The Wisconsin Supreme Court recently issued an order adopting a modification of the state’s default-judgment rule.
The order, which the court issued on Oct. 23, adopts a rule-change proposal the Judicial Council brought in April.
The council, a 21-member body charged with proposing changes to the state’s courts procedures, sought to add language to Wis. Stat. 806.02 that would let defendants file for default judgement when an opposing party fails to answer a counterclaim or cross claim. The current rule is silent on what happens in such a situation.
The justices voted in June to take the proposal up at a public hearing. No one submitted written comments either supporting or opposing the proposal. However, the State Bar of Wisconsin’s Litigation Section Board recently voted to support the petition, and the bar’s Board of Governors took the same step last month.
Following a short public hearing on Oct. 11, the justices voted unanimously in a closed conference to grant the council’s request.
Starting Jan. 1, the modification gives trial court judges the authority to find in default plaintiffs and other parties who don’t respond to cross claims or counterclaims.
According to the order, the new rule will apply to all court proceedings started after Jan. 1 and to proceedings pending as of Jan. 1, unless the application of the new rule “would not be feasible or would work injustice.”
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