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Author: Attorney John C. MitbyPhone: 608-257-0945Email: jmitby@hurleyburish.com There is a serious problem with COVID-19 pandemic-related claims. Insurers are refusing to provide coverage due to exclusions on infectious or communicable diseases. As businesses and healthcare providers may face lawsuits over coronavirus exposure, some states have begun to respond through legislation to provide temporary protection related to the unique challenges that the pandemic has brought upon businesses and healthcare providers. Ohio is one such state. It has taken steps to temporarily provide protection to healthcare providers and businesses facing lawsuits as a result of employee or customer exposure to the virus. Both…
Attorney John Mitby receives the DCBA Lifetime Pro Bono Award for making a positive and lasting impact on the community and on the lives of individuals, young and old, including those with cognitive and physical disabilities, socio-economic challenges, and others traditionally marginalized. Atty. Mitby is a longstanding legal services volunteer for AgeBetter, a non-profit organization serving older adults. Since 2005, Atty. Mitby has provided legal advice and services to develop and sustain AgeBetter’s Sharing Active Independent Lives (SAIL) program. SAIL is a program focused on bringing independence and community to older adults in Madison, and benefits hundreds of seniors locally…
Spoiler alert: this article addresses some of the plot details of the film Knives Out. I’m something of a film buff.  I’ve been a big fan of director Rian Johnson ever since I saw his first feature length film Brick in theaters when I was in college back in 2005. It’s also my opinion that his take is the best of the newest set of Star Wars films, and am available to bore anyone with my reasons why. Mr. Johnson’s latest film, Knives Out, is a twisty mystery that plays with some of the classic conventions of a whodunit.  Of…
This practical series, “Nuts and Bolts,” is intended to demystify the process of being charged with a crime in Wisconsin state (circuit) courts. The court process can be overwhelming. Knowing what to expect from the process may make it less confusing and unpredictable, and hopefully less stressful. Is There Probable Cause ? – Initial Appearances, Preliminary Hearings and Plea Hearings The government may not proceed with a criminal prosecution unless a judge or court commissioner finds “probable cause” that a crime has been committed, and that it has been committed by the named defendant. An initial probable cause determination is…
Author: Attorney David E. SapersteinPhone: 608-257-0945Email: dsaperstein@hurleyburish.com This practical series, “Nuts and Bolts,” is intended to demystify the process of being charged with a crime in Wisconsin state (circuit) courts. The court process can be overwhelming. Knowing what to expect from the process may make it less confusing and unpredictable, and hopefully less stressful. Will I Be in Jail During My Case? — Bail and Pretrial Release Most accused persons are released from custody during the pendency of their cases, either by posting cash and/or by signing a court order promising to abide by certain conditions while the case is…
Author: Attorney Marcus BerghahnPhone: 608-257-0945Email: mberghahn@hurleyburish.com We advise our clients to not speak with law enforcement without first seeking the advice of counsel.  Because when speaking with law enforcement you have two choices:  tell the truth or say nothing at all.  Anything short of the truth—even when law enforcement knows the statement to not be true—is a crime.  But telling the truth may not be preferable, because the truth may implicate you in a crime, whether you know it or not.  And, more important:  law enforcement, when speaking with you, can lie to you.  Silence, or the invoking of your…
Author: Attorney Marcus J. BerghahnPhone: 608-257-0945Email: mberghahn@hurleyburish.com Given that parking tickets are probably one of the most common and annoying types of police contacts that a citizen may have, it’s not surprising that a smart attorney found the right case to challenge the manner in which parking restrictions were enforced:  by chalking tires.  In Madison, a number of parking enforcement vehicles employ tire chalking and a virtual counterpart: automated license plate reading technology. Within the last year two different courts addressed these technologies in legal challenges to the question of whether the technology violated the Fourth Amendment’s proscription against unreasonable…
Authors: Attorney John C. Mitby Phone: 608-257-0945 Email: jmitby@hurleyburish.com On March 27, 2020, the President Trump signed into law the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”) to provide relief to individuals, businesses and hospitals in response to the economic distress caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. You should review and fill out the forms and see if you, your tenant, your business, or a business you are working with or have contract with qualifies (one should fill out the form in that it may help pay rent or other bills). There is no down side in doing…
