Real Estate & Construction

Indemnity clauses are common in commercial contracts. Typically, one party (the indemnitor) agrees to “indemnify, defend, and hold harmless” another party (the indemnitee) from any and all claims or losses, or perhaps certain defined ones. In the construction context, such a provision may, for example, provide indemnity protection to an owner for any claims, losses, or damages – including attorneys’ fees – arising out of a contractor’s work.1 At its base level, such language protects owners from exposure arising from a construction project. But is the value solely in its protection? The lawyer answer is – it depends! Generally,…
Sparking Ideas & Innovation UW-Green Bay, Manitowoc and Sheboygan Campuses host a monthly speaker series with distinguished leaders making a positive impact in our communities. Join us to hear an inspiring talk and to learn from area leaders.  Attorney Michelle Birschbach will be speaking on February 10, 2021.  This is a virtual event.  Please join her and register today by clicking HERE. The post Lakeshore Leaders Breakfast Series, Attorney Michelle Birschbach appeared first on Steimle Birschbach, LLC.…
In Loren Imhoff Homebuilder, Inc. v. Taylor and Cuevas,1 the Dist. IV Court of Appeals reversed the circuit court’s vacatur of an arbitration award, based on the circuit court’s conclusion that the arbitrator fell asleep at some point or points during the evidentiary hearing and that, as a result, he “so imperfectly executed his powers that a mutual, final and definite award upon the subject matter submitted was not made.” The appeals court concluded that the homeowner seeking vacatur of the award forfeited the claim, because it failed to ask the arbitrator to resolve any problems by the alleged…
Have you noticed that landlords tend to be portrayed as evil and uncaring?  I’m reading lots of so-called news articles (that really are nothing but opinion pieces) with such sentiments.  The media also tend to treat all landlords as large companies making lots of money at the expense of tenants.  Did you know that the vast majority of landlords throughout the U.S. are small “mom & pop” landlords that own rental property in addition to working a full-time job? Our own Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel likes to push this false narrative.  Despite myself and other landlords having spent literally hours on the…
The basic purpose of the contracting process is to allocate risks among the various parties. Many risks are easy to identify and evaluate. For example, a contractor can evaluate the risk of labor cost changes or material prices. Similarly, the owner can evaluate and cover the risk of a contractor’s default by requiring a payment and performance bond. In contrast to quantifiable risks, the risks presented by unknown conditions (such as subsurface conditions) are difficult to identify and evaluate. Also, the costs to address unknown or unexpected conditions (differing site conditions or DSC) can be very substantial. When Contracts Don’t…
This past summer, the Wisconsin Court of Appeals issued an unpublished opinion in Coolidge A L.L.C. v. City of Waukesha,1 a case involving claims of negligence against both the City of Waukesha (City) and a contractor working for it, D.F. Tomasini Contractors (Tomasini). The Court of Appeals determined that the City was shielded from the negligence claim by governmental immunity, and that Tomasini, as an agent of the City, also was shielded. The court’s decision reminds construction attorneys, and particularly those who handle injury claims for their insurance carriers, that clients working for municipal entities are often provided a…
We are excited to announce Attorney Tristan Pettit’s Landlord Boot Camp will be held on Saturday, November 14th. Due to  the CDC National Eviction Moratorium, we delayed this event so that we could include the most timely information on navigating the current CDC Moratorium and other COVID-19 related issues affecting Landlord-Tenant law. The Saturday, November 14th event will be held as a live-streamed webinar from 8:30 AM -5:00 PM with live Q & A from 5-6 PM. Enjoy these advantages of the new virtual format: Attendees will receive a searchable 100 page + PDF Boot Camp manual, making it easier…
We are excited to announce Attorney Tristan Pettit’s Landlord Boot Camp will be held on Saturday, November 14th. Due to  the CDC National Eviction Moratorium, we delayed this event so that we could include the most timely information on navigating the current CDC Moratorium and other COVID-19 related issues affecting Landlord-Tenant law. The Saturday, November 14th event will be held as a live-streamed webinar from 8:30 AM -5:00 PM with live Q & A from 5-6 PM. Enjoy these advantages of the new virtual format: Attendees will receive a searchable 100 page + PDF Boot Camp manual, making it easier…
  This is guest post by Tim Ballering Thanks to Attorney Heiner Giese for reading the 59 page federal court motion.   The CDC’s attorneys have stated in federal court that owners are permitted to file evictions, as well as challenge the veracity of the tenants CDC Declaration. The CDC argues that owners can even obtain an eviction judgment, as long as the physical move is stayed until the end of the moratorium. Most importantly, the Order does not prevent a landlord from filing an eviction action in state court. First, the Order expressly permits eviction for various reasons other…
This is guest post written by Tim Ballering (JustALandlord.com) The CDC attorneys have stated in federal court that owners are permitted to file evictions as well as challenge the veracity of a tenant’s CDC Declaration. The CDC argues that owners can even obtain an eviction judgment, as long as the physical move is stayed until the end of the moratorium. Most importantly, the Order does not prevent a landlord from filing an eviction action in state court. First, the Order expressly permits eviction for various reasons other than nonpayment of rent. See 85 Fed. Reg. at 55294 (property damage, criminal…
As the population ages and life expectancy increases, there has become a need for attorneys who focus on the issues facing seniors. This is partly due to the increase in individuals diagnosed with dementia and other chronic diseases and therefore, an increase in individuals requiring long-term or nursing home care. Over the last thirty to forty years, elder law has developed into a focus area that addresses the variety of issues seniors face within several different fields of law. Elder law attorneys have additional training, education, and knowledge on the issues older individuals may face. This can include helping individuals…
On September 1, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published an Agency Order temporarily stopping all residential evictions in the United States, in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. What Are the Effective Dates of this Order? This order became effective immediately upon publication (presumed to be Sept 4, 2020) and continues through December 31, 2020. What Is Prohibited under this Order? Under this Order, a landlord, owner of a residential property, or other person with a legal right to pursue an eviction is prohibited from evicting any…
Wisconsin Managed Forest Law: A Brief History and How to Legally Protect Your Forests By: Atty. Logan Wood While many people know Wisconsin as “America’s Dairyland,” this was not always the case. Long before agriculture took over, Wisconsin used to be known for their lumber production. The southern parts of Wisconsin were largely cleared of their trees in the 1800s to make way for agriculture, with the northern parts of Wisconsin heavily cut for timber in the early 1900s. In fact, so much timber was harvested, that by 1893, Wisconsin was a world leader in lumber production at more than…
Wis. Stat. section 895.447 has existed in its current form since passage in 1977, without having been subjected to serious judicial scrutiny. The Wisconsin Supreme Court’s recent decision in Rural Mutual Ins. Co. v. Lester Buildings, LLC,1 provides some clarity as to the statute’s intended effect, but also calls into question the enforceability of other common risk transfer and limitation clauses in construction contracts – namely, limitation of liability clauses, waiver of consequential damages clauses, and additional insured requirements.2 History Wis. Stat. section 895.49,3 the precursor to today’s section 895.447, was first introduced in 1977, and appears to…
On July 7, 2020, the full City of Milwaukee Common Council approved legislation to create a program certifying that rental properties are lead-safe before they can be rented to tenants. Authored by Alderman Ramsey, this resolution directs the Department of Administration-Intergovernmental Relations Division to seek the introduction and passage of state legislation that would permit the City of Milwaukee to create a program requiring rental property owners to certify that rental properties are lead-safe before they can be rented. Alderman Rainey in his press release, stated that many properties rented for residential use in Milwaukee are believed to have significant…