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  • InsideTrack
  • February 15, 2023

    Making Sense of Complex Litigation

    Much has changed in the past two decades in Wisconsin courts involving business litigation, yet there's no "manual for complex litigation" specific to Wisconsin. Here are resources for attorneys who need to to learn more about the challenges in complex litigation in Wisconsin state courts.
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    Feb. 15, 2023 – The Federal Judicial Center has an 819-page Manual for Complex Litigation covering a wide range of issues that come up in complex litigation.

    The Fourth Edition (2004) recognizes the “significant change in the landscape of federal litigation and the increasing responsibilities of federal trial judges.”

    “[A]lthough federal trial judges are the Manual’s primary audience, the techniques and procedures discussed may be useful in state courts as well, particularly in view of the convergence that is occurring in related litigation pending in both state and federal court systems,” the manual notes.

    While concepts discussed in the manual may be relevant today – such as litigation management techniques – much has changed in the almost 20 years since its publication. In addition, many of the procedures highlighted may not apply under the rules of a specific state, such as Wisconsin.

    The manual notes that “complex litigation should not be viewed as monolithic.”

    That is, “[i]n some areas of law, such as antitrust and securities litigation, substantive and procedural rules are relatively well settled, as are management techniques. In others, such as environmental, civil rights, and mass tort litigation, rules are still emerging or undergoing change. While all complex litigation challenges courts, the unsettled areas present the greatest challenges,” the manual notes.

    So what are the challenges in complex litigation in Wisconsin state courts today?

    One challenge might be knowing where complex litigation cases should be filed. For instance, large claim business and commercial cases must go to the commercial court docket in the counties with a commercial court docket.

    How does that work? Commercial court judges will be discussing it soon at a full-day in-person seminar at the Pfister Hotel in Milwaukee, Handling Complex Business Cases (2023), with webcast seminars following.

    This single-day program features two tracks of sessions specially designed to bring you up to speed on everything you need to know about practicing before Wisconsin’s business courts.

    Experienced counsel and judges will provide insights on best business court practices and explore a wide range of commercial law topics, including:

    • shareholder disputes;

    • the economic loss doctrine;

    • intellectual property;

    • arbitration clauses;

    • non-compete, no-solicitation, and confidentiality clauses; and

    • receivership and insolvency.

    While there’s no “manual for complex litigation” specific to Wisconsin – aside from State Bar of Wisconsin PINNACLE™ books like Business Litigation & Dispute Resolution in Wisconsin and Civil Procedure Before Trial, and Wisconsin Discovery Law and Practice, to name a few – lawyers can make more sense of the complexities of complex litigation through Handling Complex Business Cases (2023).

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