Authors: Attorney John C. Mitby and Attorney Elizabeth L. SpencerPhone: 608-257-0945Email: jmitby@hurleyburish.com, espencer@hurleyburish.com As employers continue to cope with the consequences of the coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic they may face the unfortunate decision of having to engage in mass layoffs of employees or close their business entirely. Wisconsin employers need to be aware of the requirements imposed by both state and federal law in these situations. While the law in this area is complicated by numerous exceptions based on the circumstances of the layoff and the employer type, knowing the basics can put you on alert for what further…
Attorney Elizabeth Spencer Email: espencer@hurleyburish.com Phone: 608-257-0945 As the member of one successful LLC you may be considering striking out on your own or starting another company. While you are planning to start that new business, you should be aware of the duties you owe your current LLC. A member of a Wisconsin LLC that starts a competing business may open themselves up to claims from the other members for violating their fiduciary duties by violating Wis. Stat. 183.0402, breaching the terms of an operating agreement, or for reasons based in common law. First, Wisconsin LLCs are governed by the…
By: David E. Saperstein Email: dsaperstein@hurleyburish.com Phone: 608-257-0945 We are taught as children, and presumably we still teach our children, that telling the truth is a virtue; that there is nothing more important than the truth. One could argue that truth is elemental to a cohesive societal order. It is also a foundational, elemental principle of the American criminal justice system that we are all presumed innocent, even when (and especially when) we are accused of wrongdoing.[i] However, these two elemental principles – truth as a virtue and presumption of innocence – are at odds with each other when…
Authors: Attorney Elizabeth L. Spencer Phone: 608-257-0945 Email: espencer@hurleyburish.com Whether an employee is voluntarily leaving employment or an employer is terminating an employees’ employment, questions may arise on what wages are due. One key question that may arise is how will unused vacation time be handled and how is it required to be handled by law. While some states do require that unused vacation time be paid to a departing employee, Wisconsin is not one of those states. Under Wis. Stat. 109.01(3) vacation pay is considered wages to an employee. Generally, employers are not required to provide fringe benefits such…
Author: Attorney Catherine E. WhiteEmail: cwhite@hurleyburish.comPhone: 608-257-0945 When plea bargaining or trial doesn’t go the way you wanted it to, the final judgment entered by the trial court may be just the beginning of the legal battle. The first step is usually a direct appeal. In a direct appeal, the defense attorney will usually file a brief with the appellate court that identifies errors made by the trial court. For example, the brief might argue that the judge erred in denying a motion to suppress evidence or in calculating the sentencing guidelines range, or it might argue that the evidence…
Attorney Catherine E. WhitePhone: 608-257-0945Email: cwhite@hurleyburish.com A federal conviction for being in unlawful possession of a firearm, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g), usually carries a 10-year maximum sentence. But under the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA), the defendant is instead subject to a 15-year mandatory minimum sentence, with a maximum possible sentence of life, if he or she has three or more prior convictions for a “violent felony” or “serious drug offense.” 18 U.S. Code § 924(e)(1). Because the ACCA imposes such a harsh penalty, there has been a great deal of litigation concerning what prior convictions may qualify…
Attorney Thomas VercauterenPhone: 608-257-0945Email: tvercauteren@hurleyburish.com Recently, Dane County decided to end its partnership with the Henry Vilas Zoological Society, the nonprofit entity that supported the Vilas Zoo.  The county cited concerns regarding the large cash reserves that the nonprofit held and the accessibility of funds raised with the intention to support the zoo. Perhaps overlooked in the consequences of the termination of this partnership is the number of individuals that have named the Zoological Society as a beneficiary under their estate plan. So what happens if a nonprofit has undergone a transformation in its charitable purpose, is in the midst…
Attorney Sarah SchuchardtPhone: 608-257-0945Email: sschuchardt@hurleyburish.com Wisconsin changed the relocation statute just over a year ago, which changed the process and what a parent must establish before getting approval to relocate with the minor child(ren) after a divorce or paternity judgment. Previously, a parent seeking to relocate only had to provide notice and an opportunity to object if the relocation was to another state or more than 150 miles from the other parent’s residence. The new statute, WIS. STAT. § 767.481, only requires notice for relocations more than 100 miles from the other parent’s residence, regardless if the move is to…