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June 23rd, 2011

Wisconsin Appeals Court Upholds Dismissal of Medical Monitoring Claim

In yet another recent “Point of Light” court decision, a three-judge panel of Wisconsin’s District III Court of Appeals recently upheld a circuit court’s dismissal of a claim for medical monitoring damages.

According to the State Bar of Wisconsin’s website, the plaintiffs “claimed that Wauleco, Inc. (Wauleco), corporate successor to the Crestline Millwork Company, was responsible for improper chemical discharges of ‘Penta’ between 1946 and 1986 near the Crestline factory site. Penta chemicals, classified as possible carcinogens, are used to treat wood products and are capable of causing cancerous and noncancerous diseases.”

But the appeal panel’s decision in Alsteen v. Wauleco, Inc. held that “a plaintiff does not have a personal injury claim until he or she has suffered ‘actual’ injury or damage” and that “[i]ncreased risk of future harm is not an actual injury under Wisconsin law.”

The court noted that other states have refused to identify future medical monitoring as an injury in a claim for damages, and rejected the plaintiffs’ assertion that Wisconsin courts had abandoned the actual injury requirement.

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