MADISON (WSAU) The author of a controversial state bill to limit attorney fees in consumer fraud cases now says he’s willing to grant exceptions. Assembly Republican Robin Vos of Racine County says he’s drafting an amendment to let judges lift the caps on legal fees in some instances. The bill would limit attorney fees to three times the amount of judgments and settlements – and Vos said it would let businesses know the legal climate they have to deal with.
But Democrats said the bill would effectively eliminate consumer protections in smaller cases. They said attorneys would refuse to take those cases, because the fee limit wouldn’t be enough to cover their expenses.
Vos said he wrote the bill in response to what happened to Burlington car dealer David Lynch, who paid $151,000 in legal fees in a case that accused him of making $5,000 of vehicle repairs without the owner’s consent. During a hearing last week, Lynch said he was an average man who was the victim of a quote, “super attorney.”
But Assembly Democrat Gary Hebl of Sun Prairie said Lynch deserved what he got because he didn’t comply with the consumer laws. And Hebl said Vos drafted the bill because Lynch was one of his campaign donors. Vos said he waited to propose the measure until after Lynch’s case was over, so the dealer would not benefit from it.