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Default Judgment: Not Just for Plaintiffs Anymore

Posted on by Menn Law

Effective January 1, 2019, the Wisconsin Supreme Court adopted a petition that allows any party to obtain a default judgment against an opposing party for failing to comply with deadlines for answers and replies to complaints, counterclaims, or cross claims.  See Wisconsin Defense Counsel, WDC Tidbits, Nov. 2, 2018.  The law now states, “A default judgment may be rendered in favor of any party as provided in subs. (1) to (4) if no issue of law or fact has been joined on any claim asserted in a complaint, counterclaim, or cross claim and if the time for joining issue has expired.”  Wis. Stat. § 806.02(1) (emphasis added).

Previously, Wis. Stat. § 806.02(1) provided only plaintiffs with the ability to seek a default judgment against defendants who failed to answer a complaint.  The change now permits any party to seek such a judgment.  This evens the field between litigants that find themselves up against opponents who fail to comply with dispositive deadlines provided in Wis. Stat. § 802.06(1), timely.  Therefore, practitioners on all sides should be aware of this statutory change.

A copy of the petition may be accessed here, on the Wisconsin Courts website.

A copy of the Wisconsin Defense Counsel, Tidbits publication, cited above may be accessed here.


Attorney Abbey is an associate attorney working in the Firm’s litigation practice group working on commercial/business and insurance defense cases.  Before joining the Firm, Attorney Abbey served as a Judicial Law Clerk for the Honorable Michael E. Keasler on the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals—the Texas Supreme Court’s sister court—collaborating with chambers to review appellate decisions and draft constitutional criminal law opinions.  She is also a published author, having published one article in the National Lawyers Guild Review and co-authored another article in the Southern Methodist Law Review.  You can contact Attorney Abbey at (920) 731-6631.

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