Wisconsin Civil Justice Council: Statement on Governor Walker’s small business agenda

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Bill Smith: (608) 255-6083
Bob Fassbender: (608) 258-9506

“Having a competitive legal environment has never been more important,” says WCJC President Bill Smith. In a recent survey of corporate attorneys, 85 percent believe a state’s litigation environment is likely to impact business decisions at their companies, such as where to locate or do business. This is an increase from 75 percent in 2015 and 70 percent in 2012.1

According to Smith, “the easiest way to lower litigation costs for everyone, including large and small businesses, state and local governments, and all litigants, is to address the escalating transaction costs associated with discovery.”

A recent study found that most of the documents retrieved in discovery are never submitted as evidence. In 2008, for example, of the close to 5 million pages of documents produced indiscovery in major cases that went to trial, only 4,772exhibit pages were marked. That means over 99.9 percent were never used. “That is an incredible waste of time and money,” accordingto Smith.

These broad requests for documents, including electronic data, can cost tens of thousands to tens of millions of dollars. Such costs would cripple small business owners who would have no choice but to settle even if they could win on the merits of the case.

WCJC looks forward to working with Gov. Walker on other opportunities to lower litigation costs and reduce frivolous lawsuits.

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