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Wisconsin Governor Signs Bill Capping Attorney Fees into Law

December 8, 2011 | Posted in : Fee Award, Fee Shifting, Legislation / Politics, NALFA News

Republican Governor Scott Walker signed a bill Wednesday designed to limit attorney compensation.  The law, 2011 Wisconsin Act 92 (pdf), would require judges to award attorney fees to no more than three times damages.  Plaintiffs’ attorneys point out that fee awards and monetary damages are often disproportional for good reason, especially in small tort cases.  According to the Wisconsin Association for Justice, Wisconsin will be the only state in the country that imposes factors judges must use when awarding attorney fees as well as creating a presumption that fee awards more than three times damages are unreasonble in fee-shifting cases.

"There is absolutely nothing wrong or unreasonable with fee awards being three times, four times, or even eight times that of monetary damages," explains Terry Jesse, Executive Director of NALFA.  "Caps on attorney fees is a solution to a problem that does not exist.  Plaintiffs' attorneys should be proud of earning big fee awards and proud when fees are several times that of damages, because that means they worked hard and did a great job on the case," Jesse conclued.