Civil Litigation

Nationwide, restaurants and bars felt financial strain over the past two years. With measures in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19, many food and beverage businesses were subject to restrictions on the use of their in-person dining rooms. In a recent case, the Wisconsin Supreme Court found that COVID-19 related business interruption losses were not recoverable under the insured’s property insurance policies. The Court found that COVID-19 restrictions were not direct physical losses, triggering a claim under a
Continue Reading Wisconsin Joins the Majority: Profit Losses Due to COVID-19 Not Insured

July 1, 2022 – A member of the Wisconsin Board of Natural Resources (DNR Board) is entitled to remain on the board although his term ended on May 1, 2021, the Wisconsin Supreme Court has ruled in a 4-3 decision.In State ex rel Kaul v. Prehn, 2022 WI 50 (June 29, 2022), the court held that the expiration of DNR Board member Frederick Prehn’s term did not create a vacancy in his position. Consequently, he remained a lawful
Continue Reading Walker Appointee Entitled to Hold Over on DNR Board, Wisconsin Supreme Court Rules

July 1, 2022 – The Wisconsin Supreme Court has ruled that a sexual abuse verdict was supported by reasonable jury inferences, even though the state failed to ask victims specifically whether the statutorily-defined sexual contact occurred during the time periods charged in the complaint.In State v. Coughlin, 2022 WI 43 (June 21, 2022), the supreme court held (5-1) the state’s failure did not negate the heavy burden that the defendant had to overcome the deference traditionally accorded a jury
Continue Reading Sex Abuse Verdict Supported by Reasonable Jury Inferences

July 1, 2022 – The admission of testimony by a victim about her lack of sexual activity in the period preceding an alleged sexual assault did not warrant reversing a defendant’s sexual assault conviction, the Wisconsin Supreme Court has ruled.In State. v. Mulhern, 2022 WI 42 (June 21, 2022), a supreme court majority held that the term “sexual conduct” as used in the rape shield law includes a lack of sexual conduct.Evidence of such lack of conduct barred
Continue Reading Rape Shield Law Applies To Testimony About Lack of Sexual Activity

July 1, 2022 – A search warrant affidavit stated sufficient facts to find probable cause although it listed the driveway of the driver’s home address as the location of the drunk driving offense, the Wisconsin Supreme Court has ruled.In

State v. Green, 2022 WI 41 (June 15, 2022), the supreme court held (6-1) that the facts listed in the affidavit allowed an inference that the drunk driving offense occurred somewhere other than on the driveway of the driver’s
Continue Reading OWI Search Warrant Affidavit Sufficient After Stop on Driveway

Over the last several years, the Wisconsin Legislature, in the wake of the 2018 Joint Legislative Council Study Committee on Child Placement and Support, several new legislative initiatives were introduced.  The COVID-19 pandemic delayed the passage of many of these bills, but several passed in the 2020-2021 Legislative Session.  Many of these statutes are procedures, codifying and streamlining practice for attorneys, litigants and the Courts, but many are also substantive law changes.  This is Part I of a three-part
Continue Reading Statutory Updates in Family Law, Part I

School Boards and Administrators received an important reminder on June 15, 2022 from the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit regarding limitations on banning student t-shirts containing images of weapons and other potentially offensive pictures or slogans. Schools cannot broadly ban all clothing containing a particular image or slogan under a theory that all such images or slogans are inappropriate or violate Board policy. Instead, schools must approach offensive t-shirts and other student clothing on a
Continue Reading No One-Size-Fits-All Approaches: Public Schools Must Ban T-Shirts with Caution

June 30, 2022 – The Wisconsin Supreme Court has issued an
order, effective June 29, 2022 extending the five-year-old Commercial Docket Pilot Project.The order amends the Interim Commercial Court Rule to extend the end date of the project to July 30, 2024.Additionally, the order amends the rule to 1) make the selection of specified number of judges in pilot project counties by the Chief Justice of the supreme court permissive instead of mandatory; and 2) specify that the
Continue Reading Wisconsin Supreme Court Extends Business Court Pilot Project on 4-3 Vote

