On April 18, 2023, on the eve of trial, Dominion Voting Systems and Fox News Network agreed to settle Dominion’s Delaware defamation lawsuit against Fox News[1] based on statements made on Fox News that Dominion rigged the 2020 U.S. presidential election.[2] It was soon reported that Fox News had agreed to pay Dominion $787.5 million to settle the case.[3]

Everyone has heard the adage, “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt
Continue Reading Defamation:  Lessons from Dominion v. Fox News

According to a 2018 survey, over 75 percent of mediators “always” or “usually” require parties to submit mediation statements, usually about a week before the show.1​

But many mediators, myself included, rarely provide much guidance to lawyers on what to include (or not include) in their statements. This article makes amends for my failings in this area.

Here are a few steps to setting the stage for an efficient and effective mediation:
Audience and Tone
Before discussing content, it’s
Continue Reading Pre-Mediation Submissions: Some Practical Suggestions

On April 6, 2023, Governor Tony Evers signed 2023 Wisconsin Act 4 (“Act 4” or the “Act”) into law, which will have widespread impacts on the classification of jailers employed by Wisconsin counties under the Wisconsin Retirement System (“WRS”) as of January 1, 2024 (the Act’s effective date). Act 4 will impact all counties, including those that presently classify jailers as “general employees” for WRS purposes. Although there are still some unknowns arising out of Act 4, below are
Continue Reading 2023 Wisconsin Act 4

State v. B.L., 2023AP8, 4/11/23, District 1 (1-judge opinion, ineligible for publication); case activity

“Barry” appealed an order terminating his parental rights to his 4 1/2-year-old daughter, Alice. He argued that the circuit court erred in admitting his criminal history during the grounds phase and erred in finding that it was in Alice’s best interest to terminate his rights. He lost on both issues.

Less than a year after Alice’s birth, Child Protective Services took custody of her
Continue Reading Dad’s Criminal Record Appropriately Admitted into Evidence During Grounds Phase of TPR

Are you a public defender or prosecutor? A judge? A Wisconsin resident? Thinking about criminal law as a career? The State Bar of Wisconsin’s Advocacy Team is advocating for you. In Episode 8 of Bottom Up, a WisLawNOW podcast produced by the State Bar of Wisconsin, guest host Joe Forward speaks with three members of the State Bar’s Advocacy Team – Cale Battles, Lynne Davis, and Devin Martin – about the advocacy work they are doing to increase funding
Continue Reading Episode 8: Advocating for the Criminal Justice System

“Your time could not have been improved to better advantage than by reading law.”
Lavinia Goodell, September 1875

In late summer 1875, a little over a year after she was admitted to practice law in Wisconsin, Lavinia Goodell penned an article that appeared in the September 4, 1975 Woman’s Journal titled “Shall Women Study Law?” Her conclusion was a resounding “yes.”

Lavinia’s article answered six questions about the feasibility of women studying law. The first was “Had I better
Continue Reading “Your time could not have been improved to better advantage than by reading law.”

Sexual assault is one of the most serious criminal offenses a person can be charged with in Wisconsin, and law enforcement officials and prosecutors take these cases very seriously. A conviction for this type of sex crime can lead to severe consequences that can impact your life in countless ways. If you have been charged with sexual assault or a related offense, it is important to understand the potential penalties you may face if you are convicted. In these
Continue Reading What Are the Penalties for a Sexual Assault Conviction in Wisconsin?

Twenty-one soon-to-be Wisconsin lawyers take the Attorney’s Oath in a ceremony April 18, 2023, in the Wisconsin Supreme Court Hearing Room. For more photos of the event, see the album on the State Bar of Wisconsin Facebook page​. April 20, 2023 – A lawyer returning to law after 30 years. A law school graduate who is realizing a childhood and family dream. A former mason seeking to build bridges for immigrants in the U.S. A Packers fan expanding
Continue Reading Welcome to 21 New Wisconsin Lawyers, Admission by Bar Exam

April 20, 2023 – A prosecutor who repeatedly used the term “uncontroverted” to refer to evidence in a case in which the defendant neither testified nor presented any witnesses did not violate the defendant’s Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, the Wisconsin Supreme Court has ruled.

