Wisconsin Allows Some Legal Documents, Demands To Be Served By Email: Report

Wisconsin has enacted a law allowing service of legal discovery notices, motions, judgment offers and other such documents by email, according to a report by the State Bar of Wisconsin. 

The bill allows such notices to be served by email if the recipient consents in writing, 

Summonses related to the start of civil actions must still be served by personal service, publication or mailing, the report notes.  

The report notes that "the new law does not change the personal or substituted service of process requirements for a summons, which establishes the court’s personal jurisdiction."

However, this would not be an issue when all parties had agreed to communicate by email once a case is commenced.

However, the report paraphrases a New York appeals court as saying “courts now routinely permit email to effectuate service.”

This is still open to varying interpretations.

In a collection case in 2017, a federal judge ruled that an email attachment does not enjoy the same presumption of receipt as a letter sent by postal mail.  

Judge Debra McVicker Lynch observed that “not opening an email attachment is not the same as failing to open a letter one receives through the United States Postal Service mail system.”




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