McLaughlin v. Gaslight Pointe Condominium Association, LTD
No. 2023AP1011 (Wis. Ct. App. Apr. 17, 2024)

In McLaughlin v. Gaslight Pointe Condominium Association, LTD, the Wisconsin Court of Appeals contributed to Wisconsin’s ever-growing body of caselaw examining when an insured’s intentional conduct may constitute an “occurrence” within the meaning of a CGL policy. No. 2023AP1011 (Wis. Ct. App. Apr. 17, 2024) (recommended for publication). The court also examined several exclusions commonly found in CGL policies. In brief, the facts of
Continue Reading The Wisconsin Court of Appeals’ Provides Further Guidance on the Intersection Between Volitional Acts and Occurrences

In the business world, there is always the risk of litigation–even for small businesses. Unfortunately, as a business continues its operations, the possibility of litigation turns from an “if” to a “when.” Litigation can be expensive, time-consuming, and stressful. Here are some basic considerations that can help mitigate the risk of litigation for a small business.

1. Put it in writing in definite terms.

As stated in Field of Dreams, “If you build it, they will come. . .”
Continue Reading Mitigating Litigation Risk for Small Businesses

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

Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts may alleviate heavy tax burdens on your estate. Are you aware your life insurance policy may bring a heavy tax burden along with it? Many individuals and families are unaware of how their life insurance policies may affect their estate plans, especially those with significant wealth. But fear not, there’s a solution that might just alleviate this stress: Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts (ILITs) and Crummey Letters.

Let’s break it down into simpler terms.
What’s an
Continue Reading Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts Make Your Estate Tax Efficient

Suffering a personal injury is a challenging experience, and the first settlement offer may seem like a lifeline.

However, before accepting it, it is important to carefully reconsider for several reasons.
Assessing the full extent of injuries
One key reason to reconsider the initial settlement offer is the need to fully understand the extent of your injuries. Often, immediate medical expenses are evident, but some injuries may not manifest immediately. It is important to give yourself time to assess
Continue Reading Is the first settlement offer the right move for your claim?

On December 19, 2023, the Appellate Court of Illinois, First District, held that the “violation-of-law” exclusion1 found in a general liability policy precluded insurance coverage for a BIPA action brought against an insured. See National Fire Insurance Company of Hartford v. Visual Pak Company, Inc., 2023 IL App (1st) 221160 (Ill. App. Ct. 2023). The Illinois court’s decision squarely conflicts with Citizens Insurance Company of America v. Wynndalco Enterprises, LLC, 70 F.4th 987 (7th Cir. 2023), a Seventh Circuit
Continue Reading Appellate Court of Illinois and Seventh Circuit Issue Conflicting Decisions Regarding Applicability of ‘Violation-of-Law Exclusion’ in BIPA Actions

As the traditional health system continues to fail patients and providers alike, more people are turning to wellness to fill in the gaping hole left by traditional health care. For those wellness practitioners wanting to serve clients as a health, wellness or lifestyle coach, aruveyda or reiki practitioner, yoga instructor, personal trainer, massage therapist, holistic health practitioner, functional medicine practitioner, nutrition counselor or many of the other titles that identify as wellness, a critical question you may ask is
Continue Reading If Wellness Practitioners Don’t Bill Health Insurance, Are they Subject to HIPAA Privacy Rules?

There are a variety of situations where disputes about insurance coverage may arise, including cases involving injuries that occurred because of a person’s actions. In these situations, insurance companies may deny claims for numerous reasons, claiming that exceptions to coverage apply or that injuries were not accidental. This can put people in a difficult situation as they seek compensation in personal injury cases or similar matters, and they may need to take legal action to fight against the denial
Continue Reading Wisconsin Supreme Court Addresses Reckless and Intentional Conduct in Insurance Disputes

In 5 Walworth, LLC v. Engerman Contracting, Inc., 2023 WI 51, the Wisconsin Supreme Court addressed insurance coverage for damages allegedly caused by the deficient construction of an inground swimming pool. The pool cracked, causing water to leak into and destabilize the surrounding soil. Attempts were made to fix the cracks, but ultimately the entire pool structure had to be demolished and replaced. The homeowner then sued the general contractor who constructed the defective pool and its two insurers.
Continue Reading Wisconsin Supreme Court Rules Integrated Systems Analysis Does Not Apply to Evaluating Insurance Coverage Under a CGL Policy

In its recent opinion in 5 Walworth, LLC v. Engerman Contracting, Inc., 2023 WI 51, the Wisconsin Supreme Court overruled its prior decision in Wisconsin Pharmacal Co., LLC v. Nebraska Cultures of California, Inc., 2016 WI 14, 367 Wis. 2d 221, 876 N.W.2d 72. Specifically, the Court rejected its analysis in Pharmacal that in order for coverage to apply under the standard insuring agreement of a CGL policy, the alleged property damage must be to property other than the
Continue Reading Wisconsin Supreme Court Holds the Integrated Systems Rule No Longer Applies to Determine Coverage Under a CGL Policy

Pepsi-Cola Metropolitan Bottling Company, Inc. v. Employers Insurance Company of Wausau, 2023 WI 42

In Pepsi-Cola, the Wisconsin Supreme Court issued a per curiam decision on May 24, 2023, affirming a court of appeals decision dated July 8, 2022, Pepsi-Cola Metropolitan Bottling Company, Inc. v. Employers Insurance Company of Wausau, 2022 WI App 45, 404 Wis. 2d 337, 979 N.W. 2d 627, because no three Supreme Court justices could reach agreement to either affirm, reverse, or affirm in part
Continue Reading Wisconsin Supreme Court Affirms Court of Appeals Decision that Anti-assignment Clause Does Not Prohibit Post-loss Assignment of Insurance Rights

Caleb R. Gerbitz

It’s time for our monthly check-in on the latest civil law developments at the Wisconsin Supreme Court. In the past month, the court decided five civil cases spanning a broad array of issues including insurance law, eminent domain, and arbitration. Plus, the court granted review in a case touching on taxation and religious liberty. Read on for all the latest.
Cases Decided
Banuelos v. UW Hospitals & Clinics Authority, No. 2020AP1582


Decision Filed: April 4,
Continue Reading Wisconsin Supreme Court Update: May 2023

One of the first discussions I have with new business clients is about how their assets are held and if they have sufficient insurance for the risk that they have in the operation of the business. Oftentimes, businesses don’t recognize that they are at risk because insurance agents are not required to tell you what insurance you need to protect yourself from specific risks. Unless you pay an insurance professional a separate fee to advise you on what insurance
Continue Reading Insurance and Multiple Entities: Two Necessary Evils?

The last several years have seen an unprecedented number of insurance agency purchase and sale transactions.  This flurry of activity has led to increased valuation and sale prices for agencies. Now is the time to make sure you have a plan to perpetuate your agency. A perpetuation plan will allow your agency to care for your clients, and to take care of you. Not only is perpetuation planning in your best interest, some insurers, as a condition of agency
Continue Reading Protect the Goose that Lays the Golden Eggs: Perpetuation Planning and Selling Your Agency

As marijuana becomes big business, it may be time for Wisconsin lawyers to take another look at the industry.

As Wisconsin Public Radio reporter Shawn Johnson wrote in a Dec. 21, 2022, article, “Wisconsin is on its way to becoming an island among Midwest states when it comes to recreational marijuana. Already, marijuana is legal in Illinois and Michigan, and Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz, a Democrat, said his state would pass a bill to legalize marijuana by May.”
Continue Reading Legalizing Marijuana: Its Impact on Lawyers – and Insurance

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