Nov. 21, 2023 – De novo review, rather than certiorari review, is the proper form of review for a circuit court hearing a challenge to a municipality’s disallowance of a property tax exemption, the Wisconsin Court of Appeals has ruled.In North Central Conservancy Trust, Inc., v. Town of Harrison, 2022AP185 (Nov. 7, 2023), the Court of Appeals District III held that because de novo review was proper, the circuit court did not err by considering evidence not previously
Continue Reading De Novo Review Proper for Challenge to Disallowed Property Tax Exemption

Nov. 21, 2023 – A corporation is not entitled to voting eligibility forms created as part of guardianship proceedings because the forms are pertinent to guardianship proceedings and are closed under a state statute, the Wisconsin Cout of Appeal has ruled.In Wisconsin Voter Alliance v. Reynolds, 2022AP 1749 (Nov. 9, 2023), the Court of Appeals District IV also held that the circuit court’s labeling of a records request as a “fishing expedition” did not show bias that violated
Continue Reading Court of Appeals: Voting Group Not Entitled to Guardianship Voting Forms

Nov. 14, 2023  – A building owner who failed to challenge a city’s determination that the cost to repair the building was more than half its value and had no right to repair the building, the Wisconsin Court of Appeals has held.In City of New Lisbon v. Muller, 2022AP1683 (Nov. 2, 2023), the Court of Appeals District IV also held that an order authorizing the city to raze the building was final even though it wasn’t labeled as
Continue Reading Court: City Could Raze Dilapidated Building After Owner Failed to Respond

Redistricting takes center stage at the Wisconsin Supreme Court this November as the court’s sole case set for oral argument is an original action addressing the constitutionality of the current state legislative maps. Let’s dive right in.
Cases Decided
No merits decisions were issued in the last month. However, the court did issue a series of published orders pertaining to the redistricting litigation discussed below. On October 6, the court released a Memorandum Decision and Order of Justice Janet
Continue Reading Wisconsin Supreme Court Update: November 2023

Occasionally in the law, the irresistible force meets the unmovable object.

This occurs when two public policies, with close to if not equal merits, conflict. While frustrating because one valid interest has to yield, it can lead to a fascinating examination of the relative merits of each policy. Little, if anything, is more absorbing in legal practice.

Unfortunately, the Wisconsin Court of Appeals, facing such an opportunity, chose to punt, and it wasn’t even fourth down. Put another
Continue Reading Court of Appeals Punts

Nov. 8, 2023 – A credit card company disclosed information about a debtor to a mail vendor, but that action did not give the debtor standing to sue the credit card company in federal court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit has ruled.

In Nabozny v. Optio Solutions LLC, 22-1202 (Oct. 23, 2023), a three-judge panel for the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals held that the debtor-plaintiff suffered no concrete harm because the debtor’s information
Continue Reading Disclosure of Debt Info to Third-Party Vendor Not Enough for Standing

Nov. 8, 2023 – A federal district court considered a defendant’s mitigation argument when it sentenced her to 18 months in prison, including the potential risk of violence against her as a transgender woman, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit has ruled.

In U.S. v. Price, No. 22-2061 (Oct. 25, 2023), the Seventh Circuit held that the district court acknowledged the risk to the defendant during the sentencing hearing and showed that it properly exercised
Continue Reading Court Addressed Mitigation Argument by Acknowledging Risk to Transgender Woman

An assistant district attorney appealed a contempt order, noting a violation of another court order that sequestered two victims of a battery, both criminal defense attorneys, from the defendant’s trial.

Oct. 27, 2023 – An assistant district attorney may not appeal an order finding him in contempt for inviting a victim to a trial despite a trial court’s order sequestering the victims until they testified, the Wisconsin Court of Appeals has ruled.

In Attorney Thomas L. Potter v. Circuit
Continue Reading Attorney May Not Attack Sequestration Order by Appealing Contempt Order

Oct. 27, 2023 – A credit union violated the duty of good faith and fair dealing by adding a retroactive arbitration clause and class action waiver provision into its membership agreement, the Wisconsin Court of Appeals District III has ruled in Pruett v. WESTconsin Credit Union, 2022AP887 (Oct. 24, 2023).

