Civil Litigation

Recently, the Wisconsin Court of Appeals touched on two important insurance issues: covered autos under Wis. Stat. § 632.32(3) and prejudgment interest under Wis. Stat. § 628.46(1). In January 2016, Jason and Wendy Foerster’s thirteen-year-old son was directed by his uncle to drive a Chevrolet Tahoe to the child’s grandparents’ house to retrieve a piece of equipment. The Tahoe belonged to the child’s aunt and was covered under the aunt’s 1st Auto & Casualty Insurance Company motor vehicle policy. The Foerster child crashed the Tahoe into Savanah Thom’s vehicle, leaving Thom severely injured. Thom sued the three Foersters and the…
By Attorney Chris Strohbehn  In Wisconsin, injury victims have the right to file a personal injury claim seeking compensation from the negligent parties who were responsible for their damages. Unfortunately, not all injury victims survive long enough to initiate the process, let alone benefit from the compensation. However, this does not mean that there is no way of holding the negligent party accountable. The victim’s surviving family members can also pursue compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit. If you have recently lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligence, you should be sure to understand your rights to…
May 4, 2021 – On a deer hunting trip in 2017, Tyler Mueller was using his brother’s AR-15 rifle when it accidentally discharged. A bullet struck Tyler’s foot, which prompted his negligence lawsuit against the gun shop that assembled and sold the rifle. Before the lawsuit was filed, Tyler’s brother (Jordan) took the AR-15 back to the same gun shop that assembled and sold it to him, Bulls Eye Sports Shop LLC (Bulls Eye). Jordan granted permission for a Bulls Eye employee to modify the firearm with knowledge that litigation concerning the hunting accident (and the firearm) was likely. In…
April 30, 2021 – A party with a right of first refusal on agricultural land argued that a competing buyer’s offer was purposely inflated to circumvent the party’s right of first refusal, and asked the circuit court to set a an “exercise price” at fair market value. Recently, in Country Visions Cooperative v. Archer-Daniels-Midland Company, 2021 WI 35 (April 21, 2021), the Wisconsin Supreme Court (7-0) ruled that the circuit court did not err when it set an exercise price that was higher than an expert’s appraised value. “For rights of first refusal, a prospective buyer may choose to offer…
April 30, 2021 – The Wisconsin Supreme Court has unanimously approved Rule Petition 20-07, introducing a comprehensive system of electronic filing for the Wisconsin Court of Appeals and Wisconsin Supreme Court. In the court of appeals, eFiling will become mandatory for attorneys on July 1, 2021. As of that date, all new cases and all new documents in pending cases must be filed through the appellate eFiling system. If you have a pending case, you must opt-in by July 1. The appellate eFiling system is built on the model of circuit court eFiling and will look and feel familiar to…
In a straightforward interpretation and application of the Wisconsin Statutes and procedural standards governing writs of mandamus, on April 9, 2021, the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled 5-2 in State of Wis. Ex rel. Timothy Zignego v. Wisconsin Elections Commission, 2021 WI 32, that the Wisconsin Elections Commission (“WEC”) was not obligated by Wisconsin Statutes Section 6.50(3) to conduct a massive deactivation of the registrations of nearly 230,000 Wisconsin voters, as three Wisconsin voters had alleged. Writing for the majority, Justice Brian Hagedorn characterized the plaintiffs’ interpretation of the relevant statutes as “plainly incorrect,” adding that the rationale they presented to…
Until recently, Wisconsin parents seeking to establish the legal paternity of a child could do so in one of three ways. Two of those methods, a Voluntary Paternity Acknowledgment and an Acknowledgment of Marital Child, require the consent of both parents, which is not easy to obtain when the parents are in disagreement. The third method, petitioning for a court hearing, can help to resolve disagreements between parents, but it may come with a significant investment of time and money on the part of the parties to the case. However, since August 2020, a new method known as Conclusive Determination…
On April 21, the Chicago City Council (“City Council”) passed the Vaccine Anti-Retaliation Ordinance (the “Ordinance”) establishing protections for Chicago workers who take time off of work to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. The Ordinance broadly applies to individuals, including independent contractors, who perform work in the City of Chicago. It is effective immediately and remains in effect until further notice. Overview of the OrdinanceUnder the Ordinance, employers must allow workers to take time off to obtain the COVID-19 vaccine without retaliation against them in their terms and conditions of employment—whether the worker voluntarily chooses to get vaccinated or whether vaccination…
