Schaefer v. Riegelman

In Schaefer v. Riegelman, 2002 WI 18, 250 Wis. 2d 494, 639 N.W.2d 715 (Wis. 2002), the Wisconsin Supreme Court addressed the significance of a signature on a complaint as follows: The signature requirement is not simply putting ink on paper. Rather, it is a deliberate process by which the lawyer guarantees the validity of a claim. When a lawyer signs a pleading, it is not merely a pro forma act of notarization. Before affixing a signature to pleadings, the lawyer is expected to engage in a moment of reflection, review the facts, consider the law, and satisfy himself or herself that there is a good faith basis on which to commence the action. In this way, the signature requirement provides an essential protection for the people and businesses of the state to remain free from being sued frivolously or improperly--a protection that is at the core of an attorney's professional responsibility. (Schaefer, 639 N.W.2d at 723.)