In July 2021, Jeffrey Pruett filed a class action lawsuit against WESTconsin Credit Union (WCU) in Dunn County Circuit Court. Pruett claimed that between 2017 and 2020, WESTconsin
Continue Reading Case of First Impression: Appeals Court Strikes Retroactive Arbitration Clause

Oct. 27, 2023 – The five-day limit established in state law for executing a search warrant does not apply to the time it takes to analyze evidence seized under the warrant, the Wisconsin Court of Appeals District IV has ruled in State v. Drachenberg, 2022AP2060 (Oct. 12, 2023).

On Jan. 29, 2021, the police submitted to Wood County Circuit Court an affidavit requesting a search warrant for the residence of John Drachenberg.

The circuit court issued the warrant
Continue Reading Five-day Limit for Executing Warrant Doesn’t Apply to Evidence Analysis

Sports, being highly sensitive to public opinion, has greatly reduced the number of ties. Football games have overtime. Golf has extra holes. Hockey and soccer (well, some soccer games) have shootouts. Even baseball, the last sport to adjust to modern temperament, mow has a “free” runner at second base in extra innings so the teams can get to a resolution faster. While I suppose some may argue that a tie might be better than losing, it is certainly not
Continue Reading Ties are for Losers

Oct. 16, 2023 – A city zoning ordinance that requires treating building glass is not subject to a state law that preempts municipalities from enacting building provisions stricter than the state building code, the Wisconsin Court of Appeals has ruled.In Associated Builders and Contractors of Wisconsin, Inc. v. City of Madison, 2022AP1468 (Oct. 5, 2023), the Court of Appeals District IV held that whether a zoning ordinance is preempted by the state building code depends on the content
Continue Reading Statewide Building Code Does not Pre-empt City’s ‘Bird-glass’ Ordinance

Oct. 16, 2023 – Statements made by a decedent two years after he created joint bank accounts with one of his daughters are admissible to help determine his intent in creating the accounts, the Wisconsin Court of Appeals District IV has ruled in Henke v. Estate of Clarence E. Klawitter, 2022AP2036 (Oct. 12, 2023).In 2010, Clarence Klawitter’s son Brian died. Brian had been living with his father to help with both the family farm and the older man’s
Continue Reading Post-creation Statements Admissible in Suit Over Joint Bank Accounts

Cases involve whether Amazon delivery drivers qualify as “employees” for purposes of unemployment insurance benefits and the condemnation powers of municipal governments.Oct. 12, 2023 – The Wisconsin Supreme Court has added two cases to its docket. In one case, Amazon v. LIRC, the court will consider whether Amazon Logistics delivery drivers are employees for purposes of unemployment insurance benefits.Amazon uses drivers to deliver packages under a program called Amazon Flex.Amazon requires each driver to download a smartphone app
Continue Reading Supreme Court Accepts Two New Cases, Including Case About Gig Workers

On June 15, 2023, the U.S. Supreme Court critically upheld the constitutionality of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) in a 7-2 decision written by Justice Amy Coney Barrett, in Haaland v. Brackeen.1

Indian community members, advocacy groups, and family law practitioners awaited the decision with bated breath since oral arguments concluded on Nov. 9, 2022.

The Haaland decision validates and protects adoption practices that preserve the heritage of Indian children. This decision further solidifies the relationship between
Continue Reading Implications of Haaland and the Indian Child Welfare Act

Sept. 27, 2023 – A criminal defendant failed to show that a detective and a prosecutor violated a clearly established constitutional right by excluding from the complaint details that implicated the victim’s credibility, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit has ruled in Garcia v. Posewitz,  No. 22-1124 (Aug. 22, 2023).Interview with MotherIn August 2015, Monique Cichocki reported to the Village of Lake Delton Police Department that Jose Garica sexually assaulted her 15-year-old daughter, G.C.
Continue Reading Qualified Immunity Trumps Defendant’s Claims over Complaint Omissions