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Before April 24, 2024, Roger G. Merry was a licensed lawyer in the State of Wisconsin despite numerous disciplinary actions. On that date, the Supreme Court finally decided enough is enough and revoked his license, overriding the recommendation of the referee who (amazingly) recommended a one year suspension. Disciplinary Proceedings Against Roger G. Merry, 2024 WI 16. In a concurring opinion, authored by Chief Justice Annette Ziegler, five justices (a majority of the court) agreed with the decision
Continue Reading Life Means Life, or Not

On Tuesday, April 23, 2024, the Federal Trade Commission (the “FTC”) issued its long-awaited Non-Compete Clause Rule (the “final rule”). The final rule prohibits non-compete clauses as an unfair method of restraining competition under the Federal Trade Commission Act (“FTC Act”). The broad scope of the final rule extends to all workers, whether paid or unpaid, including, employees, independent contractors, interns, externs, volunteers, and apprentices.

The final rule follows the FTC’s proposed rule from January 2023 and ongoing conversations
Continue Reading FTC Issues Final Rule Banning Non-Competes

The administrative agencies are having a busy week! In addition to the DOL issuing an updated rule on the salary basis to be overtime exempt, on Tuesday, April 23, 2024, the Federal Trade Commission voted 3-2 on its long-awaited non-compete ban, which was initially issued as a proposed rule in January 2023. The FTC estimates that this rule will affect 2,301,874 employees in Wisconsin and increase wages of each of those employees by $524 annually.

Under the FTC’s
Continue Reading Employment LawScene Alert: FTC Bans Employee Non-Competes, but Legal Challenges Expected

Hi, everyone. It’s been a minute. It may be another minute, or several, before I write again, or it could be tomorrow. (Remember when I launched this blog in 2019 and I thought I would be writing weekly or more and then a few months later everything went sideways? Good times.)
I write to revisit a topic I wrote about a couple of years ago—the fact that Wisconsin does not have true, lifetime “disbarment.” My position hasn’t changed since
Continue Reading When “Revocation” isn’t Revocation

Federal Trade Commission bans most non-compete agreements in employment contracts
On April 23, 2024, the Federal Trade Commission approved a Final Rule that bans almost any agreement that restricts where a worker may work after he or she leaves his or her current employer. Such an agreement is a non-competition agreement. The Final Rule is effective 120 days after publication in the Federal Register absent a successful legal challenge. We anticipate legal challenges to be filed very soon.
Continue Reading FTC Voted to Ban Almost All Non-Competition Agreements

Law Clerk Klara A. Henry assisted in the drafting of this blog post.

On April 10, 2024, the EPA issued a highly anticipated final rule establishing legally enforceable limits for five types of PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, often called “forever chemicals”). The rule sets individual limits for these five forms of PFAS, as well as limits on two or more of the substances mixed together. The larger class of PFAS substances consists of almost 15,000 synthetic chemicals, many
Continue Reading EPA Finalizes First-Ever National Drinking Water Standard for PFAS

Yes, you read correctly; I’m not a fan of jury trials.

Case in point: The death of O.J. Simpson serves as a reminder of the failure of the jury system. Does anyone really believe that Simpson was not the murderer? If not, why would someone stab two strangers to death for no reason whatsoever?

Two reasons demonstrate that such a belief would be stupid. First, unlike a shooting, stabbings are almost always an act of passion. If a thief
Continue Reading The Case Against Jury Trials

Governor Proclaims June 17, 2024 Wisconsin Women Lawyers Day
To commemorate the 150th anniversary of Lavinia Goodell becoming Wisconsin’s first woman lawyer, Governor Tony Evers has proclaimed June 17, 2024, Wisconsin Women Lawyers Day.

