Current as of: 2013
(1) When presented. Except when a court dismisses an action or special proceeding under s. 802.05 (4), a defendant shall serve an answer within 20 days after the service of the complaint upon the defendant. If a guardian ad litem is appointed for a defendant, the guardian ad litem shall have 20 days after appointment to serve the answer. A party served with a pleading stating a cross claim against the party shall serve an answer thereto within 20 days after the service upon the party. The plaintiff shall serve a reply to a counterclaim in the answer within 20 days after service of the answer. The state or an agency of the state or an officer, employee, or agent of the state shall serve an answer to the complaint or to a cross claim or a reply to a counterclaim within 45 days after service of the pleading in which the claim is asserted. If any pleading is ordered by the court, it shall be served within 20 days after service of the order, unless the order otherwise directs. If a defendant in the action is an insurance company, or if any cause of action raised in the original pleading, cross claim, or counterclaim is founded in tort, the periods of time to serve a reply or answer shall be 45 days. The service of a motion permitted under sub. (2) alters these periods of time as follows, unless a different time is fixed by order of the court: if the court denies the motion or postpones its disposition until the trial on the merits, the responsive pleading shall be served within 10 days after notice of the court's action; or if the court grants a motion for a more definite statement, the responsive pleading shall be served within 10 days after the service of the more definite statement.
(2) How presented.
(a) Every defense, in law or fact, except the defense of improper venue, to a claim for relief in any pleading, whether a claim, counterclaim, cross claim, or 3rd-party claim, shall be asserted in the responsive pleading thereto if one is required, except that the following defenses may at the option of the pleader be made by motion:
1. Lack of capacity to sue or be sued.
2. Lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter.
3. Lack of jurisdiction over the person or property.
4. Insufficiency of summons or process.
5. Untimeliness or insufficiency of service of summons or process.
6. Failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.
7. Failure to join a party under s. 803.03.
8. Res judicata.
9. Statute of limitations.
10. Another action pending between the same parties for the same cause.
(b) A motion making any of the defenses in par. (a) 1. to 10. shall be made before pleading if a further pleading is permitted. Objection to venue shall be made in accordance with s. 801.51. If a pleading sets forth a claim for relief to which the adverse party is not required to serve a responsive pleading, the adverse party may assert at the trial any defense in law or fact to that claim for relief. If on a motion asserting the defense described in par. (a) 6. to dismiss for failure of the pleading to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, or on a motion asserting the defenses described in par. (a) 8. or 9., matters outside of the pleadings are presented to and not excluded by the court, the motion shall be treated as one for summary judgment and disposed of as provided in s. 802.08, and all parties shall be given reasonable opportunity to present all material made pertinent to such a motion by s. 802.08.
(3) Judgment on the pleadings. After issue is joined between all parties but within time so as not to delay the trial, any party may move for judgment on the pleadings. Prior to a hearing on the motion, any party who was prohibited under s. 802.02 (1m) from specifying the amount of money sought in the demand for judgment shall specify that amount to the court and to the other parties. If, on a motion for judgment on the pleadings, matters outside the pleadings are presented to and not excluded by the court, the motion shall be treated as one for summary judgment and disposed of as provided in s. 802.08, and all parties shall be given reasonable opportunity to present all material made pertinent to the motion by s. 802.08.
(4) Preliminary hearings. The defenses specifically listed in sub. (2), whether made in a pleading or by motion, the motion for judgment under sub. (3) and the motion to strike under sub. (6) shall be heard and determined before trial on motion of any party, unless the judge to whom the case has been assigned orders that the hearing and determination thereof be deferred until the trial. The hearing on the defense of lack of jurisdiction over the person or property shall be conducted in accordance with s. 801.08.
(5) Motion for more definite statement. If a pleading to which a responsive pleading is permitted is so vague or ambiguous that a party cannot reasonably be required to frame a responsive pleading, the party may move for a more definite statement before interposing a responsive pleading. The motion shall point out the defects complained of and the details desired. If the motion is granted and the order of the court is not obeyed within 10 days after notice of the order or within such other time as the court may fix, the court may strike the pleading to which the motion was directed or make such order as it deems just.
(6) Motion to strike. Upon motion made by a party before responding to a pleading or, if no responsive pleading is permitted upon motion made by a party within 20 days after the service of the pleading upon the party or upon the court's own initiative at any time, the court may order stricken from any pleading any insufficient defense or any redundant, immaterial, impertinent, scandalous, or indecent matter. If a defendant in the action is an insurance company, if any cause of action raised in the original pleading, cross-claim, or counterclaim is founded in tort, or if the moving party is the state or an officer, agent, employee, or agency of the state, the 20-day time period under this subsection is increased to 45 days.
(7) Consolidation of defenses in motions. A party who makes a motion under this section may join with it any other motions herein provided for and then available to the party. If a party makes a motion under this section but omits therefrom any defense or objection then available to the party which this section permits to be raised by motion, the party shall not thereafter make a motion based on the defense or objection so omitted, except a motion as provided in sub. (8) (b) to (d) on any of the grounds there stated.
(8) Waiver or preservation of certain defenses.
(a) A defense of lack of jurisdiction over the person or the property, insufficiency of process, untimeliness or insufficiency of service of process or another action pending between the same parties for the same cause is waived only if any of the following conditions is met:
1. The defense is omitted from a motion in the circumstances described in sub. (7).
2. The defense is neither made by motion under this section nor included in a responsive pleading.
(b) A defense of failure to join a party indispensable under s. 803.03 or of res judicata may be made in any pleading permitted or ordered under s. 802.01 (1), or by motion before entry of the final pretrial conference order. A defense of statute of limitations, failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, and an objection of failure to state a legal defense to a claim may be made in any pleading permitted or ordered under s. 802.01 (1), or by a motion for judgment on the pleadings, or otherwise by motion within the time limits established in the scheduling order under s. 802.10 (3).
(c) If it appears by motion of the parties or otherwise that the court lacks jurisdiction of the subject matter, the court shall dismiss the action.
(d) A defense of lack of capacity may be raised within the time permitted under s. 803.01.
(9) Telephone hearings. Oral argument permitted on motions under this section may be heard as prescribed in s. 807.13 (1).
Questions & Answers: Civil Procedure
Wisconsin Laws: Civil Procedure
U.S. Code Provisions: Civil Procedure