgment is for the recovery of money, interest at an annual rate equal to 1 percent plus the prime rate in effect on January 1 of the year in which the judgment is entered if the judgment is entered on or before June 30 of that year or in effect on July 1 of the year in which the judgment is entered if the judgment is entered after June 30 of that year, as reported by the federal reserve board in federal reserve statistical release H. 15, on the amount of the money judgment from the time of verdict, decision, or report until judgment is entered shall be computed by the clerk and added to the costs.
814.04(6) (6) Judgment by default. If the judgment is by default or upon voluntary dismissal by the adverse party the costs taxed under sub. (1) shall be one-half what they would have been had the matter been contested.
814.04(7) (7) Judgment offer not accepted. If the offer of judgment pursuant to s. 807.01 is not accepted and the plaintiff fails to recover a more favorable judgment the plaintiff shall not recover costs but the defendant shall have full costs to be computed on the demand of the complaint.
814.04(8) (8) Actions for municipal corporations. In all actions brought for the benefit of any county, town, village, city or other municipal corporation of this state by a citizen taxpayer, the plaintiff shall be entitled to recover for the plaintiff's own use, in case the plaintiff shall prevail, the taxable costs of such action and such part of the recovery as the court considers reasonable, as attorney fees, not to exceed 20 percent of such recovery, and not to exceed $500.
814.04 History History: Sup. Ct. Order, 50 Wis. 2d vii (1971); 1971 c. 141; Sup. Ct. Order, 67 Wis. 2d 585, 761, 780 (1975); Stats. 1975 s. 814.04; 1977 c. 209; 1979 c. 110 s. 60 (13); 1979 c. 271, 355; 1981 c. 123, 317; 1985 a. 52, 311; 1987 a. 348; 1991 a. 39, 65, 189, 295; 1993 a. 98, 326, 486, 490, 491; 1995 a. 24, 27, 133, 149, 262, 417; 1997 a. 55, 164, 254; 1999 a. 32, 82, 122, 190; 2001 a. 6, 16; 2003 a. 138; Sup. Ct. Order No. 03-06A, 2005 WI 86, 280 Wis. 2d xiii; 2005 a. 155, 325; 2005 a. 443 s. 265; 2005 a. 458; 2007 a. 96; 2009 a. 20; 2011 a. 2, 69, 118, 219; 2013 a. 165; Sup. Ct. Order No. 20-07, 2021 WI 37, filed 4-23-21, eff. 7-1-21.
814.04 Annotation Comment of Judicial Council, 1971: Guardian ad litem fees shall not be taxed as a cost or disbursement. Present law permits guardian ad litem fees to be taxed as costs or disbursements. [Re Order effective July 1, 1971]
814.04 Annotation Fees for an expert witness may be taxed only for the day that the expert testifies, even though the expert was present in court on other days. McLoone Metal Graphics, Inc. v. Robers Dredge, Inc., 58 Wis. 2d 704, 207 N.W.2d 616 (1973).
814.04 Annotation A citizen who obtains an injunction in an action brought for the benefit of a municipality may not recover attorney fees under sub. (8). Cobb v. Milwaukee County, 60 Wis. 2d 99, 208 N.W.2d 848 (1973).
814.04 Annotation Sub. (4), being a general statute, does not govern the rate of interest on a jury verdict in a condemnation action, which is covered by ss. 32.05 (11) (b) and 138.04. Weiland v. DOT, 62 Wis. 2d 456, 215 N.W.2d 455 (1974). See also Calaway v. Brown County, 202 Wis. 2d 736, 553 N.W.2d 809 (Ct. App. 1996), 95-2337.
814.04 Annotation Sub. (2) allows the recovery of costs, not exceeding $50, for each individual plat and photograph. Billingsley v. Zickert, 72 Wis. 2d 156, 240 N.W.2d 375 (1976).
814.04 Annotation When a plaintiff's damages were set by the first verdict, but the amount the plaintiff could recover was not set until the second verdict, the plaintiff was entitled to interest from the date of the first verdict. Nelson v. Travelers Insurance Co., 102 Wis. 2d 159, 306 N.W.2d 71 (1981).
814.04 Annotation The court erred by taxing as costs of suit, guardian ad litem and attorney fees as a surcharge or penalty against a former guardian. In Matter of Guardianship & Estate of P.A.H., 115 Wis. 2d 670, 340 N.W.2d 577 (Ct. App. 1983).
814.04 AnnotationPhotocopies may not be taxed as photographs. Ramsey v. Ellis, 163 Wis. 2d 378, 471 N.W.2d 289 (Ct. App. 1991).
814.04 Annotation The award of attorney fees, disbursements, and interest on a verdict are discussed. Zintek v. Perchik, 163 Wis. 2d 439, 471 N.W.2d 522 (Ct. App. 1991).