June 29, 2022 – The Wisconsin Supreme Court has ruled that the state’s penalty scheme for operating while intoxicated (OWI) convictions is unconstitutional because it allows a penalty enhancement for a refusal to consent to a warrantless blood draw.In State. Forrett, 2022 WI 37 (June 3, 2022), the supreme court held (4-3) that the penalty scheme ran afoul of U.S. Supreme Court precedent that prohibits imposing a criminal penalty for the blood draw refusal, because such a refusal
Continue Reading Wisconsin Supreme Court Rules OWI Penalty Scheme Unconstitutional

June 29, 2022 – The proper remedy for a circuit court’s failure to specify the grounds for extending a mental health commitment that has since expired is reversal, the Wisconsin Supreme Court has ruled.In Sheboygan County v. M.W., 2022 WI 40 (June 10, 2022), the supreme court held (4-3) that reversal, rather than remand, was the property remedy because the circuit court lacked competency to conduct any further proceedings since the order extending the commitment had expired.Series of RecommitmentsM.W.
Continue Reading Reversal is Remedy Where Court Failed to Specify Grounds for Recommitment

By: Law Clerk Quron Payne
Driving a vehicle after drinking alcohol is known to be dangerous, and drivers who have a certain level of alcohol in their system may be arrested for the offense of operating while intoxicated (OWI). However, some drivers may be uncertain about how the laws in Wisconsin address driving after using recreational drugs or other controlled substances. Are there certain levels of drugs that cause a person to be considered intoxicated? What about legal
Continue Reading Is Drugged Driving the Same as Drunk Driving in Wisconsin?

June 28, 2022 – A lawsuit filed to block the release of a list of all Wisconsin businesses with over 25 employees that had at least two employees test positive for COVID-19 is barred by the state public records law, the Wisconsin Supreme Court has ruled.In Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce v. Evers, 2022 WI 38 (June 7, 2022), the supreme court held 4-3 that a provision that generally prohibits the pre-release judicial review of decisions to release records
Continue Reading Lawsuit to Stop Release of COVID-19 Testing Data Barred by Public Records Law

By: Law Clerk Quron Payne
The summer months are a time when many people enjoy themselves outdoors and participate in a variety of activities. People in Wisconsin have many opportunities for fun activities, including hiking, rock climbing, boating, and swimming in lakes, rivers, and public or private pools. While most people take care to protect the safety of themselves and others while participating in activities, accidents and injuries can still occur. Victims who are injured in these situations will
Continue Reading Can I Pursue Compensation for Injuries in Recreational Activities?

June 23, 2022 – An insurance policy that covered physical damage to property and losses caused by a suspension of operations did not cover losses caused when a coffee shop closed because of the pandemic, the Wisconsin Supreme Court has ruled.In Colectivo Coffee Roasters, Inc. v. Society Insurance, 2022 WI 36 (June 1, 2022), the supreme court unanimously held that neither the physical presence of COVID-19 virus particles nor the a state order closing the coffee shop amounted
Continue Reading Loss From COVID-19 Closure Not Covered by Property Insurance Policy

By: Attorney Megan Drury
Parents may need to address issues related to child custody in a variety of situations, although this is most often a factor in divorce cases. Most of the time, parents will be able to share custody of children. Joint legal custody will allow both parents to be involved in decisions about how their children should be raised. Shared physical custody (known as physical placement in Wisconsin) will ensure that children will be able to spend
Continue Reading When Are Child Custody Restrictions Appropriate in Family Law Cases?

By: Attorney Megan Drury
Many people consider marriage to be a partnership. When a couple gets married, they will often combine their finances, and the income they earn and the property they purchase will be considered to be jointly owned by both spouses. Even if a couple wishes to keep their finances separate, they will need to be aware that any property they acquire during their marriage will generally be considered marital property. This property will need to be
Continue Reading How Will a Prenuptial Agreement Affect a Couple’s Property and Finances?