The proclamation praises Lavinia Goodell for pioneering a path for women in the legal profession across the state and for facing the many obstacles thrown in her path with unwavering resilience. It recognizes the lasting impact of women lawyers on the fabric of the
Continue Reading Governor Proclaims June 17, 2024, Wisconsin Women Lawyers Day

Earlier this week, the U.S. Supreme Court resolved a split in the circuits as to whether an employee is required to show a “significant” injury or harm in connection with a job transfer to meet the threshold for proving an adverse employment action under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  The Court rejected the “significant” injury standard, and adopted a new standard that only requires an employee who is involuntarily transferred from one position to another
Continue Reading SCOTUS Eases the Standard for Proving a Discriminatory Job Transfer under Title VII

What is a Trademark?

A trademark can be any mark representing words, phrases, symbols, designs, or a combination of these that identifies your goods or services. In practice, the most common trademarks are business names and logos. Trademarks accomplish several objectives. They (1) identify the source of your goods or services; (2) provide additional legal protection for your brand; and (3) help to guard against counterfeiting and fraud. Creative and unique trademarks are the most effective in accomplishing these
Continue Reading A Beginner’s Guide to Trademarks: Part One — Trademark Basics

In Muldrow v. City of St. Louis, Missouri (Docket No. 22-193), the U.S. Supreme Court was asked to decide whether a unilateral job transfer could be challenged as discrimination under Title VII, where the position had the same pay and title but changed the employee’s schedule, overtime opportunities, and other conditions of employment. In a unanimous decision, the Court held that an employee challenging a job transfer under Title VII must show that the transfer brought about some harm
Continue Reading U.S. Supreme Court Holds That A Unilateral Job Transfer Maintaining the Same Pay and Benefits Could Be Discrimination Under Title VII

The renewal deadline for municipal liquor licenses is coming up soon and because of the coming changes to Wis. Stat. Ch. 125 (2 weeks away!) we’ve gotten a lot of questions about what wineries are supposed to do this year with their license renewals – renew, or not renew?

Our suggestion is not to renew. Once the changes to Wis. Stat. Ch. 125 go into effect on May 1st, wineries will have to (eventually) relinquish their municipal licenses, so
Continue Reading Wineries to Relinquish Their Class B Licenses

Robert Bolger v. Massachusetts Bay Insurance Company, 2022AP742

In Bolger, Massachusetts Bay Insurance Company (MBIC) issued a homeowner’s insurance policy to Bret and Amy Achtenhagen that covered their primary home and further provided personal liability and medical payments to others coverage. The policy contained an exclusion for bodily injury “arising out of the ownership, maintenance, use, loading or unloading of …motorized land conveyances …owned or operated by …an ‘insured,’” subject to an exception for “[a] vehicle or conveyance not
Continue Reading Policy Exceptions – A Tale of Two Interpretations

Intellectual property (IP) is commonly thought to confront technical matters that require a certain amount of scientific or engineering background in order to wrap one’s head around them. In actuality, IP is a diverse ecosystem of intangible property rights that offer extreme value.

Virtually all businesses have some type of IP at play, but they may fail to recognize it if they have a misunderstanding of what IP exactly is. Furthermore, they may fail to take the steps necessary
Continue Reading The Business Practitioner’s Quick Guide to Intellectual Property

The idea of a family drug treatment court is that it takes teamwork, collaboration, and commitment to successfully rehabilitate participants with substance use disorders via a community-based alternative to incarceration.

Milwaukee County’s Family Drug Treatment Court (FDTC), begun in May 2011, and was a first for Wisconsin. The program diverts participants from the traditional justice system into a specialty court and creates an individualized plan that takes into account the participant’s mental and physical health as well as any
Continue Reading An Overview of Milwaukee County’s Family Drug Treatment Court

Ever heard of imposter syndrome? In this episode of the Bottom Up podcast, produced by the State Bar of Wisconsin, co-host Emil Ovbiagele and guest host Joe Forward interview Samantha Huddleston Baker, a partner at OVB Law and Consulting S.C. in Milwaukee. They discuss impostor syndrome and carving out paths in the early years of a legal career.

Samantha shares her background and journey to law school, as well as her experience joining the law firm and overcoming impostor
Continue Reading Bottom Up Episode 17: Overcoming Imposter Syndrome with Samantha Huddleston Baker