Hartland-Richmond Town Ins. Co. v. Wudtke

In Hartland-Richmond Town Ins. Co. v. Wudtke, 145 Wis. 2d 682, 429 N.W.2d 496 (Ct. App. 1988), the appellant contended that WIS. STAT. 893.89 violated WIS. CONST. art. I, 9 because it barred recovery for injuries or damages caused by a defect that was unknown and unknowable within the statutory period for filing such actions, and thus denied the plaintiff a remedy for a legislatively recognized wrong. The Court held that 893.89 did not violate art. I, 9 because that provision only protects legally recognized rights, and plaintiffs were granted no such right to sue under 893.89 after the statutory period from the date of substantial completion elapsed. 145 Wis. 2d at 691-694, 429 N.W.2d at 499-500. In so holding, this court noted that holding 893.89 unconstitutional, "would have a significant effect on the latitude of the legislature to draft statutes of limitations. To be constitutional, no limitations period could begin to run until the injury or damage involved had been or should have been discovered. Given the limited reading of this provision historically, we believe that the adoption of a broader interpretation of art. I, sec. 9 should be made, if it is to be made at all, by this state's highest court." (Id. at 691, 429 N.W.2d at 499.)