By Attorney Christopher L. Strohbehn and Paralegal Ruth M. Campos Rollover accidents can happen for a number of different reasons, and injuries suffered by vehicle occupants are often severe. Though vehicle safety features are continuing to improve in order to better protect drivers and passengers, the force of multiple impacts is still capable of injuring nearly every part of the body, potentially resulting in high medical bills and a long, difficult recovery process. If you have suffered serious injuries in a rollover car crash, it is important to determine whether you can pursue compensation from a negligent party. Rollover…
You’ve heeded the expert advice and created an estate plan. Your plan includes a revocable trust as its cornerstone. In preparing your plan, you’ve thought long and hard about who to appoint for all the important decision making roles – including who will serve as successor trustee of your revocable trust. Your thoughtfully selected family members or friends are now asking you, “What do I have to do?”. Though every plan is different this Legal Update is intended to give you and your trustee an overview of their role. The Successor Trustee’s Job During Your Lifetime.A successor trustee’s duties typically…
In an April 14, 2021 decision, the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission (the “WERC”) departed from a nearly 30-year-old legal standard governing raffles conducted during general employee bargaining unit elections and adopted the current standard used by the National Labor Relations Board (the “NLRB”). In the Matter of the Petition of: United Lakewood Educators-Kettle Moraine Chapter, WEAC Region 7, Dec. No. 38585-A (WERC, 4/21). Specifically, the WERC adopted the standard created by the NLRB in 2001 via Atlantic Limousine, which bars employers and unions from conducting a raffle during an election if: (1) eligibility to participate in the raffle or win…
Third-party negligence claims are legally complex, because both the employee and the employer have claims against any money damages that are recovered via an insurance settlement or a trial verdict awarded against a third party. Any recovery from a third-party negligence claim must be split between the employee and the employer based on the formula set forth in the Wisconsin third-party liability statute.1 This article provides some background on third-party negligence claims and discusses how third-party awards are divided (with an example). Background: Workers’ Compensation Benefits Under Wisconsin’s workers’ compensation regime, workers are prohibited from suing their employers for…
On March 25, 2021, Senators Sanders, Gillibrand, Reed, Van Hollen, and Whitehouse released a bill to the Senate that, if signed into law, will cause substantial changes to the Internal Revenue Code that pertain, among other things, to estate, gift, and generation-skipping transfer taxes.. A similar bill was read into the House by Representative Gomez. The bill, commonly known as “For the 99.5% Act” (the “Act”), was drafted with an effective date of January 1, 2022, but may be effective earlier if included as part of the Senate’s Budget Reconciliation Process before the end of this year. We understand that…
By Attorney Cameron Weitzner and Paralegal Rachel Sweet The circumstances leading to criminal charges for drug possession can be complicated, and in many cases, they involve a history of substance abuse on the part of the alleged offender. The State of Wisconsin recognizes that treatment, education, and rehabilitation are often more effective responses to drug offenses than a harsh prison sentence. As such, the state allows a one-time conditional discharge and dismissal of charges for certain first-time drug offenders. This treatment option is an alternative to a prison sentence for offenders who are dependent on a controlled substance. Some Wisconsin…
April 16, 2021 – Ruling on a moot issue that will only guide future action, the Wisconsin Supreme Court has confirmed, once again, that a statewide emergency order limiting capacity at restaurants, bars, and other indoor facilities was invalid and unenforceable. Then-Department of Health Services (DHS) Secretary Andrea Palm issued Emergency Order No. 3 in October 2020, expiring 30 days later, to control the spread of COVID-19 in Wisconsin. It limited indoor gatherings to 25 percent of total occupancy limits. The emergency order exempted certain entities, including daycare centers, schools, government and tribal facilities, health care centers, and other gatherings…
By Attorney Max Stephenson and Paralegal Courtney Hess In a Wisconsin divorce, spousal maintenance or alimony is sometimes ordered to provide support for a spouse who is likely to have difficulty providing for themself without their former partner’s income, perhaps due to their health, childcare responsibilities, or lack of education and work experience. When maintenance is ordered, the paying spouse has an important legal responsibility to make the payments on time and in the full amount. However, they should also be aware of other obligations that are likely to be included in the court order. How Is Spousal Support…