June 11, 2012 Articles

Wisconsin's Tort Reform: A Victory for Manufacturers

By Allen C. Schlinsog Jr.

The November 2010 elections in Wisconsin gave the Republican Party control of the governor's office, as well as both houses of the state legislature, for the first time since the 1969 legislative session. Until 2008, when conservative Justice Michael J. Gableman was elected, the Wisconsin Supreme Court similarly had long been controlled by a liberal majority.

Responding to the historic budget deficits and propelling a pro-business platform, the Republican governor and legislature moved quickly after gaining political control, passing several new laws that sparked well-publicized and unprecedented protests, recall elections, and public dysfunction of the sharply divided Wisconsin Supreme Court (including an alleged physical altercation between justices). As part of his agenda, within the first month of taking office, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker signed into law the most sweeping changes to products liability law Wisconsin has ever seen.

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