Wis. Stat. § 802.02

Current through Acts 2023-2024, ch. 96
Section 802.02 - General rules of pleading
(1) CONTENTS OF PLEADINGS. A pleading or supplemental pleading that sets forth a claim for relief, whether an original or amended claim, counterclaim, cross claim or 3rd-party claim, shall contain all of the following:
(a) A short and plain statement of the claim, identifying the transaction or occurrence or series of transactions or occurrences out of which the claim arises and showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.
(b) A demand for judgment for the relief the pleader seeks.
(1m) RELIEF DEMANDED.
(a) Relief in the alternative or of several different types may be demanded. With respect to a tort claim seeking the recovery of money, the demand for judgment may not specify the amount of money the pleader seeks.
(b) This subsection does not affect any right of a party to specify to the jury or the court the amount of money the party seeks.
(2) DEFENSES; FORM OF DENIALS. A party shall state in short and plain terms the defenses to each claim asserted and shall admit or deny the averments upon which the adverse party relies. If the party is without knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief as to the truth of an averment, the party shall so state and this has the effect of a denial. Denials shall fairly meet the substance of the averments denied. The pleader shall make the denials as specific denials of designated averments or paragraphs, but if a pleader intends in good faith to deny only a part or a qualification of an averment, the pleader shall specify so much of it as is true and material and shall deny only the remainder.
(3) AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSES. In pleading to a preceding pleading, a party shall set forth affirmatively any matter constituting an avoidance or affirmative defense including but not limited to the following: accord and satisfaction, arbitration and award, assumption of risk, contributory negligence, discharge in bankruptcy, duress, estoppel, failure of a condition subsequent, failure or want of consideration, failure to mitigate damages, fraud, illegality, immunity, incompetence, injury by fellow servants, laches, license, payment, release, res judicata, statute of frauds, statute of limitations, superseding cause, and waiver. When a party has mistakenly designated a defense as a counterclaim or a counterclaim as a defense, the court, if justice so requires, shall permit amendment of the pleading to conform to a proper designation. If an affirmative defense permitted to be raised by motion under s. 802.06(2) is so raised, it need not be set forth in a subsequent pleading.
(4) EFFECT OF FAILURE TO DENY. Averments in a pleading to which a responsive pleading is required, other than those as to the fact, nature and extent of injury and damage, are admitted when not denied in the responsive pleading, except that a party whose prior pleadings set forth all denials and defenses to be relied upon in defending a claim for contribution need not respond to such claim. Averments in a pleading to which no responsive pleading is required or permitted shall be taken as denied or avoided.
(5) PLEADINGS TO BE CONCISE AND DIRECT; CONSISTENCY.
(a) Each averment of a pleading shall be simple, concise, and direct. No technical forms of pleading or motions are required.
(b) A party may set forth 2 or more statements of a claim or defense alternatively or hypothetically, either in one claim or defense or in separate claims or defenses. When 2 or more statements are made in the alternative and one of them if made independently would be sufficient, the pleading is not made insufficient by the insufficiency of one or more of the alternative statements. A party may also state as many separate claims or defenses as the party has regardless of consistency and whether based on legal or equitable grounds. All statements shall be made subject to the obligations set forth in s. 802.05 .
(6) CONSTRUCTION OF PLEADINGS. All pleadings shall be so construed as to do substantial justice.

Wis. Stat. § 802.02

Sup. Ct. Order, 67 Wis. 2d 585, 616 (1975); 1975 c. 218; Sup. Ct. Order, 82 Wis. 2d ix (1978); Sup. Ct. Order, 104 Wis. 2d xi (1981); 1987 a. 256; 1993 a. 486.

Sub. (2) does not authorize denials for lack of knowledge or information solely to obtain delay. An answer that does so is frivolous under [former] s. 814.025(3) (b). First Federated Savings Bank v. McDonah, 143 Wis. 2d 429, 422 N.W.2d 113 (Ct. App. 1988). Insurers must plead and prove their policy limits prior to a verdict to restrict the judgment to the policy limits. Price v. Hart, 166 Wis. 2d 182, 480 N.W.2d 249 (Ct. App. 1991). A claim for punitive damages on a tort claim is subject to sub. (1m) (a). A demand for a specific amount in violation of sub. (1m) (a) is a nullity. Apex Electronics Corp. v. Gee, 217 Wis. 2d 378, 577 N.W.2d 23 (1998), 97-0353. The effect of the court striking a defendant's answer is that the defendant failed to deny the plaintiff's allegations and, therefore, is deemed to have admitted them. An insured's answers do not inure to an insurers benefit. Such a proposition is contrary to the direct action statute, s. 632.24. Estate of Otto v. Physicians Insurance Company of Wisconsin, Inc., 2007 WI App 192, 305 Wis. 2d 198, 739 N.W.2d 599, 06-1566. Affirmed. 2008 WI 78, 311 Wis. 2d 84, 751 N.W.2d 805, 06-1566. The plain language of sub. (3) indicates that affirmative defenses, except the ten enumerated defenses in s. 802.06(2) (a), must be raised in a responsive pleading. Lentz, 195 Wis. 2d 457 (Ct. App. 1995), is overruled because it allows a defendant to initially raise by motion an affirmative defense not listed in s. 802.06(2). Maple Grove Country Club Inc. v. Maple Grove Estates Sanitary District, 2019 WI 43, 386 Wis. 2d 425, 926 N.W.2d 184, 16-2296. Data Key Partners, 2014 WI 86, did not create a new, heightened pleading standard in this state. That pleading standard is consistent with the pleading standard in Strid, 111 Wis. 2d 418 (1983). Cattau v. National Insurance Services of Wisconsin, Inc., 2019 WI 46, 386 Wis. 2d 515, 926 N.W.2d 756, 16-0493. A complaint's success does not depend on accurate labeling, but that does not mean a court may treat causes of action and remedies as if they are the same thing. A cause of action is distinguished from a remedy which is the means or method whereby the cause of action is effectuated. This distinction is important, especially at the summary judgment stage, because the court must determine whether the alleged facts comprise one or more causes of action. Tikalsky v. Friedman, 2019 WI 56, 386 Wis. 2d 757, 928 N.W.2d 502, 17-0170. Threshold Issues in State Court Civil Litigation. Hoffer. Wis. Law. Jan. 2019. What Is Wisconsin's Pleading Standard? Nusslock. Wis. Law. Sept. 2019.