Featured

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on August 3, 2020, in the State of New York v. United States Department of Labor, vacated several key provisions of the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) final rule implementing the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), creating a number of compliance issues for employers. Overview On March 18, 2020, President Trump signed the FFCRA into law. The FFCRA introduced two new types of leave intended to cover employee absences related to the COVID-19 pandemic: Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) and Emergency Family and Medical Leave (EFMLA). Employers…
Probate is the legal process during which a court oversees the collection and transfer of a person’s assets upon his or her death. In general, the probate process includes filing a will, appointing a personal representative, inventorying the decedent’s assets, paying the decedent’s debts, filing taxes, and distributing the balance of the estate according to the decedent’s will. If the decedent did not leave a will, then the decedent’s property is distributed according to Wisconsin’s intestacy laws. Many people seek to avoid probate because probate documents are public record, so avoiding probate means maintaining a sense of privacy. Additionally, the…
On July 30, 2020, Governor Tony Evers issued Emergency Order #1 (the “Order”) requiring every individual in Wisconsin, aged 5 and older, to wear “Face Coverings” except in limited circumstances. This mandate, effective August 1, 2020, and continuing through September 30, 2020, requires Face Coverings be worn in Wisconsin when an individual is both: Indoors or in an Enclosed Space (excluding private residences), and Another person or persons is present (who are not members of individual’s household or living unit) in the same room or Enclosed Space. The Order applies to public and private places of employment. There are a…
Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers on July 30, 2020, issued an Emergency Order (Order) requiring every individual in the state of Wisconsin, age five and older, to wear face coverings when indoors. As discussed below, some exceptions, however, may apply to employees in certain situations. Specifically, individuals covered by the Order must wear a face covering when: They are indoors or in an enclosed space (as defined in the order), other than a private residence; and Another person or persons who are not members of the individual’s household or living unit are present in the same room or enclosed space. Employees…
You are excited to get back to work! However, a few of your employees are not so eager to shed their jammies for pleated pants or steel-toed shoes. Can you force them to return? On the other hand, some employees who are happy to return have asked that you monitor off-duty conduct. You are getting reports from employees about their co-workers, such as, “Jeremy posted a photo last night on Facebook. He was at a BAR with NO MASK. Are you going to do anything about this?” Hopefully, this article will help you navigate a few of these unprecedented scenarios.…
The Supreme Court of the United States on July 8, 2020, ruled in Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrissey-Berru that the U.S. Constitution prohibits two lay teachers employed by religious schools from bringing discrimination claims against their employers. The Supreme Court’s ruling clarifies that the “Ministerial Exception” is not limited to employees of religious institutions with official religious titles. The Ministerial Exception—recognized in Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. EEOC in 2012—bars courts from entertaining discrimination claims brought by certain employees of religious institutions. Specifically, the court found that an employee of an evangelical Lutheran school with the…
After months of delay trying to address COVID-19 issues, the 2020 Major League Baseball (“MLB”) season finally opened Thursday night with the New York Yankees defeating the Washington Nationals, 4-1, and the Los Angeles Dodgers pulling away from the San Francisco Giants for an 8-1 victory.   Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, this season – assuming it is not called off because of COVID-19 outbreaks – will be unlike any prior MLB season. The regular season has been reduced from 162 games to 60 games, the number of playoff teams was expanded from 10 to 16 teams, games are being played…
In late March, the federal government enacted the CARES Act (“Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act”), which imposed a temporary moratorium on evictions for non-payment of rent for certain types of properties. The properties affected are those that participate in a covered housing program (as defined by section 41411(a) of the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 or the rural housing voucher program under section 542 of the Housing Act of 1949) or have a federally backed mortgage loan or a federally backed multifamily mortgage loan.  This moratorium expires on July 25, 2020.  Please note, however, the end of…