814.04 Annotation Photocopy and facsimile expenses may be taxed under s. 814.036. Wausau Medical Center v. Asplund, 182 Wis. 2d 274, 514 N.W.2d 34 (Ct. App. 1994).
814.04 Annotation There is no authority for awarding pretrial mediation fees as taxable costs. Kleinke v. Farmers Coop. Supply & Shipping, 202 Wis. 2d 138, 549 N.W.2d 714 (1996), 95-0856.
814.04 Annotation Postverdict, prejudgment interest on a verdict that was overturned by a judgment notwithstanding the verdict, but was ultimately reinstated on appeal, accrued from the date of the original verdict to the entry of judgment following the completion of the appeal. Management Computer v. Hawkins, Ash, Baptie & Co., 224 Wis. 2d 312, 592 N.W.2d 279 (Ct. App. 1998), 97-2470.
814.04 Annotation When multiple plaintiffs are required to bring their claims in a single action pursuant to s. 803.03, sub. (2) does not authorize multiple awards for the same disbursement to multiple plaintiffs. Paulson v. Allstate Insurance Co., 2002 WI App 168, 256 Wis. 2d 892, 649 N.W.2d 645, 01-0991.
814.04 Annotation Photocopies of sworn public documents are not a type of certified copies the cost of which are taxable under sub. (2). Affidavits filed by government workers are not certified copies. Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District v. City of Milwaukee, 2003 WI App 209, 267 Wis. 2d 688, 671 N.W.2d 346, 02-2961.
814.04 AnnotationAffirmed on other grounds. 2005 WI 8, 277 Wis. 2d 635, 691 N.W.2d 858, 02-2961.
814.04 Annotation When a garnishment summons and complaint recited that the total due on the creditor's claim was $11,716.16 and advised the garnishee defendant that if it failed to answer, judgment would be entered against it for that amount, the garnishee defendant was entitled to the maximum amount of costs allowable under sub. (1) (a). Hometown Bank v. Acuity Insurance, 2008 WI App 48, 308 Wis. 2d 503, 748 N.W.2d 203, 07-1048.
814.04 Annotation Actual attorney fees in the context of a bad faith claim are not a necessary cost of litigation to which a prevailing party is entitled. Instead, they are an item of damages intended to compensate the victims. In the absence of an express reservation of the right to recover actual attorney fees in an accepted offer of judgment, recovery of fees in a bad faith action is limited to only those plaintiffs who proceed to trial. Stewart v. Farmers Insurance Group, 2009 WI App 130, 321 Wis. 2d 391, 773 N.W.2d 513, 08-1605.
814.04 Annotation The phrase “actually paid out" in sub. (2) modifies the amounts paid “for certified and other copies of papers and records in any public office." Applying the phrase “actually paid out" as a limitation on other recoverable costs is not supported by the statute. Photocopy charges are not required to be “paid out" to a third-party vendor to be awarded under this section. Mercer v. City of Fond du Lac, 2010 WI App 15, 323 Wis. 2d 67, 780 N.W.2d 188, 09-0505.
814.04 Annotation When plaintiffs join together to file a single complaint, even though they could have commenced separate actions, they may recover their costs as if they had filed their complaints separately. 3301 Bay Road LLC v. Town of Delavan, 2014 WI App 18, 352 Wis. 2d 721, 845 N.W.2d 666, 12-2594.
814.045 814.045 Attorney fees; reasonableness.
814.045(1)(1)Subject to sub. (2), in any action involving the award of attorney fees that are not governed by s. 814.04 (1) or involving a dispute over the reasonableness of attorney fees, the court shall, in determining whether to award attorney fees and in determining whether the attorney fees are reasonable, consider all of the following:
814.045(1)(a) (a) The time and labor required by the attorney.
814.045(1)(b) (b) The novelty and difficulty of the questions involved in the action.
814.045(1)(c) (c) The skill requisite to perform the legal service properly.
814.045(1)(d) (d) The likelihood that the acceptance of the particular case precluded other employment by the attorney.
814.045(1)(e) (e) The fee customarily charged in the locality for similar legal services.
814.045(1)(f) (f) The amount of damages involved in the action.
814.045(1)(g) (g) The results obtained in the action.
814.045(1)(h) (h) The time limitations imposed by the client or by the circumstances of the action.
814.045(1)(i) (i) The nature and length of the attorney's professional relationship with his or her client.
814.045(1)(j) (j) The experience, reputation, and ability of the attorney.
814.045(1)(k) (k) Whether the fee is fixed or contingent.
814.045(1)(L) (L) The complexity of the case.
814.045(1)(m) (m) Awards of costs and fees in similar cases.
814.045(1)(n) (n) The legitimacy or strength of any defenses or affirmative defenses asserted in the action.
814.045(1)(p) (p) Other factors the court deems important or necessary to consider under the circumstances of the case.
