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Gov. Walker to Sign Controversial Liability Lawsuit Bill Thursday

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (R)
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (R)

MADISON, Wis. (WTAQ) - Governor Scott Walker will sign the most controversial bill of the current session into law Thursday.

It’s the one that makes it harder for people to win liability lawsuits against companies and doctors. Walker’s Republican majority in the Legislature approved the measure last week.

Among other things, it limits punitive damages to $200,000 or twice the amount of actual damages, whichever is greater. But the limits would not apply to drunk drivers, after concerns were raised that the new law would go easier on them.

Also, there are new limits on expert testimony in liability trials – something Democrats say will hurt criminal cases and make it harder for prosecutors to put law-breakers away.

But Republicans have said for years that Wisconsin’s legal liability climate puts businesses at too much risk.

They got especially upset after the State Supreme Court ruled in 2005 that a Milwaukee boy could sue the entire lead-based paint industry, because his family didn’t know which company made the paint that got him sick at home.

The new law requires plaintiffs to identify the companies they accuse of wrong-doing.