Current as of: 2013
(1) Signature. Every pleading, written motion, and other paper shall be signed by at least one attorney of record in the attorney's individual name, or, if the party is not represented by an attorney, shall be signed by the party. Each paper shall state the signer's address and telephone number, and state bar number, if any. Except when otherwise specifically provided by rule or statute, pleadings need not be verified or accompanied by affidavit. An unsigned paper shall be stricken unless omission of the signature is corrected promptly after being called to the attention of the attorney or party.
(2) Representations to court. By presenting to the court, whether by signing, filing, submitting, or later advocating a pleading, written motion, or other paper, an attorney or unrepresented party is certifying that to the best of the person's knowledge, information, and belief, formed after an inquiry reasonable under the circumstances, all of the following:
(a) The paper is not being presented for any improper purpose, such as to harass or to cause unnecessary delay or needless increase in the cost of litigation.
(b) The claims, defenses, and other legal contentions stated in the paper are warranted by existing law or by a nonfrivolous argument for the extension, modification, or reversal of existing law or the establishment of new law.
(c) The allegations and other factual contentions stated in the paper have evidentiary support or, if specifically so identified, are likely to have evidentiary support after a reasonable opportunity for further investigation or discovery.
(d) The denials of factual contentions stated in the paper are warranted on the evidence or, if specifically so identified, are reasonably based on a lack of information or belief.
(3) Sanctions. If, after notice and a reasonable opportunity to respond, the court determines that sub. (2) has been violated, the court may impose an appropriate sanction upon the attorneys, law firms, or parties that have violated sub. (2) or are responsible for the violation in accordance with the following:
(a) How initiated.
1. `By motion.' A motion for sanctions under this rule shall be made separately from other motions or requests and shall describe the specific conduct alleged to violate sub. (2). The motion shall be served as provided in s. 801.14, but shall not be filed with or presented to the court unless, within 21 days after service of the motion or such other period as the court may prescribe, the challenged paper, claim, defense, contention, allegation, or denial is not withdrawn or appropriately corrected. If warranted, the court may award to the party prevailing on the motion reasonable expenses and attorney fees incurred in presenting or opposing the motion. Absent exceptional circumstances, a law firm shall be held jointly responsible for violations committed by its partners, associates, and employees.
2. `On court's initiative.' On its own initiative, the court may enter an order describing the specific conduct that appears to violate sub. (2) and directing an attorney, law firm, or party to show cause why it has not violated sub. (2) with the specific conduct described in the court's order.
(b) Nature of sanction; limitations. A sanction imposed for violation of this rule shall be limited to what is sufficient to deter repetition of such conduct or comparable conduct by others similarly situated. Subject to the limitations in subds. 1. and 2., the sanction may consist of, or include, directives of a nonmonetary nature, an order to pay a penalty into court, or, if imposed on motion and warranted for effective deterrence, an order directing payment to the movant of some or all of the reasonable attorney fees and other expenses incurred as a direct result of the violation subject to all of the following:
1. Monetary sanctions may not be awarded against a represented party for a violation of sub. (2) (b).
2. Monetary sanctions may not be awarded on the court's initiative unless the court issues its order to show cause before a voluntary dismissal or settlement of the claims made by or against the party that is, or whose attorneys are, to be sanctioned.
(c) Order. When imposing sanctions, the court shall describe the conduct determined to constitute a violation of this rule and explain the basis for the sanction imposed.
(4) Prisoner litigation.
(a) A court shall review the initial pleading as soon as practicable after the action or special proceeding is filed with the court if the action or special proceeding is commenced by a prisoner, as defined in s. 801.02 (7) (a) 2.
(b) The court may dismiss the action or special proceeding under par. (a) without requiring the defendant to answer the pleading if the court determines that the action or special proceeding meets any of the following conditions:
1. The action or proceeding is frivolous, as determined by a violation of sub. (2).
2. The action or proceeding is used for any improper purpose, such as to harass, to cause unnecessary delay or to needlessly increase the cost of litigation.
3. The action of proceeding seeks monetary damages from a defendant who is immune from such relief.
4. The action or proceeding fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.
(c) If a court dismisses an action or special proceeding under par. (b) the court shall notify the department of justice or the attorney representing the political subdivision, as appropriate, of the dismissal by a procedure developed by the director of state courts in cooperation with the department of justice.
(d) The dismissal of an action or special proceeding under par. (b) does not relieve the prisoner from paying the full filing fee related to that action or special proceeding.
(5) Inapplicability to discovery. Subsections (1) to (3) do not apply to disclosures and discovery requests, responses, objections, and motions that are subject to ss. 804.01 to 804.12.
Questions & Answers: Civil Procedure
Wisconsin Laws: Civil Procedure
U.S. Code Provisions: Civil Procedure