814.045(2) (2)
814.045(2)(a)(a) In any action in which compensatory damages are awarded, the court shall presume that reasonable attorney fees do not exceed 3 times the amount of the compensatory damages awarded but this presumption may be overcome if the court determines, after considering the factors set forth in sub. (1), that a greater amount is reasonable.
814.045(2)(b) (b) In any action in which compensatory damages are not awarded but injunctive or declaratory relief, rescission or modification, or specific performance is ordered, reasonable attorney fees shall be determined according to the factors set forth in sub. (1).
814.045(3) (3)This section does not abrogate the rights of persons to enter into an agreement for attorney fees, and the court shall presume that such an agreement is reasonable.
814.045 History History: 2011 a. 92.
814.045 Annotation Determining Reasonable Attorney Fees. Dudley & Colbert. Wis. Law. Oct. 2012.
814.05 814.05 Bond premium as costs. Any party entitled to recover costs or disbursements in an action or special proceeding may include in such disbursements the lawful premium paid to an authorized insurer for a suretyship obligation.
814.05 History History: 1977 c. 339.
814.05 Annotation Among the “necessary disbursements and fees allowed by law" are those authorized under fee-shifting statutes. Numerous statutes contain fee-shifting provisions, including those relating to consumer protection, frivolous lawsuits, and privacy rights. Kolupar v. Wilde Pontiac Cadillac, Inc., 2007 WI 98, 303 Wis. 2d 258, 735 N.W.2d 93, 05-0935.
814.07 814.07 Costs on motion. Costs may be allowed on a motion, in the discretion of the court or judge, not exceeding $300, and may be absolute or directed to abide the event of the action.
814.07 History History: Sup. Ct. Order, 67 Wis. 2d 585, 761 (1975); Stats. 1975 s. 814.07; 2003 a. 138.
814.07 Annotation Motion costs on motions brought to open judgments entered on forfeiture actions under s. 345.37 may not be imposed by a blanket order. Discretion must be exercised by the court in each case. OAG 1-00.
814.08 814.08 Costs on appeal from municipal court; certiorari.
814.08(1)(1)In actions appealed from municipal court, where there is no new trial, if the judgment is affirmed or the appeal dismissed the respondent shall have costs; if reversed, the appellant; if affirmed in part and reversed in part, the court may award the costs or such part thereof as is just to either party. Where there is a new trial, costs shall be awarded to the successful party; but if the appeal is from a judgment in favor of the appellant he or she shall have costs only if he or she obtains a more favorable judgment, and otherwise the respondent shall have costs. In all those cases full costs shall be the applicable fee under s. 814.61 (8) and all disbursements made for return of the judge and officers' and witnesses' fees, together with all costs taxable in the municipal court in the action.
814.08(2) (2)Upon certiorari to municipal court the same costs shall be awarded to the successful party as provided by sub. (1), where there is no new trial.
814.08 History History: Sup. Ct. Order, 67 Wis. 2d 585, 761 (1975); Stats. 1975 s. 814.08; 1977 c. 305; 1981 c. 317; 1987 a. 389; 2013 a. 107.
814.10 814.10 Taxation of costs.
814.10(1)(1)Clerk's duty, notice, review. The clerk of circuit court shall tax and insert in the judgment and in the judgment and lien docket, if the judgment shall have been entered, on the application of the prevailing party, upon 3 days' notice to the other, the sum of the costs and disbursements as provided in this chapter, verified by affidavit.
814.10(2) (2) Cost bill, service. All bills of costs shall be itemized and served with the notice of taxation.
814.10(3) (3) Objections, proofs, adjournment. The party opposing such taxation, or the taxation of any particular item shall file with the clerk a particular statement of the party's objections, and the party may produce proof in support thereof and the clerk may adjourn such taxation, upon cause shown, a reasonable time to enable either party to produce such proof.
814.10(4) (4) Court review. The clerk shall note on the bill all items disallowed, and all items allowed, to which objections have been made. This action may be reviewed by the court on motion of the party aggrieved made and served within 10 days after taxation. The review shall be founded on the bill of costs and the objections and proof on file in respect to the bill of costs. No objection shall be entertained on review which was not made before the clerk, except to prevent great hardship or manifest injustice. Motions under this subsection may be heard under s. 807.13.
814.10 History History: Sup. Ct. Order, 67 Wis. 2d 585, 761 (1975); Stats. 1975 s. 814.10; Sup. Ct. Order, 141 Wis. 2d xiii (1987); 1987 a. 403; 1993 a. 486; 1995 a. 224.
814.10 Note Judicial Council Note, 1988: Sub. (4) is amended to allow motions to review costs to be heard by telephone conference. [Re Order effective Jan. 1, 1988]
814.10 Annotation When a judgement included attorney fees exceeding the statutory limit and the clerk did not tax costs, an objection under sub. (4) was not required to allow consideration of the issue on appeal. Running v. Widdes, 52 Wis. 2d 254, 190 N.W.2d 169 (1971).