In State v. Hoyle, 2023 WI 24 (March 31, 2023), the supreme court held (5-2) that the prosecutor used term “uncontroverted” to remind jurors that they could consider only the evidence presented during
Continue Reading Calling Evidence ‘Uncontroverted’ Where Defendant Didn’t Testify Doesn’t Violate Fifth Amendment

A person contacted me about his unemployment debt of around $15,000 (generally a low amount for the cases I am seeing). There was nothing that could be done about that debt other than to repay it. But, there were some issues in his case that everyone should be aware of.
The first thing to know are what the Department will do to collect an unemployment debt.

Department collection tools
The Department will apply the following mechanisms to collect any
Continue Reading The Legal and Illegal Unemployment Collections in Wisconsin

On April 5, 1974, Governor Patrick Lucey signed the Wisconsin Fair Dealership Law into law, hailing it as the Magna Carta for small businesses. In his words, the WFDL was enacted to “protect the thousands of small businessmen in Wisconsin” who operate “filling stations, building materials and supply houses, lumber yards, sports equipment stores” and a variety of other businesses. The statutory text expressly identifies the promotion of fair business relations and protection from oppressive conduct among its principal
Continue Reading The Wisconsin Fair Dealership Law Enters Its 50th Year: An Introduction

Today’s post revisits something discussed several years ago on this blog: fair use. If you are looking for background or further reading, check out Erin’s posts here, here, and here, as well as Collin’s post here. As a quick TL;DR to those previous posts, fair use is a defense to copyright infringement claims for a use of a copyrighted work that would otherwise be considered infringement. Courts use a four-factor test to determine whether fair
Continue Reading Poking Fun or Making a Point?


April 18, 2023 – Wisconsin law does not authorize a party to charge a patient for his or her electronic medical records, the Wisconsin Supreme Court has held.In Banuelos v. University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority, 2023 WI 25 (April 4, 2023), the supreme court held (4-3) that a statute that specifies the amounts a party can charge for providing medical records is silent as to electronic records.Justice Ann Walsh Bradley wrote the majority opinion, joined
Continue Reading Statute Doesn’t Allow Charges for Electronic Medical Records

The recent proposal by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to designate two per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) as “hazardous substances” under the federal Comprehensive Environmental Response, Contamination, and Liability Act (CERCLA or “Superfund”) promises to provide greater information concerning the release of PFAS into the environment, as well as powerful tools to require the cleanup and recover costs for such releases.

However, because of the ubiquity of these so-called “forever chemicals,” the proposed designation also raises a number of
Continue Reading Implications of the EPA’s Proposed Rule Designating PFAS as Hazardous Substances

The April oral argument calendar for the moment appears to be the last of the term for the Wisconsin Supreme Court, and there’s only one civil case on it. Meanwhile, we have three civil decisions to review, touching on issues ranging from real estate, to public employment, to insurance. Read on for all the latest from Wisconsin’s highest court.
Cases Decided
Casanova v. Polsky, No. 2019AP1728 & 2019AP2063

Real Estate

Decision Filed: March 16, 2023

Public Citation: 2023 WI 
Continue Reading Wisconsin Supreme Court Update: April 2023

Funding your trust is the crucial step to making sure your estate plan works when the time comes. If you have an estate plan, you’ve already taken a crucial step in ensuring that your assets and property are distributed according to your wishes after you pass away. However, simply creating an estate plan is not enough. One of the key elements of a comprehensive estate plan is funding your trust.
Why Funding Your Trust is So Crucial
Funding a
Continue Reading Funding Your Trust: The Crucial Part of Your Estate Plan