Three recent cases illustrate the current anti-business trend of the Supreme Court. The first is Wischer v. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, decided in March of 2005. The Legislature had enacted a statute that was intended to establish a higher threshold for the recovery of punitive damages than had been in existence at common law. The Supreme Court's decision negated the statute and the legislative desire to make the recovery of punitive damages more difficult for plaintiffs.
Next, in Ferdon ex rel. Petrucelli v. Wisconsin Patients Compensation Fund, the Supreme Court struck down the non-economic damages cap in medical malpractice cases, a cap the Legislature had passed in 1995, prior to Governor Doyle's election. While a majority of the Court held that a cap could be constitutional, the Court held that the current cap was not and was instead irrational.
Another Supreme Court decision released the day after Ferdon, Thomas v. Mallett, continued this anti-business trend. The Court allowed a teenager suffering from mild cognitive problems to sue a group of companies that produced a pigment used in lead paint, despite a lack of proof as to: (1) whether the teenager had ingested the pigment at all, (2) when the pigment he supposedly ingested was manufactured, and (3) what company manufactured the pigment he supposedly ingested.
Thursday, January 5, 2006
Michael P. Crooks writes in Wisconsin Civil Trial Journal
Tuesday, January 3, 2006
Today's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has op-eds on the Wisconsin Supreme Court's decision in Thomas v. Mallett (see this earlier post.
Peter G. Earle, a Milwaukee attorney who represented the plaintiff in the Thomas case, says Paint industry not so virtuous.