814.11 814.11 Disbursements, how proved. Charges in a bill of costs for witness fees, or copies of documents or other disbursements, except to officers for services shall not be taxed without an affidavit stating the distance the witnesses respectively traveled and the days they actually attended, and an affidavit that such copies were necessarily obtained for use; nor shall such other disbursements be allowed without an affidavit specifying the items thereof, nor unless they appear to have been necessary and reasonable in amount.
814.11 History History: Sup. Ct. Order, 67 Wis. 2d 585, 761 (1975); Stats. 1975 s. 814.11.
814.12 814.12 Costs may be set off. If, in any action, a recovery be had by one party and costs be awarded to the other the court may set off one against the other and render judgment for the balance.
814.12 History History: Sup. Ct. Order, 67 Wis. 2d 585, 761 (1975); Stats. 1975 s. 814.12.
814.13 814.13 Referee; court to fix and allow fees. After the trial of any issue by a referee pursuant to a compulsory reference for that purpose his or her fees and expenses shall be fixed by the court in which his or her report has been filed and paid by the state as other circuit court expenses are paid. In all other cases the compensation of referees shall be $3 for each day necessarily occupied with the business of the reference; but the parties may agree in writing upon any other rate of compensation.
814.13 History History: Sup. Ct. Order, 67 Wis. 2d 585, 761 (1975); Stats. 1975 s. 814.13; 1977 c. 449.
814.131 814.131 Taxing costs on compulsory references. In all cases of compulsory reference in which the fees claimed by the referee exceed $50, the fees shall not be allowed until a hearing is had on the fees, upon 10 days' notice to the district attorney of the county, accompanied by a copy of the bill.
814.131 History History: Sup. Ct. Order, 67 Wis. 2d 585, 761 (1975); Stats. 1975 s. 814.131; 1997 a. 254.
814.14 814.14 Fiduciary; liability for costs limited; bond premium.
814.14(1)(a) (a) Except as provided in par. (b) or unless otherwise specifically provided in any action or proceeding prosecuted or defended in any court in this state by a personal representative, guardian ad litem, trustee of an express trust, general guardian or person expressly authorized by statute, costs may be recovered as in an action by or against a person prosecuting or defending in the person's own right.
814.14(1)(b) (b) Except in cases in which the plaintiff or defendant is guilty of mismanagement or bad faith in the action, proceeding, or defense of the action, costs recovered under par. (a) shall be chargeable only upon or collected from the estate, fund, or party represented. In cases in which the plaintiff or defendant is guilty of mismanagement or bad faith in the action, proceeding, or defense of the action, the court shall direct that the costs recovered under par. (a) shall be paid by the plaintiff or defendant personally.
814.14(2) (2)In addition to other costs, all actions or proceedings in which any fiduciary may be entitled to recover costs, the fiduciary may recover any sum that the fiduciary paid to a company, authorized by the laws of this state to act as the fiduciary's surety, for becoming the fiduciary's surety upon any bond or other obligation given by the fiduciary in the fiduciary's representative capacity in the action or proceeding pursuant to law or the order of any court, as may be allowed by the court in which the fiduciary accounts, not exceeding the lesser of 2 percent per year on the amount secured by the obligation or the actual amount paid to the company.
814.14 History History: Sup. Ct. Order, 67 Wis. 2d 585, 761 (1975); Stats. 1975 s. 814.14; 1979 c. 110 s. 60 (13); 1993 a. 486; 2001 a. 102.
814.15 814.15 Assignee's liability for costs. In actions in which the cause of action shall, by assignment, after the commencement of the action or in any other manner become the property of a person not a party to the action the person shall be liable for the costs in the same manner as if the person were a party; and payment thereof may be enforced by attachment.
814.15 History History: Sup. Ct. Order, 67 Wis. 2d 585, 761 (1975); Stats. 1975 s. 814.15; 1993 a. 486.
814.16 814.16 Settlement, costs on. Except as provided in s. 93.20, upon settlement of an action no greater sum may be demanded for costs than at the rate prescribed in this chapter.
814.16 History History: Sup. Ct. Order, 67 Wis. 2d 585, 761 (1975); Stats. 1975 s. 814.16; 1991 a. 39.
814.19 814.19 Records copied not to be taxed for. No record, writ, return, pleading, instrument or other writing copied into any proceeding, entry, process or suggestion shall be computed as any part of the draft of such proceeding, entry, process or suggestion.
2021-22 Wisconsin Statutes updated through all Supreme Court and Controlled Substances Board Orders filed before and in effect on January 7, 2023. Published and certified under s. 35.18. Changes effective after January 7, 2023, are designated by NOTES. (Published 1-7-23)