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102.23 Judicial review.
1. The findings of fact made by the commission acting within its powers shall, in the absence of fraud, be conclusive. The order or award granting or denying compensation, either interlocutory or final, whether judgment has been rendered on the order or award or not, is subject to review only as provided in this section and not under ch. 227 or s. 801.02. The commission shall identify in the order or award the persons that must be made parties to an action for review of the order or award.
2. Within 30 days after the date of an order or award made by the commission, any party aggrieved by the order or award may commence an action in circuit court for review of the order or award by serving a complaint as provided in par. (b) and filing the summons and complaint with the clerk of the circuit court. The summons and complaint shall name the party commencing the action as the plaintiff and shall name as defendants the commission and all persons identified by the commission under subd. 1. If the circuit court determines that any other person is necessary for the proper resolution of the action, the circuit court may join that person as a party to the action, unless joinder of the person would unduly delay the resolution of the action. If the circuit court is satisfied that a party in interest has been prejudiced because of an exceptional delay in the receipt of a copy of any finding or order, the circuit court may extend the time within which an action may be commenced by an additional 30 days.
3. The proceedings shall be in the circuit court of the county where the plaintiff resides, except that if the plaintiff is a state agency, the proceedings shall be in the circuit court of the county where the defendant resides. The proceedings may be brought in any circuit court if all parties stipulate and that court agrees.
(b) In such an action a complaint shall be served with an authenticated copy of the summons. The complaint need not be verified, but shall state the grounds upon which a review is sought. Service upon a commissioner or agent authorized by the commission to accept service constitutes complete service on all parties, but there shall be left with the person so served as many copies of the summons and complaint as there are defendants, and the commission shall mail one copy to each other defendant.
(c) The commission shall serve its answer to the complaint within 20 days after the service of the complaint. Except as provided in par. (cm), any other defendant may serve an answer to the complaint within 20 days after the service of the complaint, which answer may, by way of counterclaim or cross complaint, ask for the review of the order or award referred to in the complaint, with the same effect as if the defendant had commenced a separate action for the review of the order or award.
(cm) If a defendant in an action brought under par. (a) is an insurance company, the insurance company may serve an answer to the complaint within 45 days after the service of the complaint.
(d) The commission shall make return to the court of all documents and papers on file in the matter, all testimony that has been taken, and the commission's order, findings, and award. Such return of the commission when filed in the office of the clerk of the circuit court shall, with the papers specified in s. 809.15, constitute a judgment roll in the action; and it shall not be necessary to have a transcript approved. The action may thereupon be brought on for hearing before the court upon the record by any party on 10 days' notice to the other; subject, however, to the provisions of law for a change of the place of trial or the calling in of another judge.
(e) Upon such hearing, the court may confirm or set aside such order or award; and any judgment which may theretofore have been rendered thereon; but the same shall be set aside only upon the following grounds:
1. That the commission acted without or in excess of its powers.
2. That the order or award was procured by fraud.
3. That the findings of fact by the commission do not support the order or award.
(2) Upon the trial of an action for review of an order or award the court shall disregard any irregularity or error of the commission, the department, or the division unless it is made to affirmatively appear that the plaintiff was damaged by that irregularity or error.
(3) The record in any case shall be transmitted to the department or the division within 5 days after expiration of the time for appeal from the order or judgment of the court, unless an appeal is taken from that order or judgment.
(4) Whenever an award is made against the state the attorney general may bring an action for review thereof in the same manner and upon the same grounds as are provided by sub. (1).
(5) When an action for review involves only the question of liability as between the employer and one or more insurance companies or as between several insurance companies, a party that has been ordered by the department, the division, the commission, or a court to pay compensation is not relieved from paying compensation as ordered.
(6) If the commission's order or award depends on any fact found by the commission, the court shall not substitute its judgment for that of the commission as to the weight or credibility of the evidence on any finding of fact. The court may, however, set aside the commission's order or award and remand the case to the commission if the commission's order or award depends on any material and controverted finding of fact that is not supported by credible and substantial evidence.
History: 1973 c. 150; 1975 c. 199; Sup. Ct. Order, 73 Wis. 2d xxxi (1976); 1977 c. 29; 1977 c. 187 ss. 59, 135; 1977 c. 195, 272, 447; Sup. Ct. Order, 83 Wis. 2d xiii (1978); 1979 c. 278; 1981 c. 390 s. 252; 1983 a. 98, 122, 538; 1985 a. 83; 1997 a. 187; 2001 a. 37; 2005 a. 172, 442; 2015 a. 55, 180.