Beginning on Friday, July, 24, 2020 at 11:59 p.m., face coverings must be worn in Minnesota by all persons at indoor businesses, indoor public settings, and by workers outside when social distancing practices cannot be followed. Businesses are required to update their COVID-19 Preparedness Plans to include this requirement, inform their workers of this update, and make the revised plan available. Additionally, businesses must post one or more signs that will be visible to all workers, customers, and visitors instructing them to wear a face covering. Specific industry guidance is available at the Stay Safe Minnesota website. Businesses must provide…
We have all heard reports that say residential rental evictions surged due to the Wisconsin eviction moratorium expiration in May.  When you look at a small time period (like the number of evictions that were filed after a 2+ month moratorium) you can always find numbers that will support your narrative. However, the real numbers show a 30% decline for the first six months of 2020 versus 2019. How can this be true, you ask? Listen to this podcast as WRA chief lobbyist Tom Larson and residential rental expert Tim Ballering from the Apartment Association of Southeastern Wisconsin (AASEW) break
State v. Antonio L. Simmons, 2018AP591-CR, District 1, 7/21/20 (not recommended for publication); case activity (including briefs) Twenty years ago Simmons was convicted of three counts of recklessly endangering safety for shooting into a car carrying three people, one of whom Simmons had been fighting with in a bar shortly before the shooting. The court of appeals affirms the circuit court’s denial of Simmons’s request under § 974.07 for DNA testing of physical evidence found in the car he was supposedly in at the time of the shooting. A number of eyewitnesses identified Simmons as the shooter, though one…
In a case that may bear on the potential use of videoconferencing at criminal trials as the COVID-19 pandemic grinds on, the Tennessee Court of Appeals, in State v. Dennis Lee Seale, invalidated a trial court’s order allowing the prosecution’s out-of-state witnesses to testify using teleconferencing technology. The trial court decided the defendant would “receive exactly what he deserves under his right of confrontation, not only to observe and watch the witnesses who are testifying against him, but also have the right to cross-examine those witnesses …. exactly the same rights as if . . . the witnesses were…
July 20, 2020 – The Wisconsin Supreme Court has ruled in favor of healthcare providers who challenged a Wisconsin Department of Health Services’ (DHS) Medicaid recoupment policy, restricting DHS’s ability to recoup payments for imperfect records. Medicaid provides free or low-cost healthcare for vulnerable populations, including the elderly, people with disabilities, and pregnant women. The federal government provides financial assistance to Wisconsin’s Medicaid program. DHS must reimburse providers “for medically necessary and appropriate health care services … when provided to currently eligible medical assistance recipients.” Under federal law, DHS must audit provider records, if necessary, to ensure proper payments. DHS…
As we reflect on the close of World Elder Abuse Awareness Month, we wanted to share some information on this important issue. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines elder abuse as an intentional act, or failure to act, by a caregiver or another person in a relationship involving an expectation of trust that causes or creates a risk of harm to an older adult. This may be in the form of neglect, physical, sexual, emotional, psychological, or financial abuse. Unfortunately, elder abuse has been on the rise during the COVID-19 pandemic. As Ruder Ware elder law…
(Part II) Objectives of the Succession Plan In our last article we discussed why a well-constructed succession plan is necessary. In this article, we review the essential objectives the plan needs to address. The objectives of succession planning and the methods used to accomplish these objectives are varied, but include the following: MAXIMIZE THE VALUE OF THE BUSINESS. During the owner’s tenure at the company, the owner must develop a strong management team involving those family members who are active in the business as well as key employees. This will maximize value and help ensure that upon his or her…
On June 16, 2020, the Supreme Court of Wisconsin issued their opinion in Miller v. Carroll, 2020 WI 56, which affirmed the published decision of the Court of Appeals. Four justices joined the majority opinion, authored by Justice Dallett, except for one footnote. Three of the justices in majority filed concurring decisions, including Justice Dallett who concurred with her own opinion (huh?). Justice Hagedorn filed a dissenting opinion, most of which was joined by two other justices. Facebook Friend Request The facts involved a circuit court judge who accepted a Facebook friend request from the mother in a custody/placement…