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Wis. Bill Would Limit Contingent Attorney Fees to Three Times Plaintiff’s Damages

Posted Oct 19, 2011 12:25 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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A bill under consideration by Wisconsin lawmakers would limit attorney fees in most contingency cases to three times the amount of the plaintiff's compensatory damages, according to the State Bar of Wisconsin.

The state senate's judiciary committee is conducting a hearing today on the proposed law, which has been introduced both in the senate and the state assembly. The assembly's judiciary and ethics committee is to hold a hearing at 9 a.m. Friday, the Journal Sentinel reports.

Supporters of the proposed legislation say lawyers run up excessive attorney's fees for their own benefit, harming businesses.

However, attorney Vince Megna of Milwaukee, who litigates automobile lemon law cases, says the bill, if enacted, would "virtually repeal" a number of consumer protection statutes, because injured consumers with would no longer be able to find a lawyer to represent them unless they had substantial claims for damages.

The bill is also opposed by the State Bar of Wisconsin, which states in its policy manual that “for many, the contingent fee is the key to the courthouse door,” the state bar article notes.

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